Googlers show pathological thirst for iPhone news

Few hunting for information on the Web are as obsessed as those searching for news about the iPhone.

According to a study conducted by comScore, Inc., a Web traffic measuring service based in Reston, Va., 1.3 million people conducted 6.9 million searches for iPhone-related terms in the month of April – a full month before Steve Jobs announced the iPhone 3G at the Worldwide Developers Conference.


Other topics may generate more searches overall, but the folks digging for iPhone nuggets search more frequently.

To see the obsession, you have to do the math. The iPhone numbers cited above work out to about 5.3 searches per person.


By comparison, 2 million people conducted 3.8 million searches for troubled pop star Britney Spears in April – less than two per person, according to a post on the Los Angeles Times Technology blog. Searches for Barack Obama in April equaled about 2.5 per person.

I can vouch for the extraordinary degree of interest in all things iPhone. The Google Analytics data I use to track traffic to my blog shows that posts on the iPhone draw far higher levels of traffic than any other topic.

And items on the iPhone also draw much more international traffic, sometimes as high as 50 percent.

Four of the top six most viewed posts on my blog since September (when I started tracking the data) have been on iPhone topics. And of those four posts, two were on unlocking the iPhone.

Information regarding unlocking iPhones remains of perpetual interest. A post I wrote in November speculating on whether Apple would eventually relent and sell iPhones unlocked has generated continuous traffic.

A post I wrote nearly a month ago after Jobs' WWDC keynote is still getting hundreds of hits a day, with the numbers increasing daily as we approach the iPhone 3G's July 11 launch. It's crazy.

But it's not quite clear what these iPhone-obsessed people are looking for. While they come in large numbers, they often leave quickly. My best guess is that a majority of this group is seeking instructions on how to unlock the iPhone, which they don't find on my blog.

Although it's difficult to draw any definitive conclusions about what this abnormal craving for iPhone information might mean to sales, I think it's safe to interpret it as a positive indicator. Apple would be wise to keep those iPhone factories humming.