Lycos 50 — Janet Jackson Makes History

Janet Jackson exposing her breast during the Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday night has proved to be the most-searched event in the history of the Internet.

On Monday, Janet Jackson and the halftime show received 60 times as many searches as the Paris Hilton sex tape and 80 times as many searches as Britney Spears. Jackson was searched 50 times for every request for the topic that normally dominates on the day after the game, Super Bowl commercials. She also received 275 times as many searches as the streaker who ran on the field before the second half, and 350 times as many searches as Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady.

Janet Jackson wasn’t the only person involved in the stunt, of course. Justin Timberlake received 40 times as many searches as he does on a normal day.

Prior to this week, the most-searched event in the history of the Lycos 50 over a one-day period was the September 11 attack on America. Although it is very difficult to compare searches for the two events, it looks like the Super Bowl halftime show was the equal of September 11 when it comes to Internet attention. That is, to put it bluntly, mind-blowing.

No joke.

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. melvin toast says:

    First of all, all the tv stations were all 9/11 all the time for
    about 3 or 4 days so it’s possible that tv trumped internet
    in that case. Secondly, it’s been 2 1/2 years since 9/11. He seems to be using raw search numbers, not search ratios. If you divided the number of janet searches by the total number of searches you’d probably see that 9/11 was bigger. More people have internet, particularly high speed internet, than 2 1/2 years ago.

  2. James Joyner says:

    It’s not just that it trumped 9/11–it is THE BIGGEST SEARCH OF ALL TIME. That would include things that happened a month ago, when the ‘net was essentially as big as it is now.

  3. Rodney Dill says:

    …meaning that flying a plane into Janet Jackson’s breast during a superbowl halftime show would be even bigger.

  4. melvin toast says:

    What incident that occured a month ago are you then comparing it to?

  5. James Joyner says:

    I’m not comparing it to any incident. The story compares it to all incidents. Including the Paris Hilton video.

  6. melvin toast says:

    The paris hilton video wasn’t revealed during the super bowl half time. But like the hilton video, getting an enlargement on Janet’s nipple isn’t generally available on broadcast television so more people would resort to looking it up on the net since that’s the only outlet that you would get it.

    The capture of sadaam for instance was covered heavily by the networks so that would provide people less of a need to go to the web.

  7. Paul says:

    It amazes me how many stupid people there are in the world… Or at least out of touch… Did anyone NEED to do a search??? I knew where to go without having to even think. I assume everyone reading this did too.

    You would hope more people would know more about “internet news.”

  8. melvin toast says:

    One would have to say the same about 9/11 paul