Applying ‘The Long Tail’ to real estate (2 of 4)
As explained in the previous entry, much of what is built today is in ‘the big head’ of mass production rather than diverse niches of The Long Tail. However, in the internet age, companies focusing on both the Big Head (the mainstream ‘hits’) and the Long Tail (hundreds of niche favorites) are starting to eat the Big Heads for lunch – companies like Google, Netflix and eBay that pretty much cater to every niche, every personal interest you can think of.
In other words, we want a lot more choice, diversity and uniqueness in the kinds of homes we buy, the offices we work and the places we play, rather than the mainstream ‘hits’ that in our opinions are complete misses. So how does this apply to our built environment? There are several transitions:
– Various online companies allow you to find exactly the house among thousands that you want to buy rather than what the realtor suggests, at a fraction of the cost.
– The internet’s knowledge sharing and networking has enabled hundreds of smaller ‘independent’, progressive entrepreneurs to get into real estate development niches (ie lofts, rehab). We host a network of those very developers here at CoolTown Studios.
– Indie businesses are thriving again, catering to the niches in the Long Tail now that the internet helps connect – like maybe a bookstore that focuses on social impact or more ethnic restaurants, or a cafe that appeals to the creative class…
Tomorrow, what would be the real estate equivalent of an Amazon, Google/YouTube, eBay…
I think we’ll start to see Starbucks (or like national chain) franchising with the caveat that people do NOT use the name, just the products. The national name which once assured quality will hamper growth in the future. It’s not unlike the trend with major beer distributors creating “micro” brewed brands. It’s a way for the big guys to grow bigger and avoid some of the backlash a retailer such as WalMart experiences and taking advantage of the long tail momentum in the country.