Friday , June 26, 2009
For a man whose superstardom largely predated the World Wide Web, Michael Jackson sure dominated it following his death.
The King of Pop held seven of the top 10 album downloads on Apple's iTunes store Friday morning, including the top five spots.
By 3 p.m. EDT, it was all Jackson, except for the Black Eyed Peas' new album at No. 9.
In Amazon.com's CD section, the top 15 sellers were by Michael Jackson or the Jackson 5.
"Sales of Michael Jackson CDs and MP3s ... at Amazon.com increased 322 times overnight from our typical daily sales," said Amazon Director of Communications Drew Herdener in an e-mail to Fox News Friday.
"The magnitude is enormous," Amazon.com Vice President of Music and Video Bill Carr told Fox News Radio Friday.
"We ran out of stock of CDs within moments of the announcement being made and so we are still taking orders. We are working closely with Sony to get inventory back in stock.
"Demand is also huge in our DVD and Blu-ray Disc store," added Carr. "The top seven DVDs in our store are all Michael Jackson right now. And similarly we ran out of stock quickly there too, and are working to get more inventory to fill those orders as well."
Digital communications of all kinds were swamped with Jackson-related traffic.
"News of Michael Jackson's death yesterday caused the largest spike in SMS traffic in our network history," AT&T Wireless spokeswoman Jeannie Hornung told FoxNews.com. "Nearly 65,000 texts per second were sent as fans reached out to each other to share the sad news."
On Twitter, five of the top 10 search terms were related to Jackson, and the microblogging service reported the most tweets per second following his death since Barack Obama's election.
"We saw over twice the normal tweets per second the moment the story broke as people shared their grief and memories," Twitter co-founder Biz Stone told The Associated Press via e-mail.
Twitter usage was so high Thursday night that engineers had to scramble to keep the service up and running.
"Everyone willl always remember where they were when #michaeljackson died," tweeted user "sinclairexoh," using the Twitter "hash-tag" for Jackson.
"Michael transcended generations. We lost the biggest artist of any generation. Nobody will do what Michael did. The WORLD mourns," posted Twitter user "Jayda_B1999."
"Rip Sending love and light to family and friend but especially his kids," wrote the unofficial king of Twitter, actor Ashton Kutcher.
About 40 percent of the top Google search terms had to do with Jackson, while the company's YouTube dedicated an entire section to the Gloved One.
A Michael Jackson tribute page on Facebook drew more than 900,000 fans.
"Yahoo! News set a record in unique visitors with 16.4 million UV's in a day," Yahoo spokeswoman Carolyn Clark told FoxNews.com. "Our previous record was on Election Day when we had 15.1 million visitors. Yahoo! News had 4 million visitors come to the site between 3-4 p.m. [PDT Thursday], setting an hourly record.
"Michael Jackson's death is the highest clicking story in the history of the Yahoo! Front page."
She added that the site got 175 million page views, fourth-highest after Obama's inauguration day and two days of Hurricane Ike.
Not only were all variations of Michael Jackson's name trending high, said Clark, but so were searches for his siblings, ex-wives, children and famous friends such as Elizabeth Taylor and Quincy Jones.
Even Elvis Presley got a spillover, and not just because Jackson was married to his daughter Lisa Marie Presley — many queries came in for "How old was Elvis when he died?" and "Elvis Presley death," according to Clark.
So many queries poured into Google News regarding Jackson Thursday afternoon that the security software thought it was a planned hacker attack.
For about half an hour, Google News made users enter a "captcha" code to prove they were humans and not automations.
Many news sites experienced outages, among them TMZ.com and the Web sites of the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle.
"Beginning at 5:30 p.m. [EDT], the average speed for downloading news sites doubled from less than four seconds to almost nine seconds," Keynote Systems' Shawn White told DataCenterKnowledge.com.
AOL stated that its AOL Instant Messenger service was knocked out of commission for about 40 minutes Thursday.
"Today was a seminal moment in Internet history. We've never seen anything like it in terms of scope or depth," an AOL spokesman told the L.A. Times.
In the ongoing search-engine race, Loren Baker of SearchEngineJournal.com noted that while Yahoo News was all over the story as it was breaking, Google News was lagging and that "Microsoft BING however, has ABSOLUTELY FAILED in their coverage of the passing of Michael."
He then posted an image of a Bing search-results page showing the news of Jackson's death all the way down at the bottom of the page.
This being the Internet, of course, things got weird pretty quickly.
Celebrity snark blogger Perez Hilton initially speculated that Jackson's heart attack was a hoax, then quickly removed the post once it became clear it wasn't.
Several Twitter users joked that Jackson's death was planned by the Iranian mullahs or embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford as a means to divert attention, while others made tasteless comments in many languages.
"Irony: The protesters in Iran using twitter as com are unable to get online because of all the posts of 'Michael Jackson RIP.' Well done," posted Twitter user "foiegrasie."
Following TMZ.com's breaking report that Jackson was dead, comedian Rob Corddry tweeted: "I wish it had been Michael Jackson that broke the story of TMZ dying. I can almost hear the high-fives."
Possibly because '70s sex symbol Farrah Fawcett also died in Los Angeles Thursday, only a few hours before Jackson, rumors of further celebrity deaths flickered across the Internet.
Publicists for Jeff Goldblum — the No. 10 search on Twitter Friday morning — and Harrison Ford had to emphasize that reports of their demises were greatly exaggerated.
The Goldblum rumor briefly got so big that a fake news page said he'd fallen off a cliff in New Zealand, and his Wikipedia entry had to be locked down.
And in a bizarre coda, the No. 1 Google Trend search term at 3 p.m. EDT Friday was about the death of Tippy Tom, an alcoholic homeless man frequently featured on the "Opie and Anthony" shock-jock radio show.
FoxNews.com's Paul Wagenseil and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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