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Monday, October 13, 2003

Lycos Search Engine Examines Their Most-Popular Requests in a Daily Weblog 

Lycos Network has about 12 million different queries everyday, averaging 2.3 words each. They make available weekly a list of the most-popular terms under the title Lycos 50, which Lycos began in 1999. During the week you can read their accompanying weblog which breaks down and analyzes trends and methodology.

The Lycos 50 most-popular searches of the week is a filtered final list compiled with the following adjustments:

-Misspellings and plurals are counted toward the single term sought. "Variations on a theme (e.g. campers, camping, campouts) may be combined into a single representative term, based on our editors' judgment."

-spam as detected by automated or mechanical entries or commercially-motivated activity. They will eliminate a flood of inquiries from one source if it is out of character.

-general categorical terms, like news, weather, music, and tattoos.

-purient content consisting of pornography, four-letter words (!) and otherwise lewd inquiries. They will stonewall searches on the names of adult film stars unless the term is driven by news events.

-queries on general computer utilities are ignored "to prevent the medium itself from skewing the list." Still, they include the specific names of file-swapping utilities because of the "political controversy" about them.

-company names are excluded because hits on them are largely based on the level of web presence. Exceptions are made as company names emerge in mergers, catastrophes, breaking news, or if the company name becomes an element of popular culture, like Xerox.

-countries are excluded because they are often added as an additional search term to speed location. They make exceptions for countries with current international news interest.

The top 20 search terms used on Lycos Networks for the past week ending October 4th:

1. Halloween
2. KaZaA
3. Costumes
4. Britney Spears
5. NFL
6. Brooke Burke
7. Soccer rape scandal
8. Clay Aiken
9. Apollo 11
10. Dragonball
11. Las Vegas
12. Christmas
13. Pamela Anderson
14. Lord of the Rings
15. Baseball
16. Mary Carey
17. NASCAR
18. Hilary Duff
19. The Bible
20. Final Fantasy
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