Michael Jackson bumps Britney Spears from top Yahoo '09 searches

Tue Dec 1, 2009 8:27am EST
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By Jonathan Spicer

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Michael Jackson's death thrust the singer to the top of yahoo.com Internet searches in 2009, putting an end to Britney Spears' four-year reign and helping bump the President Barack Obama from the top 10 list.

Although the year was dominated by recession, the most clicks still went to what distracts web surfers. NASCAR, actress Megan Fox, reality star Kim Kardashian, and the film "Twilight" replaced four actresses on last year's top list.

Until June, when Jackson died of a drug overdose, Obama's inauguration garnered the most web traffic, said Vera Chan, web trend analyst at Yahoo Inc.

"When the news of Michael Jackson's death came out the traffic was overwhelming, and surpassed that," she said.

The death had all the elements of intrigue and tragedy. It was sudden, shocking and eerily familiar, according to Chan.

"And then his case was ruled a homicide so it's an ongoing crime investigation. His death is unresolved," she added.

Breaking news increasingly drove searches this year. While Obama dropped from third in 2008 to 44th in 2009, the political focus shifted from the election campaign to specific policies. The phrase stimulus plan placed fourth and health care reform was sixth among Obama-related searches.

Among finance-related searches, the words coupons and unemployment topped a list that included cash for clunkers, student loans, foreclosures, and government jobs.   Continued...

<p>A Michael Jackson fan walks next to a poster at the Australian premiere of the documentary "This Is It", in Sydney October 28, 2009. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz</p>