Lycos, AOL Report Most-Searched Terms of 2004

In what is becoming an annual cultural barometer of top-of-mind topics on the Internet, Lycos and America Online released their top-searched terms for the year of 2004, with Janet Jackson, the war on terrorism, and the presidential elections taking some of the lead positions in their respective categories.

Janet Jackson led the Lycos list as the most searched term for 2004. Although Jackson held the number one spot on the Lycos 50 for just two weeks, her “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl half time show in January generated enough traffic in that time period to make her the most searched topic in the 5-year history of the Lycos 50 and easily the top searched term for 2004, said Dean Tsouvalas, the writer of the report.

In the first 24 hours after the performance, Jackson and the Super Bowl halftime show received 60 times as many searches in the first day as the Paris Hilton sex tape, and 80 times as many searches as Britney Spears. Jackson ranked number 3, behind Britney Spears (#1) and Paris Hilton (#2) on AOL’s list of top searched people overall for 2004.

Jackson remained on the Lycos 50 for 14 consecutive weeks until she was bumped off in the week of May 18, when Nick Berg, the American civilian was beheaded in Iraq, and the war in Iraq began to dominate Web search activity. As in 2003, the war in Iraq registered as the leading news event for 2004 on Lycos.

However, AOL’s most searched topic of the year had a more domestic focus, with the Presidential election taking the lead slot and John Kerry ranking as the most searched politician. George W. Bush ranked higher (#6) than John Kerry (#9) on Lycos’ most-searched for men of the year.

Among AOL’s most-searched words for 2004 list was horoscopes. New topics that appeared on its top 50 list included: foreclosures (#4); salaries (#5); work at home (#18); home improvement (#19); airline tickets (#27); spyware (#43); credit reports (#43); Texas hold ’em poker (#46); and blue book (#49).

AOL Search processes approximately 700 million search queries per month, with 35 million new unique visitors to the service measured in October.

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