The Yahoo! Search Top Searches have become something of a benchmark of consumer interests and trends for each year. This year, music and multimedia continue to dominate America's search interest, as KaZaa, the controversial peer-to-peer file-sharing program, took first place in the year's top 10 followed by various pop singers, TV shows, and entertainment organizations.
Cult-series icon Harry Potter finished in the top 10 for the third year in a row, zipping ahead in the search standings to no. 2 this year from no. 10 in 2002. Behind Harry, Fox's ratings-gem "American Idol" claimed the honors for third most requested search term of 2003, followed by global pop-goddess Britney Spears, who incidentally is the only celebrity to have held a spot in Yahoo!'s Top 10 for three years in a row.
Eminem's latest protégé, 50 Cent, beat him out in the search standings, finishing one spot ahead of him in fifth place. World Wrestling Entertainment also made its third straight appearance in the Yahoo! Top Ten, landing in seventh place and edging out the year's "It" girl, Paris Hilton, NASCAR racing, and Top Ten newcomer and Britney rival, Christina Aguilera.
Erik Gunther, editor of Yahoo! Search, spoke about the year's newcomers: "The newcomers to the Yahoo! Search Top Searches of 2003 continue to show the strength of breakouts from year to year. This year's newcomers include Paris Hilton-buoyed by notoriety and a reality TV show-and Christina Aguilera, who has made the list after several years in the shadow of Ms. Spears."
In addition to the Top Searches of 2003, Yahoo! Search also released the Top Search Movers for each month of 2003, as well as the Top 10 Reality TV Show, Diet, and Technology Searches of 2003.
Unlike the overall top searches for the year, the year's top movers for each month reflect the news stories and events that captivated public interest. The interest in these search terms often comes and goes as quickly as the stories themselves.
Adds Gunther, "The top movers of the year often provide us with a picture of a particular moment in time. This year, we saw the highest spike in searches on the news of the Space Shuttle Columbia, with searches surging 190,000 percent in February. We also continue to see people flocking to search engines to find the latest news. For example, with the sudden passing of David Bloom, an NBC news anchor, and continuous online video coverage of the war in Iraq, we saw a large spike in the searches for Bloom, making him the top mover in April."
The Yahoo! 2003 Top 10 Searches
2. Harry Potter
3. "American Idol"
4. Britney Spears
5. 50 Cent
8. Paris Hilton
10. Christina Aguilera