Steve Irwin’s death on September 4 has triggered an enormous and emotional reaction around the world. The accidental death of the famous crocodile hunter, whose heart was punctured by a stingray sting while shooting footage for a documentary at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, not only made headline television news, but also triggered a flurry of online search activity.
According to online competitive intelligence firm Hitwise, the search term “Steve Irwin” was the second most popular search term in his home country of Australia in the four-week period between August 26 and September 23. Only the search term “ebay” received more searches in Australia during this time, and overall, over 5.2 million different search queries were recorded by Hitwise in that time period.
Google Trends shows that this surge in searches for “Steve Irwin” was not only limited to Australia. The graph below illustrates the jump in searches that occurred for the search term “Steve Irwin” in the United States after the news of his death broke. The graph for global search behavior looks very, very similar. Isn’t the power of Internet search to reflect what captures people’s minds throughout world amazing?