Kazaa: The Most Searched Site

Tina Reilly
SYDNEY, Australia -- As the year dwindles to a close and the usual end-of-year stories and round-ups emerge, Yahoo came out with its annual report this week on the most heavily searched words over the Internet, and compared with popular search terms like 'sex,' 'porn,' and 'boobs,' file-sharing network Kazaa took the cake.

Kazaa was also recently named one the most popular peer-to-peer (P2P) networks in Europe and is considered an undisputed leader among other file-sharing companies by Nilsen/NetRatings.

According to Yahoo, more Internet surfers looked for information about Kazaa than anything else on the net in 2003, an indication that despite efforts on behalf of the entertainment industry to stifle the exchange of free, copyrighted files over the Internet, the most popular maker of file-sharing software is still considered number one.

Close runners-ups were 'Harry Potter,' 'American Idol,' 'Britney Spears,' ' World Wrestling Entertainment,' '50 Cent,' 'Eminem,' 'Nascar, and 'Christina Aguilera.'

Harry Potter, Britney Spears, and World Wrestling Entertainment have all maintained a three-year run on Yahoo's top ten list of search terms.

Up-and-coming celebrity and potential porn star Paris Hilton was also listed among the top ten word searches on Yahoo. Hilton was offered a contract with Vivid Entertainment this week as an amateur adult star on the heels of her appearance in a homemade sex video with ex-boyfriend Rick Solomon. Although the young heiress has not yet responded to Vivid's offer.

Yahoo's report also stated that among the most searched news stories on the Internet were subjects pertaining to Saddam Hussein, cloning, and Iraq. Additionally, mobile ring tones topped the charts in terms of the most popular technology terms. Close runner-ups were digital cameras and mobile phones.

Yahoo did not include adult entertainment terms in its yearly study, although several months ago Alexa Research found that the single most popular term used at most search engines is 'sex.'

According to Alexa, users searched for 'sex' more than other terms such as 'games,' 'travel,' 'music,' 'jokes,' 'cars,' 'weather,' 'health,' and 'jobs,' all combined.

The Alexa study also found that "pornography/porno" was the fourth most searched subject on the Internet.

Just last week, a Dutch Supreme Court ruled that Kazaa could not be held liable for content traded over its network.

The Dutch Supreme Court upheld a March 2002 ruling in which an appeals court ruled in favor of Fasttrack, the Amsterdam-based firm that first developed Kazaa and was later acquired by Australia-based Sharman Networks.

The Dutch court is the highest European body to rule on the issue of P2P liability and rejected the argument that Kazaa facilitated copyright infringement and that future versions of its software should include a block on copyrighted content.