December 5, 2006

Top 10 celebrities most sought out by Yahoo! Internet Users

Singer Britney Spears led a celebrity-packed Top Ten list of the most sought out terms by the millions of people worldwide who used Internet search engine Yahoo in 2006.

More online searches were done to find out about Spears than any other topic or person, according to rankings made public by Yahoo in Sunnyvale, California, on Monday.

The Yahoo! Search 2006 Overall Top 10 Searches are:

1. Britney Spears
2. WWE
3. Shakira
4. Jessica Simpson
5. Paris Hilton
6. American Idol
7. Beyonce Knowles
8. Chris Brown
9. Pamela Anderson
10. Lindsay Lohan

Spears took premier ranking for the fifth time in the six years that Yahoo has been ranking annual search queries. She was bumped to second place by celebrity bad girl Paris Hilton in 2004.

Second place this year went to a professional wrestling entertainment network and third went to "Hips Don't Lie" singer Shakira.

Paris Hilton slipped to fifth place, behind Jessica Simpson and ahead of the US amateur talent hunt television program "American Idol."

Beyonce Knowles, Chris Brown, Pamela Anderson and Lindsay Lohan finished out the Top Ten list in ascending order, which Lohan ranked tenth.

"It just gives us a great look at 2006 and what was on our minds," Yahoo spokeswoman Cathi Early told AFP. "A yearly look at the pulse of the Web as told by the billions of searches each month by millions of Yahoo users."

While female celebrities took center stage in the year's cumulative search tallies, topics for which inquiries spike tremendously certain months included World Cup football, the death of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, and the Danish newspaper cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed that outraged Muslims.

FBI agents digging up a US farm in a vain hunt for the body of legendary missing mobster Jimmy Hoffa topped searches in one month and Mermaid costumes were the most fished for topic in the Halloween month of October.

Interest in news from Iraq has remained strong for the past three years, Early said. Hot news topics in 2006 included Fidel Castro's surgery, Saddam Hussein's trial, and the test of a nuclear bomb by North Korea.

"It was human interest stories that really captured people's attention," said Early. "I don't think people are just sitting in front of their computers looking for Britney. Why she keeps ranking top of the list is beyond me."

Yahoo made its Buzz website interactive for the first time, enabling visitors to seek out popular videos, pictures and even the questions that drew the most replies worldwide at Yahoo Answers.

Users contributed more than 160 million replies to Yahoo Answers during the past year, with the top five questions being posed by famous people such as scientist Stephen Hawking who asked "How can the human race survive the next hundred years?"

"This much observation data from around the globe is fascinating," Early said.

Yahoo's annual top search details were online at or could be found by typing "Top Searches 2006" into the search engine.

"Controversy rocked the lives of several of the stars on this year's Top Search list and The 2006 Yahoo! Top Searches illustrate that people are closely following celebrity happenings and scandals," said Buzz editor Jess Barron. — AFP

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