Miley Cyrus, notorious trials and Obamacare top online searches for 2013

(BPT) – While election politicking dominated the top 10 searches of 2012, this year people were a little starry-eyed when it comes to online searching. Miley Cyrus (No. 1) came into our lives like a wrecking ball and dethroned Kim Kardashian (No. 2) to become Yahoo’s most searched person in 2013.

Top searches on Yahoo in 2013:

1. Miley Cyrus
2. Kim Kardashian
3. Kate Upton
4. Minecraft
5. Selena Gomez
6. Obamacare (Affordable Care Act)
7. Amanda Bynes
8. Jodi Arias
9. iphone 5
10. Justin Bieber

“In past years, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton dominated our lists,” says Vera Chan, Yahoo Web trends analyst and senior editor who oversees the Yahoo Year in Review. “They started off as the girl next door and the It Girl, before the trains wrecked. Celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian have taken up their slots, but they’re savvier in controlling their image and making sure we sit up and take notice.” The twerk — which helped land the term into Yahoo’s obsessions list — wasn’t Cyrus’ only move. Right after the VMAs, she poked fun at her own image on “Saturday Night Live” to show she was in on her own joke.

Kardashian’s pregnancy, divorce, and engagement guaranteed the reality star a continued place in the Top 10 (she’s been a regular since 2009), although even giving birth to Kanye West’s daughter North wasn’t enough to keep her top pole position.

Information, released by Yahoo, noted an exception to the star-domminated list was Obamacare. “Ironically, the government shutdown, which had been designed to defund Obamacare, may have been its biggest publicity stunt,” says Chan. Searches averaged their highest during the 16-day shutdown, which also coincided with the website’s launch.

The notoriety surrounding the murder trial of Jodi Arias thrust the defendant into the Top 10. The iPhone 5, which ranked second in 2012 despite not even being out yet, ironically fell to the ninth slot when the real thing finally emerged. Online gaming phenomenon Minecraft comes in at fourth.

Top 10 news stories

A quick scan of the news stories reveals a wide breadth of domestic and international issues: Obamacare (second), the Boston Marathon bombings (third), the birth of Great Britain’s  royal baby (fourth), Syria civil war (sixth), North Korea missile threats (seventh) and the papal transition (ninth) made the list. Surprisingly, despite the dialogue about race relations, crime, and gun control that the George Zimmerman murder trial engendered, it was the Jodi Arias trial that took the No. 1 spot.

What didn’t quite make the Top 10s may also be equally intriguing. The government shutdown lasted 16 days in October, but a civic paralysis commanded the national conversation. “It was much ado about doing nothing,” Chan observes. Besides checking the status of the “government shutdown,” people also looked up furloughs, sequestration, fiscal cliffs, the players involved, and of course what was open. Had the shutdown lasted longer than 16 days the phrase would’ve cracked the Top 10.


Twerking makes the list of America’s web obsessions, but unlike Gangnam Style, people just wanted to know what the heck it was.

Television shows like “Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead” and “Duck Dynasty” (which tops the list) dominated. “The mass audiences of broadcast days are gone, but a lot of people think we’re in a golden age,” Chan says. “And they’ve long been on cable networks and now, of course, on outlets like Netflix and Amazon. We hosted a dating show parody ‘Burning Love,’ which got nominated for an Emmy.”

The “Fifty Shades of Gray” obsession extended to casting this year, which saw at least one star drop out because of fan outcry, although he attributed that to scheduling. Other obsessions included apps like Snapchat and Bitstrips, the Rainbow Loom toy that takes the Silly Bandz craze into craft mode, and the selfie.

Other takeaways of 2013, identified in the Yahoo Year in Review, which launched Dec. 3, include gay milestones, the year’s biggest trials, viral photos, science discoveries and hoaxes, and what Yahoo’s calling the WTH moments, with no less than Dennis Rodman leading the diplomatic charge. People can find original videos, slick slideshows and big-picture analyses from Yahoo News writers on

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