What’s the Buzz about? An Empirical Examination of Search on Yahoo!


We present an analysis of the Yahoo Buzz Index over a period of 45 weeks. Our key findings are that: (1) It is most common for a search term to show up on the index for one week, followed by two weeks, three weeks, etc. Only two terms persist for all 45 weeks studied — Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez. Search term longevity follows a power–law distribution or a winner–take–all structure; (2) Most search terms focus on entertainment. Search terms related to serious topics are found less often. The Buzz Index does not necessarily follow the "news cycle"; and, (3) We provide two ways to determine "star power" of various search terms — one that emphasizes staying power on the Index and another that emphasizes rank. In general, the methods lead to dramatically different results. Britney Spears performs well in both methods. We conclude that the data available on the Index is symptomatic of a celebrity–crazed, entertainment–centered culture.

Download Resources