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Wikipedia gets biggest traffic boosts on celebrity deaths

11 Feb 2013
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The passing of global icons lead to the biggest Wikipedia traffic spikes over the last three year, according to a new report.

Wikipedia community newspaper, The Signpost, has confirmed the deaths of celebrities such as Steve Jobs and Whitney Houston led to some of the biggest spikes in traffic on the site.

Events like the Super Bowl and Golden Globes also led to some of the largest spikes in the past three years.

"The best way to reach the highest levels of Wikipedia popularity is to be a celebrity who (a) dies, or (b) plays the Super Bowl halftime show," wrote Signpost editors in a blog post.

The three biggest traffic spikes on Wikipedia over the past three years were related to the passing of a well known individual. Pages for Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, and Steve Jobs saw the biggest spikes in the one hour period following their passing.

According to Wikipedia statistics, Whitney Houston's Wiki page saw over 425 views a second in the hour after her death on 12 February 2012.

Amy Winehouse's page saw about 377 views a second following her passing. Steve Jobs Wiki also saw about 300 views a second following the Apple co-founder's death.

The figures are in keeping with ones published by Google last year. The search giant reported that Whitney Houston's passing was one of the most searched for queries last year.

Other major traffic spikes were related to Super Bowl halftime shows and other major television events. Major spikes in Wikipedia traffic was shown to jump during the Super Bowl halftime shows of musicians The Who and Madonna.

Wikipedia reported that The Who's entry garnered over 157 clicks per second during their halftime show in 2010. Madonna's page also saw about 275 clicks a second when she performed during the Super Bowl's halftime show in 2012.

Jodie Foster's Wiki Page surprisingly received a huge spike in views earlier this year. Foster's page saw a hike in viewership after she gave a much talked about speech at the Golden Globes. According to Wikipedia, her page had over 125 views a second last January.

Overall, the most popular Wikipedia pages over the past three years were also shown to be very tech-centric. Pages for Facebook, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Google were found to be the most popular Wikis from 2010 to 2012.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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