Here you go - independent data on the Long Tail.
Bnoopy: The long tail of software. Millions of Markets of Dozens.
You know the real reason Excite went out of business? We couldn’t figure out how to make money from 97% of our traffic. We couldn’t figure out how to make money from the long tail – from those queries asked only once a day.
Overture figured it out, Google perfected it and we all know what happened from there. Those guys figured out something revolutionary -- the long tail of search was a advertising marketplace. But it wasn’t a traditional advertising marketplace like television, where a handful of large advertisers reached out to a handful of very large markets. It was a special kind of marketplace where small advertisers could reach small markets efficiently. It was and is a revolution to the traditional economics of advertising (where the cost of producing and distributing advertising requires large markets to justify the expenditure).
Search is a long tail business and that is the source of its power and profit.