Well, a few things have pushed me to go with longer posts on this site from the start. First was of the two sites that I just have not been able to recover fully from Panda on (if it was really Panda and not some other algorithmic change), the only common factor I've found is that they have a fair amount of content well left of 500 words (on each). Course, these same 2 sites had some linkbuilding done on a blog network that I believe is "outed" now too...(teach me to post > 1-2 articles to the same site on any one network again!!!) so who knows....
Second - Looking back over the past year to two years, most of the money articles I've had were > 400 words in length.
So, it was pretty easy to add the minimal cost to set a 500 word or more goal and stick to it.
Regardless of those factors, the tactic really seems to be hitting the long tail here early which is cool. Hitting > 50 uniques for 3 days and counting now (not counting today). Trending up and we're not even 1/2 a month in yet! Maybe we'll be able to add a 0 to the visitors by this time next month!
Next update after Santa takes care of the rest of his "shopping"!