The 14 Biggest News Days on the Web

March Madness

NCAA March Madness

Date: March 17, 2011

Peak views per minute: 4,925,274

Notable event: The NCAA's Men's Basketball Tournament is always a popular event, but with so many people turning to their iPads and the Web to watch the games, it's no surprise that the start of the 2011 March Madness tournament topped news-site Web traffic.

Super Bowl XLV
Super Packers

Date: February 6, 2011

Views per minute: 4,630,080

Notable event: Online news addicts were glued to the Web the day Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers triumphed over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. Peak usage hit more than 4.5 million page views around 10 p.m. Eastern shortly before the Packers hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy at Cowboys Stadium.

Tectonic Shift

Date: February 22, 2011

Views per minute: 4,612,644

Notable event: New Zealand's largest earthquake in 80 years struck the city of Christchurch around 6:50 p.m. Eastern on February 21. The next day online-news buffs were burning up the Web reading news about the disaster as well as the continuing drama surrounding other notable events such as the turmoil in Libya, the Wisconsin protests, and the arrest of CIA contractor Raymond A. Davis in Pakistan.

Mubarak's Address

Date: February 1, 2011

Views per minute: 4,592,229

Notable event: Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak tried to pacify antigovernment protesters on this day by claiming that he would not seek reelection. Ultimately, Mubarak's bid to remain in power failed, and he resigned from the Egyptian presidency ten days later, on February 11. Online-news traffic peaked during the February 1 address around 4:45 p.m. Eastern, 45 minutes after the speech began.

Catastrophe

Japanese earthquake and tsunami

Date: March 11, 2011

Views per minute: 4,576,088

Notable event: A massive earthquake off the coast of Japan and the accompanying tsunami took more than 14,000 lives, caused tens of billions worth of damage, and set off a series of dramatic nuclear emergencies at several reactors in the island nation. Around 4 p.m. EST on the day of the quake, news-site traffic peaked as people searched for information about the natural disaster.

NFL Madness

New York Jets
Date: January 23, 2011

Views per minute: 4,379,108

Notable event: The games leading up to Super Bowl XLV appeared to be a big moment for Web news. Traffic peaked around 12:30 p.m. Eastern in anticipation of the Green Bay Packers facing off against the Chicago Bears, while the New York Jets got ready to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Other major news events that day included predictions for President Obama's State of the Union address on January 25.

Yes He Did

Date: November 4, 2008

Views per minute: 4,286,021

Notable event: Still ranking among major news events 2.5 years later is the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States. Traffic peaked around 11 p.m. Eastern, which was about the time the major networks were officially projecting Obama as the winner over Senator John McCain.

Almost...

Notable Web events

Despite being major news events, some stories just weren't popular enough to become one of the most highly trafficked online-news stories. Events such as the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Chilean miner rescue, and Michael Jackson's death all fell short of the top 14 online news items. "There are a lot of factors involved with why one news event might be bigger or smaller than another," says Akamai spokesperson Jennifer Donovan. "The World Cup traffic peak, for example, happened during the day when both the U.S. and Europe were in the office, and the only place to watch was online."

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