98 Percent Rule

Last Wednesday, I availed of the Birthday Month discount that Fully Booked (bookstore) gives to its cardholders. This entitled me to a 40% discount for cash and 35% for credit card on any imported item sold in the bookstore. It was a toss-up between Moleskin notebooks (available in Fully Booked Rockwell) or traditional books. As my Author's Avenue Leatherbound Journal still sufficient, I availed of traditional books instead.

The book that caught my attention is Chris Anderson's "The Long Tail". (It seems that the Amazon link to the book version I have is not available in their site right now. Oh well..)

As I started reading it yesterday, I realized that the right materials are coming up for further enhancing my Blogging 101 Workshop (blogging101workshop) book project that is coming out this April 10.

The Introduction portion of the book discussed the 98 percent rule. Upon reading it, I now enjoy giving a pop quiz to friends like this. "Amazon.com is known for having a huge listing of book titles. In your estimate, at least how many of the titles there has one unit sale per quarter?"

As I spend nearly one hundred thousand pesos in bookstores last year (according to my customer loyalty cards in 3 bookstores), that question really intrigued me and made me guest of no more than 80%.

It shocked me that the answer turned out as 98%. That means, if my book sells one piece per quarter, that is normal. That is because of unlimited choices available today and where markets are further segmented. This means that perhaps my books are not within the taste range of attendees but it caters to a niche segment who may find specific value in the work I do. The more content or product selections you have, the more segments you can accommodate.

So we are now living in an age where bestsellers are not the one that really rules. The Long Tail talks about a situation where all of us are offered with unlimited choices, as everything becomes available to everyone. Service providers who offer products or services that intends to empower the small players (like Google AdSense - although Google has grown big already) may find themselves equally profitable and even more powerful than a handful of big ad networks.

This means that if you want to succeed, like in the case of blogging, having collective strength will allow you to compete fiercely with mainstream big players. A classic example here are blogging networks like PinoyTech Blog versus Inquirer as a source of technology development information. Instead of journalists, traditional consumers and technology connectors are the ones supplying the content and analyzing industry developments.

With that example, if used as an inspiration, I can revive a blog like W3O and have more chances of success, by getting more female players (mostly from the club member roster), developing them into professional bloggers, involved in the process. This time, not just contributors pro-bono, but actually compensating them for it. I'm trying to push this further as I inquire the possibility of getting the Philippine channel in CitizenBay. With an advertising program being established, perhaps this can work.


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