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Friday, September 23, 2005

Pamela Anderson: patron saint of the web

In the decade since the Web's emergence, what have been people been looking for online?

According to Lycos Inc., which offered one of the Web's earliest search engines, we've put this vast, powerful, revolutionary new communications medium to work in service of information about ... Pamela Anderson.

The pinup actress topped the list of Lycos' 50 most popular search terms from September 1995 through last Saturday.

The rest of the top 10 has a few more wholesome subjects. Dragonball was No. 2, followed by Pokemon, Britney Spears, World Wrestling Entertainment, tattoos, Las Vegas, the NFL, the Sept. 11 attacks and Christmas.

There's a caveat: When Lycos tabulates its 50 top search terms every week, it excludes queries specifically for sex and other "prurient" terms, according to spokeswoman Kathy O'Reilly. But there's no denying that Anderson's presence atop the list was driven by Web users eager to see her homemade sex video with Tommy Lee several years ago, O'Reilly acknowledged.

"She's just the patron saint of the Web," O'Reilly said.