Building the Perfect Beast

Sick of hearing about the “long tail”? Now you can expect to start hearing about the “Fat Belly.” Writing on GigaOm, serial entrepreneur Robert Young expounds on the large section of the distribution curve between the “Fat Head” and Long Tail.

Most ClickZ readers have likely heard of Chris Anderson’s Long Tail framework, which he first described in Wired Magazine in 2004. His thesis points to the power the Internet brings to allow small, niche topics to prosper online, instead of succumbing to the will of the masses.

Young expands the Long Tail idea to include a middle section, the Fat Belly, where most of the action is taking place. That’s the place where social networks like Digg need to focus, he says:

“Now, why is this relevant/important? The answer is simple… in my view, the potential success of any Internet venture, particularly for those heavily reliant on the development of an online community of active participants, is directly correlated with the concept’s ability to create a large and dominant Fat Belly… much like a successful democracy will result in a large and dominant middle class.”

For Young, the value of a site like Digg is not the elite few Diggers in the head that submit the most stories, or even the masses in the tail, but in the “middle class” of individuals that consistently submit some stories and Digg some stories.

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