Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Michael Jackson’s Last Performance on the Web: Big, but Not Obama Big


Depending on your perspective, this is either interesting news or heartening news: Michael Jackson’s funeral and memorial were indeed a giant Internet event. But they don’t seem to have been as big as Michael Jackson’s death, and they weren’t as big as Barack Obama’s inauguration.

So let’s call them the third-biggest Web event of the year. To date.

That sounds more like what I was thinking this morning: Everyone had to watch Obama’s inauguration or read about Jackson’s death, but not everyone felt compelled to see his burial or memorial.

It also explains why the Akamai people were so uncomfortable with my earlier reading of their traffic stats this afternoon, when I concluded that the events were responsible for the content delivery service recording more visitors per minute than any other time in the last year. Though I’d still love it if someone could explain why that did happen. (Jennifer? Anyone?)

Statistics are tumbling in from different sites and services (if you’d like to share yours with me, I’m all  ears).

Here’s what I’ve got for now:

  • Akamai (AKAM) says it delivered 2,185,000 “live and on-demand streams” today. If I’m comparing apples to apples here (Jennifer?), that’s much fewer than the seven million simultaneous streams the content delivery network delivered during Obama’s inauguration. Akamai also compares the number of visitors on its “Net Usage Index for News” and says that number peaked at 3,924,370–that’s nearly double average traffic of 2,000,000, but fewer than the 4,247,971 visitors who were looking for Jackson info when he died on June 25.
  • Facebook, which integrated its service with live video feeds from CNN, E! ABC and MTV (why wasn’t Twitter doing this?), says that one million users posted 800,000 status updates during the event, with the overwhelming majority coming through CNN. There were 1.8 million updates with the word “Obama” in them during the inauguration.
  • CNN says it served up 781,000 concurrent live streams during the event; during the Inauguration it served up 1.3 million. It served a total of 4.4 million streams during the event, and 10.4 million for the day.
  • MSNBC claims three million live streams–which are different from concurrent streams–and says that is its second-highest total, after…well you can guess. More if they roll in.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus