This paper investigates reputation as it pertains to independent bloggers. We propose that the existing corporate reputation literature does not apply to independent bloggers because independent bloggers may or may not be blogging for money, are “I” centric as opposed to customer centric, and have no ideal standards to be judged against. We apply Chris Anderson’s (2006) long tail theory to independent blogging and propose the nature of independent blogging is different depending on whether the blogger is in the head or in the tail of the hit distribution curve. Consequently, the reputational characteristics of a blogger may vary depending on the context and depending on where along this curve the blogger falls. Although Anderson uses the long tail theory to explain an economic phenomenon, it is a useful lens to explain behavioral differences among independent bloggers. Furthermore, this conceptual paper theorizes that the salience of specific types of identity, the level of social capital, the importance of subjective norms, and attitudes toward the status quo will all vary throughout the hit distribution curve of the long tail and all of these factors will have an impact on a blogger’s reputation in a given context. We illustrate this theory with examples from the independent technology blogging community.
Mattson, Thomas and Davidson, Elizabeth, "The A-List vs. the Long Tail: Technology Bloggers and Reputation" (2009). AMCIS 2009 Proceedings. 574.