crapshoot economics
n. A business model in which only a few out of a large number of products or services are successful, but those few generate enough profits for the business to survive.

Example Citation:
"Who can say who will be the next Kid Rock? And so crap-shoot economics — blockbuster or bust — rule. Record companies are willing to roll the dice a hundred times to have a Britney Spears come up once."
—James Surowiecki, "Video kills the video star," The New Yorker, August 20, 2001

Earliest Citation:
"'The fact that he's paid is the reason they got such a glowing report,' said Larry Page, executive director of the anti-gambling Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council. 'This is crapshoot economics.'"
—Michael Rowett, "Proponents' study: Casinos would make enough to cut grocery tax," The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, October 28, 2000

A crapshoot is a risky venture that has an unpredictable outcome. This word entered the language in the early 1970s and it came from the game of craps, where a throw of the dice is called a shoot. Crapshoot economics is much newer, with the earliest citation I could find being less than a year old.

Related Words: