Yahoo!’s 10th Annual Year in Review Spotlights 2011’s Passing Obsessions and Perplexing Newsmakers

iPhone takes the top spot in 2011; Casey Anthony pled her way onto the list; Kim Kardashian joins the list again; and Osama bin Laden’s death captivated the world

SUNNYVALE, Calif.--()--Today Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), the premier digital media company, announced the 10th anniversary edition of its Year in Review (, the highly-anticipated annual look-back that identifies the top stories and trends of the year based on nearly 700 million monthly unique visitorsi activity on the network and billions of consumer searches. The annual look-back of aggregated visitor activity is a gauge for worldwide interests. The 2011 Year in Review is available in 17 versions including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Philippines, Spain, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United Statesii.

The top search term of 2011 didn't go to a person or a news event, but to a technological marvel. The iPhone led the 2011 search queries, bypassing a reality TV star’s marriage and pending divorce, a notorious criminal defendant, and America's most wanted terrorist.

“The iPhone transcended gadget status,” says Vera Chan, senior editor and Web trend analyst at Yahoo!. “The device helped facilitate political movements around the world, and embodied the vision of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Fueled by news that he had stepped down as CEO in August, and then that he had passed away in October, searches for Steve Jobs skyrocketed on Yahoo!. By their nature, breaking news stories don't always crack the Top 10 list. People don't have to search for details they get in the news, and it's rare that a news story ends up on the overall list. Yet this year, Casey Anthony, Osama bin Laden, and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami all figured into the top ranking.”

Women in pop culture dominated the Top 10 list. Kim Kardashian, who first appeared in 2009 filling in the Paris Hilton celebutante role, jumped to No. 3. Jennifer Lopez cracked the Top 10 after a nine-year absence, thanks to her "American Idol"-fueled comeback. And singer Katy Perry reaped musical nominations and either tied or broke record sales.

Top Searches on Yahoo! in 2011

1. iPhone
2. Casey Anthony
3. Kim Kardashian
4. Katy Perry
5. Jennifer Lopez
6. Lindsay Lohan
7. American Idol
8. Jennifer Aniston
9. Japan earthquake
10. Osama bin Laden

For 10 years, Yahoo!’s Year in Review has analyzed its aggregate insights to determine the top stories, compelling newsmakers, and viral fads that provide a snapshot of the year. What’s notable is how the Year in Review has evolved, going from a “list of lists” to an interactive editorial site. The list of top trends has also changed: from the PlayStation 2, which topped the list 10 years ago, to our new favorite toy, the iPhone, our unending fascination with technology is confirmed. And, although Britney Spears may have reigned supreme for four straight years, new obsessions have taken over. This year the former pop princess did not even crack the Top 10 searches.

Look Back: Top Searches on Yahoo! Over the Past 10 Years

With the iPhone topping the list this year, it should come as no surprise that in 2011, consumers wanted information on the go. They searched on Yahoo! through their favorite mobile devices to connect with MLB scores, learn the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, see where Hurricane Irene would hit land, and even make sure they could beat their friends in the latest game of Scrabble.

Top Mobile Searches on Yahoo! in 2011

1. iPhone 5
2. Powerball
3. MLB
4. Scrabble cheat
5. Casey Anthony
6. Hurricane Irene 2011
7. Kim Kardashian
8. Translator
9. Amy Winehouse
10. May 21, 2011 Rapture

While the Top 10 overall list focuses on related keywords, the Top News list involves a wider range of searches, and includes an analysis of the most-read news stories on Yahoo!. The death of a monster who haunted a generation, a record magnitude earthquake that swept away burning towns, the trial of the summer, a sudden death, and a royal wedding, all made the Top News list this year.

Top News Searches and Stories on Yahoo! in 2011

1. Casey Anthony trial
2. The royal wedding
3. Death of Osama bin Laden
4. Japan earthquake and tsunami
5. Amanda Knox trial
6. Death of Amy Winehouse
7. Arab Spring
8. Libya/Ghadafi
9. Arizona shooting
10. Unemployment

The Top Obsessions list combines a fevered and sustained burst of searches with a viral fixation. In 2011, topping the list required a bit of tiger blood. But, before “tiger blood” cracked pop-culture vernacular, “tiger mom” was already a full-blown meme, thanks to Amy Chua's memoir, "The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.” And when tigers weren’t enough for us, we turned to birds -- Angry Birds, which was downloaded millions of times, decorated a thousand birthday cakes, and became the year's hot Halloween costume.

Top Searched Obsessions on Yahoo! in 2011

1. Charlie Sheen
2. The Rapture
3. “Friday” (Rebecca Black)
4. Mortgage Rates
5. Extreme Couponing
6. Angry Birds
7. Planking
8. Game of Thrones
9. Government Shutdown
10. Tiger Mom

Last year, searches reflected a still-skeptical country, as people continued to vie for jobs and unemployment topped the financial searches. This year, a bit of optimism: Unemployment searches dropped to No. 9, and instead of foreclosures, mortgage rates piqued consumer interest.

Top Financial Searches on Yahoo! in 2011

1. Dow Jones Index
2. Gold prices
4. Gas prices
5. Oil prices
6. Coupons
7. Silver prices
8. Sallie Mae
9. Unemployment
10. Mortgage Rates

Amid all the global uprisings and threats of domestic government shutdowns, we had 22 days to be utterly absorbed by the United States battling Japan on a soccer field in Frankfurt -- and we were happy about the maiden win for the women soccer players who represented a nation recovering from a record earthquake and tsunami. But, when it came to individual athletes, Danica Patrick drove to the top of the leader-board, and tennis’s leading ladies served up a platter of upsets and buzz-worthy outbursts.

Top Searched Athletes on Yahoo! in 2011

1. Danica Patrick
2. Tiger Woods
3. Manny Pacquiao
4. Maria Sharapova
5. Serena Williams
6. Kris Humphries
7. Hope Solo
8. Kobe Bryant
9. Lamar Odom
10. Caroline Wozniacki

The economy, health care, and unemployment continue to dominate political debates, especially as we move into a presidential election year. However the issues were often overshadowed by controversy and scandal. From John Edwards’s trial to Herman Cain’s sexual harassment allegations and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s illegitimate child, the activities of politicians across the country were under intense scrutiny in 2011.

Top Politician Searches on Yahoo! in 2011

1. Sarah Palin
2. Barack Obama
3. Michele Bachmann
4. John Edwards
5. Arnold Schwarzenegger
6. Hillary Clinton
7. Herman Cain
8. Ron Paul
9. Rick Perry
10. Jesse Ventura

With new music rising to the top of the charts every week, searches on Yahoo! for music lyrics offer a glimpse into the songs that really seem to resonate with listeners.

Top Music Lyric Searches on Yahoo! in 2011

1. Super Bass -- Nicki Minaj
2. The Lazy Song -- Bruno Mars
3. Grenade -- Bruno Mars
4. Rolling in the Deep -- Adele
5. Someone Like You -- Adele
6. Look at Me Now -- Chris Brown
7. Born This Way -- Lady Gaga
8. You Belong With Me -- Taylor Swift
9. Pumped Up Kicks -- Foster The People
10. Just the Way You Are -- Bruno Mars

Movies and junk food go hand in hand. In 2011 people were glued to the big screen watching the magic of Harry Potter and the mayhem of “The Hangover”. And move over cupcakes. There are some new treats on the block.

Top Movie Searches on Yahoo! in 2011

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
2. Twilight: Breaking Dawn
3. Transformers 3
4. Tron Legacy
5. Black Swan
6. X-Men: First Class
7. Captain America
8. Just Go With It
9. The Hangover, Part II
10. Fast Five

Top Dessert Searches on Yahoo! in 2011

1. Ice cream
2. Dippin’ Dots
3. Cake pops
4. Peanut butter cookies
5. Chocolate cake
6. Peach cobbler
7. Banana bread
8. Sugar cookies
9. Rice Krispie treats
10. Girl Scout cookies

What’s ‘Your Best Shot’ from 2011?

Yahoo! is asking people to go to Flickr and share a look into their own year through the “Your Best Shot 2011” group. Consumers can submit their best photo of the year -- an image that represents their year, a turning point in their life, or just their favorite shot -- and share with other members on Flickr, and possibly the broader community on the Flickr blog. To join the group and submit a photo, please visit:

For more about the Yahoo! 2011 Year in Review and other top searches, go to or search for "2011 Year in Review" on

Additional Yahoo! Top Search lists available to media:

  • Top searched scandals
  • Top searched farewells
  • Top searched health symptoms
  • Top searched recipes
  • Top searched diets
  • Top searched weddings
  • Top searched pregnancies
  • Top searched questions
  • Top searched fashions
  • Top searched TV shows
  • Top searched gadgets/tech toys

About the Yahoo! Year in Review Methodology

To develop the Yahoo! Year in Review, our editors analyze Yahoo! Search queries based on a number of factors, including absolute volume and the growth from previous periods, to see which themes and trends bubble to the surface. Individuals and their Search queries always remain anonymous.

About Yahoo!

Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) is the premier digital media company, creating deeply personal digital experiences that keep more than half a billion people connected to what matters most to them, across devices and around the globe. That's how we deliver your world, your way. And Yahoo!'s unique combination of Science + Art + Scale connects advertisers to the consumers who build their businesses. For more information, visit the pressroom ( or the company's blog, Yodel Anecdotal (

Yahoo! is the trademark and/or registered trademark of Yahoo! Inc.

All other names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.


i comScore Media Metrix, Worldwide, September 2011

ii Yahoo! en Espanol


Yahoo! Global Communications
Carolyn Clark, 1-917-324-7206
Melissa Lang, 1-708-738-6880


Yahoo! Global Communications
Carolyn Clark, 1-917-324-7206
Melissa Lang, 1-708-738-6880