The Long Tail is a term popularized by Chris Anderson, editor of Wired Magazine. Anderson wrote a magazine article in 2004, and a subsequent book, both of which illustrate the possibilities the Internet makes available to online businesses to tap resources with limited appeal.
Highlighting the 80/20 principle, The Long Tail challenges the traditional business model that 20 percent (the Hits) represent the only marketable product. Improvements to search engine filters allow The Long Tail, or the remaining 80 percent of products, to be marketable, giving rise to the burgeoning niche market.
Companies such as Amazon.com, iTunes, Rhapsody, eBay and NetFlix are examples how The Long Tail can market millions of products that would not be practical for brick and mortar businesses to keep in inventory.