You will find the long tail below the fold

The Web’s a young publishing medium. It’s like Jello when you first put it in the fridge. It’s got a basic shape but it isn’t fully congealed yet. Half the fun is experimenting and trying to figure it all out.

Paul Conley takes issue here with eWeek’s home page design.

I’m certainly not going to argue that it’s pretty. And I have to hit Page Down TEN (10) times to reach the bottom of the page. This is a no-no, yes? My colleagues who went to this year’s Publishing on the Web conference at Stanford say only 20% of web visitors will scroll beneath the fold. 80% won’t hit Page Down ONCE. Surely eWeek needs to Start Choppin’, cut that page down to size?

Well, that was my first thought. But maybe not.

Since 80% allegedly don’t page down, those 80% can’t be offended by the page length. (Unless it takes forever to load.) And doesn’t the Long Tail concept essentially say that content that gets only a few clicks can ultimately add up to big business? Let’s say there are 150 links below the fold on that page. If each link averages a measly one click per day, and each click results in the display of 3 more ads… Who’s to say that eWeek loses more than it gains by having a home page more dense than the Magna Carta?

[Full disclosure: eWeek competes with various brands published by my employer, IDG. Like everything else in this blog, this post is my opinion only and does not reflect the opinions of my employer, coworkers, family or cat.]