The Long Tail of the Clued In
Nearly three years ago, I wrote an article comparing Linode and Slicehost having been first a Slicehost customer and then switched to Linode. I would have been happy to stay with Slicehost, because they seemed like good people, but the 64bit vs 32bit issue, especially, tilted things very far in Linode's favor. I thought the results were damning, and many people agreed with me, judging by the number of people clicking through the affiliate link I added later. Based on some comments I read from this guy, who did a similar comparison, at http://journal.uggedal.com/vps-performance-comparison/ I think that between the two of us we drove a lot of customers towards Linode.
Those articles have been out there for years, and are very easy to find with Google. Curious to monitor the situation, a while ago, I set up a Twitter search feed for "Slicehost vs Linode" to see if people were talking about my article, and what other people were suggesting. Overwhelmingly, those suggestions have been for Linode too.
Recently, Rackspace, who acquired Slicehost several years ago, announced they would be shutting down Slicehost and transitioning their customers to Rackspace: http://www.readwriteweb.com/cloud/2011/05/rackspace-shutting-down-sliceh.php
And yet - people are still asking about Slicehost vs Linode on Twitter!
This is a useful reminder to me of how much, in our profession (and likely others, but I'm going with what I know) there is a core of the very clued in, who follow all the latest trends (and, negatively, fads too, at times), and are highly informed about everything that's going on. Outside that, though, there is a pretty long tail of people who are much less informed. That's not a criticism of those people, either; perhaps they follow the latest developments in gold mining technology or something else that's much more relevant to their lives than "computer stuff". It's something to keep in mind when marketing things - you think that everyone must have got the message, that no one could possibly not know what's going on, but it's actually quite difficult to really, reliably communicate something to a broad range of people.