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# The Long Tail or long tail refers to the statistical property that a larger share of population rests within

the tail of a probability distribution than observed under a 'normal' or Gaussian distribution. A long tail distortion will arise with the inclusion of some unusually high (or low) values which increase (decrease) the mean, skewing the distribution to the right (or left).[1] The term Long Tail has gained popularity in recent times as describing the retailing strategy of selling a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities ± usually in addition to selling fewer popular items in large quantities. The Long Tail was popularized by Chris Anderson in an October 2004 Wired magazine article, in which he mentioned Amazon.com and Netflix as examples of businesses applying this strategy.[2][3] Anderson elaborated the concept in his book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More (ISBN 1-4013-0237-8).[4] The distribution and inventory costs of businesses successfully applying this strategy allow them to realize significant profit out of selling small volumes of hard-to-find items to many customers instead of only selling large volumes of a reduced number of popular items. The total sales of this large number of "non-hit items" is called the Long Tail. Given enough choice, a large population of customers, and negligible stocking and distribution costs, the selection and buying pattern of the population results in the demand across products having a power law distribution or Pareto distribution. The Long Tail concept has found some ground for application, research, and experimentation. It is a term used in online business, mass media, micro-finance (Grameen Bank, for example), user-driven innovation (Eric von Hippel), and social network mechanisms (e.g. crowdsourcing, crowdcasting, peer-to-peer), economic models, and marketing (viral marketing). A frequency distribution with a long tail has been studied by statisticians since at least 1946. [5] The term has also been used in the finance[6] and insurance business[2] for many years (also referred to as fat tail, heavy tail or right-tail[7] ). The work of Benoît Mandelbrot in the 1950s and later has led to him being referred to as "the father of long tails".[8]

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1 Statistical meaning 2 Chris Anderson and Clay Shirky 3 Academic research o 3.1 Effects of online access o 3.2 The Longer Tail over time o 3.3 Goodbye Pareto principle, welcome the new distribution o 3.4 Demand-side and supply-side drivers o 3.5 Networks, crowds and the Long Tail o 3.6 Turnover within the Long Tail 4 Business models o 4.1 Competitive impact

2 Int net companies 4.3 Contemporary literature o 5. Power law distributions or functions characteri e an important number of behaviors from nature and human endeavor. The feature is also known as heavy tail .3 Vi eo and multiplayer online games 4. for such population distributions the majority of occurrences (more than half. What is unusual about a long-tailed distribution is that the most frequently-occurring 20% of items represent less than 50% of occurrences.4 Military applications and security 6 Criticism 7 See also 8 Notes 9 References o o o o o [edi ] S i ic l meaning The tail becomes bigger and longer in new markets (depicted in red).6 Marketing 5 Cultural and political impact o 5. In "long-tailed" distributions a high-frequency or high-amplitude population is followed by a low-frequency or lowamplitude population which gradually "tails off" asymptotically. and where the Pareto principle applies. As a rule of thumb. or Paret tail .5 User-dri en innovation 4.2 Distri ution of independent content o 5. The l t il is the name for a long-known feature of some statistical distributions (such as Zipf.1 Cultural diversity o 5. power laws. 80%) are accounted for by the first 20% of items in the distribution. or in other words. Pareto distributions and general Lévy distributions). the least-frequently-occurring 80% of items are more important as a proportion of the total population.y y y y y 4. online bookstores derive more sales from the area to the right.4 Microfinance and microcredit 4. whereas traditional retailers have focused on the area to the left of the chart. In other words. p wer-law tail . fat tail . This fact has given rise to a k scientific and social interest in een ¤   ¤   ¤ ¤ £ ¢¡  . The events at the far end of the tail have a very low probability of occurrence.

in these latter cases "tails" correspond to large-intensity events such as large earthquakes and most popular words. who dominate the distributions. The observation of such a distribution often points to specific kinds of mechanisms. In those cases the infrequent. and the relationships that create them. By contrast. whereas the Gutenberg-Richter law and the Zipf's law are probability distributions.such distributions. This suggests that a variation of one mechanism (internet access) or relationship (the cost of storage) can significantly shift the frequency of occurrence of certain events in the distribution. and therefore illustrate an opposite phenomenon compared to the Gutenberg-Richter and the Zipf's laws. The shift has a crucial effect in probability and in the customer demographics of businesses like mass media and online sellers. nature: Anderson and Shirky refer to frequency-rank relations. However. and can often indicate a deep connection with other. low-amplitude (or low-revenue) events ² the long tail. and those highlighted by Anderson and Shirky are of very different. the income distribution of a business or the intensity of earthquakes (see: Gutenberg-Richter law). if not opposite. represented here by the portion of the curve to the right of the 20th percentile ² can become the largest area under the line. Chris Anderson's and Clay Shirky's articles highlight special cases in which we are able to modify the underlying relationships and evaluate the impact on the frequency of events. Therefore. . the long tails characterizing distributions such as the Gutenberg-Richter law or the words-occurrence Zipf's law. seemingly unrelated systems. the long tails in the frequency-rank plots highlighted by Anderson and Shirky would rather correspond to short tails in the associated probability distributions. Examples of behaviors that exhibit longtailed distribution are the occurrence of certain words in a given language.