How many shampoo brands can you name spontaneously? The average is about five for shampoo category. Within the context of merchandising, that figure is quite dependent on product category structure and distribution rate (the number of brands) in the shelf space. It could be as low as two when the category is inactive and calm such as kitchen detergent and as high as five when the category is active and noisy such as shampoo or skincare. The phenomena we have seen in the old mass marketing environments.
Then, how many national TV broadcasts or newspapers can you name? Like it or not, there exist only a few. Hence, the maximum number of brand names you can recall spontaneously is also a few, to begin with.
Now, ask yourself: How many blogs can you name spontaneously? Or, how many do you subscribe and consume? What is your blog repertoire? If it is greater than, say, ten, then we could say this category is quite different from the rest of products or services especially those we consumer in our daily life.
New York magazine recently covered the interesting story titled “Blogs to Riches.” (via micropersuasion.com) Yes, the market still can be described as HIT-DRIVEN, the phenomenon dormant in the mainstream media. But the important characteristics of the blogosphere it fails to deliver is that the average number of blogs (brands) people normally read (consume) is significantly higher (I’d bet on 30.) than we do for the rest of the services. The blogsphere as a service category rather follows the law of the long tail and the concentration on the head is less than what is known as 80/20.
Update: Technorati’s CEO, Dave Sifry aptly describes the point I wanted to make above, as “magic middle,” via Jeff Jarvis of buzzmachine.com.
Update: Wow! Jeff Jarvis refers to this post in his blog as you can see in the comment link below.