Word of the Week – The Long Tail

The phrase The Long Tail (as a proper noun with capitalized letters) was first coined by Chris Anderson in an October 2004 Wired magazine article to describe certain business and economic models such as Amazon.com or Netflix. Typically used when referring to actual product sales from a retailer (such as Amazon), the idea argues that products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, if the store or distribution channel is large enough.

For example, the user-edited Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia has many low-popularity articles that, collectively, create a higher quantity of demand than a limited number of mainstream articles found in a conventional encyclopedia such as the Encyclopedia Britannica.

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