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Viewers of Bowl ads rush to Internet

People don't wait for the game to end before logging on to Web sites or searching via related keywords.

The fact that most of the Super Bowl ads were ho-hum didn't stop viewers from checking out advertisers' Web sites or using search engines for queries related to the commercials.

Searches on "Super Bowl XL Commercials" have grown by about 800 percent since Sunday, making it one of the 10 most-used keyword phrases on Yahoo, the search engine said Monday.

Web domain registrar reported that it had about 900,000 unique visitors during the hours the game was on, up more than 1,000 percent from a typical Sunday.

"The payback will be over the year. Last year it took our market share from 16 to 24 percent," said President Bob Parsons. "That was the whole purpose of the ad, to get noticed. Either because people liked the ad or disliked it." had 400,000 unique visitors, 25 percent more than usual, said Richard Castellini, vice president of consumer marketing for the job search site.

Was it worth it? "Absolutely. We can't be more thrilled," Castellini said. "It brings in a heck of a lot of consumers that view these job postings and heightens our awareness among employers."

Nielsen/NetRatings reported that traffic to all Super Bowl advertiser Web sites grew 4 percent in the week leading up to and including game day. That compares with a 9 percent decrease during that period a year earlier.

Ifilm, which has downloads of Super Bowl commercials, attracted 230,000 unique visitors on Super Bowl Sunday, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. A year ago, Ifilm had so few visitors it was below the cutoff for measurement.

But whose commercial was the best? According to a poll on America Online, Budweiser's streaker commercial was the most popular at 13 percent, followed by the Federal Express caveman ad at 12 percent, Budweiser's barn commercial at 11 percent, Bud Light's man kitchen at 7 percent, Bud Light's office ad at 7 percent, and Ameriquest's hospital commercial at 5 percent.

There was a more obvious winner among viewers when it came to the top Super Bowl commercials ever. Thirty percent chose Coke's Mean Joe Green ad, while 20 percent chose Apple Computer's 1984 ad. Reebok's Terry Tate ad garnered 13 percent.

The ads on AOL were streamed more than 23 million times, and visitors cast more than 500,000 votes, AOL said.

MSN reported that its video site had 2.9 million streams on Sunday, nearly three times normal traffic for a Sunday, and 5 million streams were served as of 4:30 p.m. Monday, almost all related to Super Bowl activity.

Web usage during the game averaged about 50,000 site visitors per minute, compared with the average of 60,000 to 80,000 per minute before the game started, according to Akamai, a company that provides content delivery services to Web sites and monitors traffic. There was a spike of about 164,000 visitors just before half time and another spike of about 780,000 after the game, according to Akamai's Net Usage Index for Advertising.

Viewers going to represented about 80 percent of the traffic during the spikes, Akamai said. Dove also was in the top five in terms of traffic for Akamai's customers.

Some of the advertisers that plunked an estimated $2.5 million down for a 30-second spot could have leveraged the Internet more to get more for that money, Yahoo and a search marketing agency said.

For instance, Pepsi missed an opportunity by not showing up in sponsored search results. Searches on "Pepsi" have risen about 60 percent since the soft drink company's spot aired, Yahoo said. There were also thousands of searches for "" on Yahoo "and none of those users found Pepsi in the search ads," Yahoo said in a statement.