Home > Uncategorized > Leveraging the Long Tail….ThinkGeek

Leveraging the Long Tail….ThinkGeek


Firstly, I would like to explain what long tail is about. According to Jason  the long tail describes a wider range of products that are more specific getting sold less often, rather than the ‘head’ being more common/generic products being sold more often. Some examples are iTunes, ThinkGeek, NetFlix and eBay. The long tail doesn’t have to apply to the web, actually it wasn’t originally but in more recent times it has been used to express the strategy internet companies have taken to leverage the online market.

According to my lecturer, Jason Watson, infinite shelf space, micro – markets and cost advantages are what make the Internet exclusively to leveraging the long tail.

  • Infinite shelf space – limiting factors from physical world are absent; shelf space, fixed geographic location, spectrum on broadcast airwaves
  • Micro-markets – Small sites make up bulk of the Internet, narrow niches constitute the majority of the Internet’s possible applications and audience
  • Cost advantages – nature of online commerce can significantly lower distribution, inventory and sales costs


Effectively the dinosaur represents a curve on the graph, where there more generic or common a product, the increase of the results. On the other end the more specific the term, the less results occur.

ThinkGeek was created in Virginia in 1999, it is a US-based online shop which sells ‘geeks-products’. Being a geek is actually a rather broad term and it involved PC geeks, gadget freaks, gamers, general internet addicts and other types. In fact, by creating the company as a web-shop, it reaches out to a larger amount of people than having an actual store based in Virginia. In ThinkGeek the product segment is very wide; however, the product has a very limited customer base, which means their products will likely be of interest to a large amount of people. Additionally, the shop offers international shipping, to increase the customer base further.

ThinkGeek allow the user to upload their own pictures of the products, making the web-shop look like web 2.0. But, it also included the different web 2.0 technologies in their marketing such as, blog and twitter.

Overall, a broader part of the market with few customers for each product is what we call the long tail. The long tail of the market is just as large as the main part of the market, but this is hard to reach through traditional distribution, thereby making the market ‘less populated’. This is where web-based companies get an advantage by being able to reach a large customer segment with adiverse amount of products.

Quick Tip: The more specific your key words, the more specific your audience – leveraging the long tail can yield lower costs in advertising while also increasing your conversion rate.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. darkwaterhorses
    May 17, 2011 at 2:26 am

    That’s quite a cute of picture (in reference to dinosausr).

    Checked out ThinkGeek, neat app, it is certainly application in the niche market, i am keen on buying some things off it. I honestly don’t see mainstream consumers taking this route to purchasing any of these products which inturn will only see a minority or a rarity of people using these nich products.

    How do you see ThinkGeek extending the commercialisation of its products in the long term? Possible collaboration with eBay or Amazon to broaden its consumer base?

  2. May 17, 2011 at 3:34 am

    I love the way you wrote this blog! You explained the pattern clearly and didn’t just isolate the pattern to web 2.0, which is refreshing.
    ThinkGeek does seem to offer products to a niche market, as you mentioned – that are generally not offered in the ‘head’ of businesses.
    ThinkGeek’s uniqueness probably sells itself, without the need to collaborate with eBay or Amazon; even though advertising could help.

  3. May 17, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    great post. It was very clear explanation the long tail concept. Thinkgeek is a good niche market example.I agree with Nicole G the site sells their products without advertising but I think thinkgeek is still popular with the amazing gadgets.

  4. May 18, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Great example of a site implementing the long tail model to benefit the niche market. I did look through the thinkgeek.com there are such a wide range of products that can support the demand of its niche market. I really love ‘Timmy’ the help tools that can help users to find stuffs on the website. I also like the concept fo “Geek Points” which can encourage shoppers to spend more money. clear explaination.

  5. May 18, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    good write up. I had a look at the website and they have a lot of funky products

  6. empecee
    May 19, 2011 at 2:31 am

    possibly one of the best written definition of how this pattern works. excellent post. ALthough i must admit seeing the curve graph over and over is not my cup of tea. But hey it worked for you…

  7. May 19, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Hi 16paola,
    I like how you have introduced the pattern and then moved into the application. Good post! I’ve heard a lot about Think Geek but never actually used it, think I should have a look at it one of these days! Do you know what the delivery prices to Australia are?

    Feel free to have a read of or comment on my blog posts @ http://bkb90.wordpress.com/

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