Quick, what do Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson and Lindsay Lohan have in common? No, it's not some smarmy Hollywood playboy or the same plastic surgeon. These ladies are three of the most searched-for names on the Internet.
And they're not alone. From Britney Spears to the Simpson sisters, famous women dominate Web search ranks, accounting for almost one-third of the queries tracked by keyword research tool WordTracker. Add in other diversions including videogames, movies, music and a panoply of sexual acts, and you've pretty much accounted for the top 300 search terms.
Is this what the Web has come to? After a decade of evolution, investment and growth, the Internet is still primarily used to find pictures of naked women and to learn how to cheat in videogames.
"That's pretty much par for the course," says Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch. "The queries that you see the most do represent people looking for porn."
WordTracker looks at search terms entered on search engines including Metacrawler and Dogpile. On July 19, singer Jessica Simpson was the most popular query. Actress Jessica Alba, tennis player Daniela Hantuchova and socialite Paris Hilton were Nos. 2, 4 and 5, respectively.
It could be worse. WordTracker removes explicitly sexual adult key phrases from its reports. But the team-a division of Rivergold Associates-says that if it left them in, they'd account for a full quarter of all search engine queries.
When Web surfers aren't cruising for cheesecake, they're still looking to goof off. "PlayStation 2 cheats" and "XBox cheats" were the sixth and seventh most-popular search terms. Music lyrics came in at No. 3, and Jokes was No. 8.
The rest of the top queries indicate that even when people aren't wasting time, they're still being stupid. "The only other things you tend to see are navigational queries, people searching for Hotmail or Google," says Sullivan. Just look at WordTracker's rankings, and there it is; "Google," the tenth most-popular search term.
Indeed, people are going to a search engine to search for...a search engine.
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