The Long Tail of Web Services and Henry Ford

I haven’t read about “the long tail of web services” anywhere other than my comment here  – so I figured I’d coin the phrase for posterity.  Frankly the second half of Volume One  is almost all about the long tail of web services and the clutter that is already emerging in the low end of the web services market.

With that on the brain I got to thinking history last night and a few more things dawned on me.

Web services technologies are doing for software developers what the assembly line did for automakers.  Web services and their empowering development technologies have reduced production costs and made pricing more accessible to consumers.  Also, web services are easier to distribute than packaged software and they allow for standardized operating environments.   Standardized operating environments  – one of the huge benefits of web services – allow for maintenance and upgrades without the need for patches and reinstallations. 

OK – not much new there, except for perhaps the assembly line business.

But one thing of particular interest to me is something I cut out of Volume One is the significance of  distribution in Web 2.0.  Ford created the dealership franchises system.  As the long Tail of Web Services expands, consumers are going to need help sorting through the market’s offerings.  I foresee the need for comparison shopping sites growing.  Affiliates and search portals are going to be hugely important as consumers struggle to find services that are right for them in cluttered markets which contain many similar offerings – especially at the low end.  Here is the thing – I’m not sure today’s comparison shopping sites are going to cut it in the non-product “services” comparison world.  Services are much more about benefits and reputation than simply FEATURES which are the core of comparisons in the product comparison arena.  Now differentiators like uptime, usability, security and customer service – which are intangibles and require research and a measure of objectivity for worthwhile comparison  – will be huge.

Sounds like opportunity to  me…

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