It wasn’t just Michael Jackson’s death that made headlines on June 26th 2009. Because of a massive traffic surge from people wanting to find out about the King of Pop’s demise, the internet nearly crashed and died as well. Usually there are about 2 million/minute net users around the world, and the day of MJ’s death this shot up to nearly 4.2 million/minute.
As millions of people everywhere logged on to find out more about Jacko’s death, internet giant Google News almost crashed, incorrectly interpreting the mass of requests as a “denial of service” attack. It even temporarily blocked “Michael Jackson” search requests.
Michael Jackson’s own home page could barely keep up with the traffic, after his death was announced. After a while the site’s links were taken out, with only a photo of Jackson against a red background with the caption: “King of Pop” remaining.
Another website rendered useless during the internet frenzy was London’s O2 concert hall site, where Michael Jackson was going to start his comeback tour next month.
On the Twitter side of things, Tweets shot up to 5000/minute barely an hour after the first report of MJ’s death. It generated the most tweets/second since Obama’s electoral victory in November. Twitter was only briefly affected by the madness, as its engineers worked double quick to stop the site from failing.
MJ’s death unfortunately opened up a golden opportunity for cyber-thieves. One spam campaign tried to lure visitors to a malicious site (Beatz radio) where a fake Michael.Jackson.videos.scr screensaver was hosted while another originated from legitimate email messages by trying to capture other emails.
So turns out Michael Jackson was almost bigger than the internet! He was probably the only person on earth who could come close to this claim.