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November 04, 2008


Santiago Velasco

I just got home from a Google sponsored event. I received as a gift the Longtail book I will thank Google properly for such a gift. I have a few additional comments; When I asked you about the business model for your next book and you answered that you were even looking forward for the Chinese to copy it, I wanted to share a personal anecdote but it was not the appropriate moment, I had no chance or intention to mingle, but I can share it here in your blog.
My father once told me that he had seen in other countries pirate book markets, where you could get pirated books. He then went on to tell how he regretted the fact that we did not have that type of criminals here.

Along with this anecdote I would also like to share that I had a quick glance at the copy of your book that I received, and let me tell you I am grateful I would not even dare to frown, then I need to add that the translation was done in Spain and it feels a bit alienating while reading.
I would like to offer my services as a Spanish translator (Mexican local) for the copy of your next book, the price I ask for my services is a copy of your next book.
I know that I probably did not help my service sales pitch with my anecdote, yet there is a theory floating around that says that there is money at the in the long-tail, and that being the case of a localized translation.

I hear another theory is emerging that could help me make business sense.

If my services are not required I could do what a french kid did for Harry Potter.


And after translating it, I would then go look for the non existent copied books market.

I have used this comment field to contact the author if this is an editorial blog, please forward my comments to the author, if not then I am glad to have shared my anecdote.

Someone in the longtail

Mark LaRosa

This is a fantastic overview of the declining value of a free customer as your business grows.

Where this also has implications, and something I've spent a lot of time thinking about, is in how you compensate a sales team for growing the free customer base. If your free product can not be sold only through marketing and you need a direct sales team, you need to essentially pay commissions on the "yet-to-be-earned" revenue. Compensation should be based on the projected lifetime value of a customer, and also the effort to grab that customer. As the acquisition gets easier (more and more customers on the system), and the increased value of each new customer goes down, the amount of compensation in theory will also go down. However, not all customers are created equal in value and you also do not want to continually de-motivate a sales team by paying less and less for each additional customer brought onto the system.

I've worked on some very interesting compensation models to motivate sales people selling free products which balance the value of the customer and also the motivation of the team. I won't say I've found the perfect balance, but my team has had success - reaching the critical mass point described in the article.


good diverse Chinese populace forced Haier to adopt a long tail strategy that was able to quickly adapt fridges, washers and dryers to the varying needs of a billion people spread

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This only looks at and calculates direct sales. What about the number of referrals the happy $20 customer may make?

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hello friend excellent information about What's a free customer worth? thanks for sharing!! I'm very interesting in this topic

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The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

FREE was available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free shortly after the hardcover was published on July 7th. The ebook and web book were free for a limited time and limited to certain geographic regions as determined by each national publisher; the unabridged MP3 audiobook (get zip file here) will remain free forever, available in all regions.

Order the hardcover now!