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Tattoos, Britney top Web search list

By Jeordan Legon

Japanese cartoon Dragonball has been No. 1 two years in a row.
Japanese cartoon Dragonball has been No. 1 two years in a row.

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(CNN) -- If Japanese cartoons, music-sharing and tattoos were on your mind the last time you did a Web search, then you're onto the latest trend.

Those were among the most popular Internet searches in 2002, according to the folks at search engine Lycos. The Lycos 50 list of most popular search terms was released this week. After factoring out sex, which is always at the top of the rankings, the No. 1 term this year was Dragonball.

Never heard of it? Well, plenty of Web searchers apparently have. Enough for the Japanese cartoon to be at the top of the list two years in a row.

"A lot of people ... don't realize the immense popularity of that program online. It's got a really intense Internet following," said Aaron Schatz, a former Daytona Beach radio disc jockey who now tabulates the Lycos list.

Tracking trends

Aaron Schatz, a former radio disc jockey, tabulates the Lycos list.
Aaron Schatz, a former radio disc jockey, tabulates the Lycos list.

From his Net perch, Schatz can spot cultural trends as they're being typed into millions of computers -- from the hottest stars to changes in Web demography.

"You learn the breadth of how deeply people search the Net and the wide variety of interests they have," he said.

Lycos lists music-trading service Kazaa at No. 2, tattoos at No. 3, pop idol Britney Spears was No. 4, the NFL (National Football League) at No. 6, and Christmas at No. 9.

The biggest fall from public grace appeared to be taken by boy bands. Music group 'N Sync plummeted from No. 36 to No. 163 this year. And the Backstreet Boys took an even deeper dive from No. 58 to No. 250.

Lest you think that the Web is dominated by young males looking for sex and cartoons, Schatz said the terms being pumped into the search engine this year tell him more young women are logging on. For example, teen heartthrob Orlando Bloom, from the movie Lord of the Rings, is No. 89 and "prom dresses" made it at No. 39.

Predicting the future

With the economy in the can, gambling mecca Las Vegas made it to No. 11 and the Powerball giveaway and California lottery both crept into the top 100. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) was No. 7 and "taxes" was No. 14.

The new year isn't here yet, but Schatz is already predicting that the biggest movie of 2003 - based on the high number of searches -- will be the sequel to The Matrix. And he expects actress Jennifer Garner, who plays comic book character Elektra in the upcoming film Daredevil, and high school basketball sensation LeBron James to be huge.

The entire list is online at

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