And the Winning Search Term Is....
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Along with the final results of Election 2004 comes the king of election night search terms, courtesy of specialty search and net play Lycos. If you guessed that "2004 Election Results" ranked the highest, you win.
That search string, according to Lycos, rose in popularity by 686 percent in the past 12 hours. Next was the term "Exit Polls," which jumped by 778 percent in popularity as the cliffhanger grew over whether President Bush would win Ohio's electoral college votes or whether Sen. John Kerry would challenge the results while provisional ballots were counted.
Even the search terms for the candidates tracked along the lines of the official results at the polls. Lycos said the search for "George W. Bush" ranked at the 4th highest search term with a 347 percent rise in the past 12 hours. Next came "John Kerry," whose 104 percent rise in search popularity ranked 5th in the "Lycos 50."
The company also noted that readers of The Lycos 50 can share their thoughts on Internet trends and pop culture at the Lycos 50 Blog.
"CNN" came through with the top-ranking term among news sites at 3rd place with a 347 percent jump in popularity. "Fox News" ranked 6th at 215 percent popularity. "Electoral College" was next, followed by "Drudge Report," "My Polling Place" and "MSNBC."
Lycos also found that search activity dropped for Senator Kerry since Monday, but that Kerry was actually leading President Bush in searches for the week ending Oct. 30. This is when Kerry attained his highest rank ever with Web users by generating 10 percent more search activity than President Bush, the firm said. But leading up to Election Day, searches for Bush surged by more than 200 percent with Web users.
The stats that Web tracking site comScore Networks collected up to Election Day also tracked the actual results of the election, which the president officially won after Kerry conceded the Ohio results, and the election.
According to comScore, visits to JohnKerry.com and GeorgeWBush.com notched 306,000 visitors and 317,000 visitors, respectively, in the run-up to Election Day. The firm also said at-work Internet users comprised the bulk of the traffic to the sites, with 160,000 (52 percent) workers visiting JohnKerry.com and 189,000 (60 percent) going to GeorgeWBush.com in the past few weeks.
"Political Web sites have played a pretty significant role in this year's election," said Graham Mudd, a senior analyst at comScore. "In general, the category's up about 50 percent over last year, and we looked to see what impact that visitation has had on people's opinions and attitudes. For the most part, voters have told us that it has a pretty substantial impact."
Political parodies, blogs and traditional media are also being hit, Mudd said. While tracking Web blogs is difficult, early numbers show that political blogs are getting 15 million hits a month, while traditional media Web sites across the board, like CNN.com and FoxNews.com, have seen a 15 percent bump in visits.
Jibjab.com, a site that parodies nearly everyone involved in the election, was one of the 50 biggest Internet properties during its first month, according to ComScore.
"It's really an extraordinary feat for a site that no one had really heard of a week before," he said.
Erin Joyce, executive editor of internetnews.com, contributed to this article.