Posted September 21, 2009 2:58 pm by with 2 comments

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Last week was a record week for Google News in the United Kingdom, according to Hitwise UK—and largely because of celebrities missteps, tragedies and deaths.

The overall share for Google News UK jumped dramatically this week, from 46th most popular site to 28th most popular:
The perfect storm that contributed to this: “Google News UK was a top recipient for many of the most popular terms”:

  1. [Patrick Swayze] (who died)—GNUK was the second biggest recipient of UK searches—8.25% of traffic
  2. [Kanye West] (who lost his mind)—again, second biggest recipient—8.26%
  3. [Katie Price] (a model who admitted she had been raped by a celebrity)—third biggest—9.29
  4. [Keith Floyd] (who died)—fourth—5.28%

Most interesting, perhaps, is how much bigger this spike is than when Michael Jackson died (can you find it on the graph?). Here in the US, anyway, that was a much bigger deal in the media.

While I am very happy for Google News, and I’ma let them continue, I just want to say that when they benefit from so many tragedies, it almost makes Google News look like . . . well, vultures. But I guess it’s not their fault what people are searching for.

What do you think? Is covering celebrity tragedies a boon or a bane for Google News?

  • I don’t think I would call Google News vultures. I think I’d be more likely to give that title to those news sites and blogs that chase google trends whenever a major death happens, hoping to get a traffic boost.
    .-= Ethan Stanislawski´s last blog ..Not a bad gig after graduation for Nathan Jackson =-.

  • Why should Google news bear the brunt for this. Of course news aggregator would spike when there is news, and a soccer site would spike when there is a soccer match!

    If you want to blame someone for acting like opportunists, it is the tech blogs who have been ringing the Twitter word for the past two years, helping hype a non-monetizable service which is as crappy as it can get to reach a $1billion valuation today…
    .-= Anand Srinivasan´s last blog ..Need Your Opinion – Please Vote =-.