Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

On the Web, Bin Laden News Is Big–But Not as Big as Soccer

No debate that Osama bin Laden’s death is one of the biggest news stories in years.

Except on the Web, where all of our tweeting and reading and live-streaming about it isn’t generating nearly as much traffic as other big events of the last decade.

Here’s a look at the last day of Akamai’s “Net Usage Index For News,” which is pretty much what it sounds like: It tracks interest via page views. Note the spike last night:

Akamai says traffic peaked around midnight, at 4.1 million page views per minute, which sounds like a lot. But it’s not that much–it’s not enough to crack Akamai’s top 10 list, or even its top 14 (the Internet infrastructure company has been tracking this stuff since 2005).

If you want to really make waves on the Internet, it turns out, your best bet is to involve soccer, as four of the top five biggest Web news events did. Sports in general is a good bet–it accounts for seven of the top 14:

The obvious asterisk here is that the bin Laden news broke late on a Sunday night, when a good chunk of the U.S. was headed to bed and most Europeans were presumably fast asleep.

Had this popped on a weekeday, during daylight hours, it’s reasonable to think this would have been much, much bigger. Maybe not soccer big, though.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald