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Lycos: Janet boob stunt most popular Internet search ever

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake during their Super Bowl performance.
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake during their Super Bowl performance.

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Janet Jackson
Yahoo! Incorporated

LOS ANGELES, California (Hollywood Reporter) -- Janet Jackson's near-baring of her breast at the Super Bowl might be the most searched event in the history of the Internet, search site Lycos said.

Meanwhile, a paid streaker was a success for the dot-com company he advertised for, and movie studios earned big spikes in traffic for films they pitched.

Lycos said that Jackson and searches related to the Super Bowl halftime show the day after the big game amounted to 80 times more searches than did the usual No. 1 celebrity search, Britney Spears. In fact, Jackson and halftime searches that day outscored even the largest one-day total for terrorist-related searches on and after September 11, 2001.

Of course, not only Lycos has weighed in on the subject, as it has become tradition for online measurement companies to delve into the Super Bowl's impact on the Internet each year.

ComScore Networks is reporting that saw an immediate 330 percent spike in unique visitors in the 15 minutes after its ad for "Secret Window" ran and that, part of CNN's parent company Time Warner Inc., experienced a 200 percent hike after its "Troy" commercial. Taking the day as a whole, though, the former's traffic hike was just 6 percent and the latter's was 8 percent.

"You'd expect people's curiosity would immediately drive them to the site," said ComScore's Graham Mudd, "then it would trail off. Especially on a day where people are engaged in something else -- namely drinking."

If online traffic suggests a successful Super Bowl commercial, though, no ad topped erectile dysfunction drug Cialis, as traffic to scored an 1,868 percent increase for the day. Apple iTunes, which advertised that it was partnering with Pepsi to give away 100 million free songs, was second with a 593 percent increase to its site. Percentage increases are determined by taking the average of the four Sundays leading to the Super Bowl and comparing that number with traffic on Super Bowl Sunday.

As for that streaker, he appeared at the start of the second half and wasn't televised. But news of him -- and of what was written in big letters across his chest, "" -- drove folks to the Internet for video and photos, and ultimately to the online betting site he shilled for.

A 380 percent traffic hike in 15 minutes at proved the inexpensive ad strategy -- the professional streaker was paid while CBS was not -- was delivered on.

Back to the main event: Jackson. Online intelligence company Hitwise said traffic at her official site,, almost immediately climbed from the 173rd position in the category of music, bands and artists to No. 1. And Yahoo! said that searches for Jackson from Sunday-Wednesday amounted to a staggering 20 percent of all things searched for at the giant Internet portal. The second biggest topic in that time frame, at 2.7 percent, was "Super Bowl."

Finally, CBS and the NFL no doubt have already learned of a few places that make it easy to contact the FCC about the halftime show. "We need your immediate help to flood the FCC with thousands of indecency complaints," it says at, which provides links to FCC and congressional Web sites.

Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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