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Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that distributes articles and other related items through open source software. Wikipedia was started by Rick Gates in the early 1993 as an online encyclopedia, and its full implementation was carried out by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in January 2001. Since its inception, Wikipedia has been providing a variety of products to its clients ranging from academic articles, software, and hardware among others.

The profitability of Wikipedia from long tail or blockbuster items

It is arguable that Wikipedia benefits from long Tail items as well as blockbuster items. These benefits can be assumed to take place in an alternating manner. When the sales of long tail items are high in comparison with blockbuster items, it is possible to obtain high income from advertisement of these products through Wikipedia. The net of these incomes and expenses is the surplus for the site. Long Tail products are those products that are considered lowly demanded in various parts of the world. These products are associated with low sales volumes but they make up market segment that when combined exceeds the rival blockbuster if the stores and distribution channels are large enough (Anderson, 2008).

The possibility of profitability from long tail products by Wikipedia depends on the demand for common products, which may not be well accessible in the internet. When sales for goods not commonly sold is made, more people are able to search for these goods on the internet and this results into high accessibility gains for search companies such as Wikipedia. Initially Wikipedia relied on blockbuster strategy towards provision of information regarding products in the media by allocating enough resources for advertisement of blockbuster products (Lih, 2009). Conversely, this approach has been associated with great financial risks due to many losses in comparison with investments.

This has changed in the current commerce and the present commerce industry is composed of retailers that have enough shelf space for a range of consumer items that enable consumers to search for a variety of options. This is because a number of products in the category of long tail products have been digitized and therefore it is able to replicate them. This is mainly common with movies, music, and books. This change results into uncertainty whether blockbuster strategy is still effective (Matthews and Yates, 2011).

Health of Wikipedia Communities

Wikipedia is considered an organization that does not rely on profits for its maintenance. It relies on donations, thus the variation between the benefits brought by long tail and blockbuster items do not have effects on its future existence.

It can be argued that the existence of Wikipedia is still possible based on certain marketing strategies that are being developed for various products based on emerging technologies. The old model of mass marketing of products has not been successful and has threatened the existence of Wikipedia. However, the implementation of long tail strategies has ensured that the competition brought by niche products is counteracted using long tail approaches. This approach has ensured that products that are slow moving in the markets are sold and the company gains the production, distribution and advertisement expenses. In addition, the existence of niche products can ensure the existence of Wikipedia is sustained due to its high rate of gaining ground ((Lih, 2009).

It can also be proposed that in order for Wikipedia to ensure the growth of its niche products are maintained at a high level in a similar manner to long tail products, there is need to ensure premiums on these products are charged favourably by ensuring the right products are provided. However, if Wikipedia tries to ensure high status is achieved by paying highly for the products, it is presumed that sales may detract from mass-market requirements by ensuring high disposable income is drawn from the higher price. This may be accompanied by improved tastes that may not be in accordance with the recommendations of the herd. This is regarded as a threat to the mass-market concept.

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