No escaping Britney Spears: 2008's top searches

Celebrities dominated the top search terms at Yahoo in 2008. Also: people ask Ask.com how to get pregnant and what "maverick" means.

Maybe all our refined, enlightened interests are lost in the long tail, because Britney Spears once again was the most popular search subject in 2008 on Yahoo.

For Yahoo, Spears wasn't the only pop-culture icon in Yahoo's top 10 searches. Also on the list were Miley Cyrus at No. 4, Jessica Alba at No. 6, Lindsay Lohan at No. 7, and Angelina Jolie at No. 9.

Apparently a lot of people are curious about World Wrestling Entertainment, because WWE was No. 2. The online game RuneScape was No. 5, anime series Naruto was No. 7, and American Idol finished in 10th place on Yahoo's list.

Yahoo also broke down searches for various other subjects. For economic searches, the top 10 list started with IRS stimulus checks, then followed with oil prices, gold prices, gas prices, Dow Jones, Sallie Mae, stock market, AIG, foreclosures, and debt consolidation. The list reveals that people use general-purpose searches for everything ranging from how-to advice to the latest news.

In the people of politics, President-elect Barack Obama led the list. Next came Sarah Palin, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, George Bush, Ron Paul, John Edwards, Mike Huckabee, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mitt Romney.

AOL also shared its top search terms for 2008, though it didn't break out overall terms.

Ask.com also spotlighted popular 2008 searches, and has a few variations on the standard search categories. Its top questions are as follows:


1. How do I get pregnant? br>
2. How do I lose weight? br>
3. How do I write a resume? br>
4. How much is minimum wage? br>
5. How much is my car worth? br>
6. How do I change my name? br>
7. What is the meaning of life? br>
8. How do I register to vote? br>
9. Why is the sky blue? br>
10. How do I download videos? br>

And since Ask.com bought Dictionary.com earlier this year, it's releasing top search terms for that site. People's vocabulary expansion efforts concentrated on these terms: maverick, socialism, economy, recession, radical, cyclone, solace, realtor, environment, and potholes.

Apparently Google, which has shared search trends on its annual Zeitgeist list since 2001, didn't get the memo to release its results Monday, but expect it to cough up some new results soon--and, I hope, some of the accompanying graphs.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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