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Hitwise Intelligence - Heather Hopkins - UK

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Polonium 210 and Thallium Searches Soar Following Tragic Death of Alexander Litvinenko

November 27, 2006

Over the weekend, our conversations with friends were dominated by talk of the tragic death last week of Alexander Litvinenko. The story keeps getting murkier and seems to be straight from a Bond film. The former Russian spy, who was reportedly poisoned by the radioactive substance polonium, died in London last week.

Of all the search terms relating to Litvinenko's death, the highest volume terms I found were "polonium 210", "thallium" and "polonium". The term "polonium 210" was the #5 search term sending visits to Wikipedia last week, "thallium" ranked #7 and "polonium" ranked #13. Wikipedia was the top website receiving visits from searches for "polonium 210", receiving 39% of visits from searches for the term.

Last week, the share of UK internet searches for "alexander litvinenko" were only 10% behind those for "brad pitt" and 69% below "tom cruise". Thirty nine percent of searches for "alexander litvinenko" sent visits to News and Media websites with the BBC News and Google UK News the top recipient websites. The term "alexander litvinenko" was the #30 term sending visits to BBC News last week.

We noticed today that The Sun, The Times and The Telegraph are appearing in the sponsored listings for many of the searches related to the former Russian Spy's murder. I recently blogged about paid search engine marketing by The Sun, with 23% of the site's search traffic coming from paid terms in the past four weeks.

John Reid, who today called for calm, and the proprietors of Itsu and the Millenium Hotel may be relieved to know that searches for "itsu" and "millenium hotel", suspected locations of the poisoning, had not spiked up as of Saturday.

Russian Spy Searches.png

Posted by Heather Hopkins at 06:16 PM | (0)
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