war in iraq


War in Iraq dramatically affects web search activity

Lycos Search reports Al-Jazeera is most-searched term on The Lycos 50 over past 48 hours

March 25, 2003

WALTHAM, Mass., March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Terra Lycos (NASDAQ:TRLY) , the largest global Internet network, today announced the following information from The Lycos 50(TM), the 50 most popular user searches for the week ending March 22, 2003. For a complete list of The Lycos 50(TM) and for in-depth text of The Lycos 50 Daily Report, go to http://50.lycos.com/.

Just as the September 11 terrorist attacks had a dramatic effect on Web search activity, so the beginning of the War on Iraq (#2) has also brought a number of new topics to The Lycos 50. "Despite huge levels of war interest, and reduced levels of basketball interest, March Madness still came out on top with Web users by a margin of one percent," said Aaron Schatz, writer of The Lycos 50. "The NCAA basketball tournament generates the most search activity online each year, thanks to the popularity of brackets and office pools. This year, the NCAA Tournament received about 30 percent fewer searches than last year, because by mid-week, the nation had turned its attention to war."

But search activity dramatically changed over the weekend. Al-Jazeera became the number one term Web users were searching for on Sunday, March 23 and Monday, March 24, generating three times as much search activity as anything else, due to the POW video, which North American television media outlets chose not to air. Search activity also jumped for Iraqi Television and POW video. In addition, controversial "Bowling for Columbine" director Michael Moore, fresh off his anti-war acceptance speech at Sunday's Oscars telecast, has received twice as many searches as Britney Spears and three times as many as Jennifer Lopez over the past 24 hours.

Saddam Hussein also made his debut on the list at number four. President George W. Bush (#25) returned to The Lycos 50, with many Web users searching for text of the two speeches President Bush gave Monday and Wednesday nights.

"Both pro-war and anti-war searches also increased, and when it came to using the Internet for activism, the anti-war forces out-numbered the pro-war searches," Schatz added. "Anti-war queries, such as anti-war slogans and searches for protests, generated 15 percent more searches than pro-war queries, which include pro-war slogans, reasons for war, and searches asking for ways to support our troops. Patriotism also appears to be back on the rise with American flag searches nearly making this week's list."

Lycos also reported a 51 percent spike in traffic to its news site and a 15 percent spike in traffic in its community chat rooms and message boards since the onset of the war with Iraq. Additionally, Lycos has seen a 178 percent increase in traffic to its uswarblog.com site on Tripod, providing Web users with around the clock updates on the war from front line reporters as well as global news sources.

"September 11 showed us that people flocked to the Internet for information, for facts, for news, for updates, but most importantly to feel connected in a way that was safe," said Mark Stoever, executive vice president of U.S. operations for Terra Lycos. "History is repeating itself with the Iraqi War as the Internet is yet again proving what a truly exceptionally powerful tool it is, helping people connect like no other medium ever has."

The Lycos 50(TM) Top 10 Search Terms for the Week Ending March 22, 2003:


  1)   NCAA Basketball       6)   Tattoos

  2)   War on Iraq           7)   KaZaA

  3)   The IRS               8)   Dixie Chicks

  4)   Saddam Hussein        9)   50 Cent

  5)   Dragonball           10)   American Idol

Dixie Chicks (#8) searches rose enough to put the controversial country artists in the top 10, thanks to searches like Dixie Chicks boycott and Dixie Chicks apology. Since the start of the war, many news networks have been using Earthviewer maps of the Iraqi landscape to point out where battles are taking place, pushing Earthviewer to number 18 on this week's list. Baghdad (#29) also makes The Lycos 50, although none of the other Iraqi towns like Basra or Tikrit even come close. The U.S. Army (#30) is the military branch receiving the most online attention, although the U.S. Marines (#54) and U.S. Navy (#70) are right below The Lycos 50.

They Lycos 50 also looked at news organizations generating the most online interest. Since the onset of the War in Iraq, CNN has seen the most Web search activity, followed by MSNBC (#2), FOX News (#3), BBC (#4), ABC News (#5), New York Times (#6), Washington Post (#7), Drudge Report (#8), USA Today (#9) and Al-Jazeera (#10). Once it was confirmed that the Iraqi troops had captured U.S. POWs, Al-Jazeera became the number one search term, and has remained the most searched term over the past 48 hours. Based on Web search activity, both MSNBC and FOX News have risen significantly in online popularity since September 11.


war in iraq