Electronic Word-Of-Mouth (eWOM) communities represent today an important source of information in which more and more customers base their purchasing decisions. They include thousands of reviews concerning very different products and services posted by many individuals geographically distributed all over the world. Due to their massive audience, eWOM communities can help users to find the product they are looking for even if they are less popular or rare. This is known as the long tail effect, which leads to a larger number of lower-selling niche products. This paper analyzes the long tail effect in a well-known eWOM community and defines a tool for finding niche products unavailable through conventional channels.
Typically, virtual communities exhibit the well-known phenomenon of participation inequality, which means that only a small percentage of users is responsible of the majority of contributions. However, the sustainability of the community requires that the group of active users must be continuously nurtured with new users that gain expertise through a participation process. This paper analyzes the time evolution of Open Source Software (OSS) communities, considering users that join/abandon the community over time and several topological properties of the network when modeled as a social network. More specifically, the paper analyzes the role of those users rejoining the community and their influence in the global characteristics of the network.