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Cloud computing is a metaphor describing how we store and access information presently – Nafis, F 2012

Examples of cloud computing are file sharing sites such as 4shared.com and mediafire.com. It is the new way of storing and accessing data with convenience consisting of a huge amount of space for storing information. Due to the emergence of cloud computing, it has become increasingly easier to produce our own works and publish it on the Internet or World Wide Web (WWW), as well as access information which is not necessarily available in stores. As I have explained in my previous post, those who produce their own works are known as content produsers or ‘prosumers’ and here, we discover the effect of ‘prosumers’.

Cloud computing leads to the shift from industries attempting to satisfy mass market to attempting to satisfy niche markets as well.This is because due to the abundance of information,it becomes easier to satisfy niche markets. For example, a music shop like Rock Corner and iTunes online store. Rock corner can only hold so many CDs, because there is limited space which means only CDs which have high demand from the masses will be available in the store, since there can only be a selected number of CDs. However, iTunes which is Apple’s very own online music store can satisfy all the niche demands because there is an unlimited space for storage of music. There will be music which can be found in Rock Corner and so much more, available in iTunes, which is also more affordable and easier to access. This is because “traditional retail economics” such as Rock Corner, “dictate that stores only stock the likely hits, because shelf space is expensive” (Anderson 2005).

A “mass market always beats a niche market” because traditional mediums are costly but now there is a “mass market of niches” (Mitew 2012) due to cost effective and easily accessible means such as the Internet. This is exactly what the ‘long tail’ concept describes. Observe the graph below for a clearer picture:

The 'Long Tail'

Explains the ‘Long Tail’ effect

Image URL: http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/faq/

The image shows the reason why niche markets eventually surpass mass markets. It is because even though niche products are so much cheaper, niche products eventually get more hits because of the products are in abundance compared to mass products. Consequently because of this ‘long tail’ effect, industries must be more innovative in finding ways to get people to purchase their products. They must bring back the demand by making their products worth spending that extra money on. An example of how this can be done is by using one of the eight generatives suggested by Kelly (2008), which is “Immediacy”. It is one of the things people find worth paying for because it is a basic human trait to thrive on being the first person to own a copy of a new single or what not. Having a CD delivered to you first for you to be the first to hear it in the world is something people would actually pay for. Then again, this is just one of the few other intangible values you can instill to your product to make better profits.

References

Anderson, K 2005, ‘Long Tail 101’, weblog post, Wired Blog Network, The Long Tail, accessed 29/9/2012, http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/faq/

Kelly, K 2008, Better Than Free, accessed 29/9/2012, http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/kelly08/kelly08_index.html

Mitew, T 2012, DIGC202 Into the cloud: the long tail and the attention economy, lecture notes, accessed 28/9/2012, http://prezi.com/nm7rgdlnxhdf/digc202-into-the-cloud-the-long-tail-and-the-attention-economy/

Nafis, F 2012, Into the cloud: the long tail and the attention economy, lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 24 September.

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