Ret was unheard of in Vanilla and BC. As a long time ret player i have mixed feelings about this, i was glad there was not many in the past and to add if you were ret..you were a skilled ret. Now as woww has changed over the years ret has become more common, so yes i'm glad to see more people play the class but at the same time im not =/
You're dead wrong here.
Even at its absolute most terrible points, Ret has been incredibly popular, just not amongst top raiders.
There's something about the lore/flavor of Ret Paladins that draws a massive amount of players to the spec - it doesn't matter whether the spec is terrible or amazing.