It found that there were 9.98 million queries for the terms “Michael” and “Jackson” across the top 25 search engines and news and social media sites in the week ended June 27. Compete said that was more than 24 times the number of queries for information using the terms “Iran” and “election” during the week before.


The tidal wave of Twitter posts was dramatic. “Micheal Jackson” quickly surfaced on the site’s list of upwardly trending topics, with hundreds, if not thousands, of new posts referencing either “Micheal Jackson” or the correctly spelled “Michael Jackson” popping up by the minute. By the time the Los Angeles Times got credit for confirming the pop star’s death, “RIP Michael Jackson” was already at the top of the Twitter trends list.

According to initial data from Trendrr, a Web service that tracks activity on social media sites, the number of Twitter posts Thursday afternoon containing “Michael Jackson” totaled more than 100,000 per hour. That put news of Jackson’s death at least on par with the Iran protests, as Twitter posts about Iran topped 100,000 per hour on June 16 and eventually climbed to 220,000 per hour.


Google‘s list of top 100 search trends in the hours after the news broke was composed almost exclusively of Jackson-related phrases, ranging from “Michael Jackson died” and “Thriller lyrics” to “Neverland ranch.”

Google News reported more than 3,500 separate news sources covering the story. And Keynote Systems, which tracks Web traffic, said that the average time to access a news site doubled to almost 9 seconds from less than 4 seconds, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Google, which said that its systems initially interpreted the spike in searches as an attack, fielded the most requests, handling 61 percent of the queries.


AIM, the instant messaging service operated by AOL, collapsed for about 40 minutes amid all the Jackson attention. The service was “undergoing a previously scheduled software update” at the time, the company said in a statement to PC Magazine.

“At AOL our AIM instant messaging service was undergoing a previously scheduled software update which should normally prove routine,” the site added in a statement. “It proved not to be. There was a significant increase in traffic due to today’s news and AIM was down for approximately 40 minutes this afternoon.”


Yahoo Music pulled in a hefty 45 percent of Web surfers seeking the pop maestro’s albums, music videos and merchandise, according to Compete. YouTube ranked a distant second with 23 percent.

Compete said Yahoo’s dominance was probably a result of spillover from its coverage of Mr. Jackson’s hospitalization. Yahoo said its coverage broke traffic records, generating 800,000 clicks in the first 10 minutes that the story was posted.

Reference: NyTimes, PCMag, Chicago Tribune,