Startup Persuadio visualizes opportunity in the Internet's long tail

Startup Persuadio visualizes opportunity in the Internet's long tail

Summary: As an event, Esther Dyson's PC Forum is one of hottest annual tickets in the technology and venture capital worlds. The gathering plays host to some of the most successful technologists in the world, some of the most outspoken visionaries, as well as startups that are surviving on second mortgages and credit cards in hopes of scoring some funding.

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TOPICS: PCs
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Mitch RatcliffeAs an event, Esther Dyson's PC Forum is one of hottest annual tickets in the technology and venture capital worlds. The gathering plays host to some of the most successful technologists in the world, some of the most outspoken visionaries, as well as startups that are surviving on second mortgages and credit cards in hopes of scoring some funding. To get a glimpse inside the mind of one such entrepreneur, I interviewed Mitch Ratcliffe, the founder of Persuadio -- a company that was handpicked by Esther Dyson to demonstrate its technology here at the event in Scottsdale, AZ.

One of Persuadio's projects is called MyDensity.com. If one Ratcliffe quote from the interview best embodies MyDensity's most tangible deliverable, it's this one:

What we hope to let you do with our tool is let you see where [on the Web] you are compared to all of these other kinds of interests and then measure how much value is somewhere and who you need to influence in order to get people to start paying attention to you.
Podcast
Ratcliffe is one in a growing handful of Internet entrepreneurs who sees opportunity in what's called the long tail. In my interview of Ratcliffe which is available as both an MP3 download and as podcast that you can have downloaded to your system and/or MP3 player automatically (see ZDNet's podcasts: How to tune in), he had a lot to say about what the long tail is, how he plans to turn it into a business, and how, if he can find investors, he hopes to give them a return on their investment. Here are some highlights.

What MyDensity.com does: We map the first 2 degrees of the social network around any URL. It's a simple way to figure out where you are and how people find you.

How it works: What we're doing is showing a capability that we hope we'll be able sell into the businessworld in terms of understanding of how people's sites are rising and falling in popularity and where those changes start in the market. One of the things about the Longtail is that everybody is out there and you're just trying to work your way up the tail.

The long tail, defined: It describes a powerlaw, a curve that you get when you map popular sites and compare them to less and less popular sites and the top sites have huge advantages over everyone else that's out on that long curve that's called the tail. But in the tail is a massive amount of information and product that's going to be sold. The basic principle of the long tail is that almost anything will find it's market today.

Why the long tail means opportunity (for anyone): The idea of the tail is that there's a market for anything now. In the old days in the physical distribution world you just couldn't find enough people who cared about the bus speeds of a PC to publish a market analysis everyday about that kind of thing. But somebody out there care's about it now.

Topic: PCs

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