"A very, very big number (the products in the Tail) multiplied by a relatively small number (the sales of each) is still equal to a very, very big number. And, again, that very, very big number is only getting bigger."
The idea rapidly took off, as David Hornik notes in Where's The Money In The Long Tail?
"Six months ago there was barely a pitch I heard that didn't include a slide entitled "Long Tail" or "The Long Tail of [fill in the vertical]," with the obligatory long tail curve. Impressively, it has taken less than a year of entrepreneurs explicitly referencing and explaining the Long Tail before it has become so well recognized and understood that it need only be implicated in passing without the same sort of fanfare as it used to receive"
Guy Kawasaki also has heard so many long-tail pitches, he's produced cyncic's checklist for Long Tail ipmlementations.
However, the figures behind the idea may not quite add up after all - or at least, the figures have been exaggerated and doubtless been subject to a kind of Chinese Whispers - after all, when everyone concerned has a vested interest in a mem taking hold, it's not difficult to see how "I Want To Believe" can turn into "I Believe".
more details from everyone's favourite IT red-top scandal sheet, The Register at The Long Tail's maths begin to crumble :
The Long Tail, then, isn't snake oil. Rather its restorative properties have been exaggerated. Who wants to let facts get in the way of a
buzzword bestsellergood thesis?