Yahoo! Canada

Yahoo! Canada

December 01, 2008 06:05 ET

Popular Role-Playing Game RuneScape Tops NHL as Canada's Most Searched Online Subject in 2008

Online Obsessions Revealed: Yahoo! Canada 2008 Buzz Index Ranks Canada's Favourite Stars, Sports, Scandals and More - from UFOs and Miley Cyrus to Britney Spears and the Stock Market

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 1, 2008) - In a shocking upset, the NHL, the top ranked search term for the past two years, falls to the number two spot on The Yahoo! Canada 2008 Buzz Index behind newly-crowned winner RuneScape, an online game where players create avatar adventurers who embark on a series of quests in fantasy worlds ranging from dangerous castle dungeons to rugged mountains filled with monsters.

Now in its fourth year, Yahoo! Canada's annual compilation of results explores the search habits of millions of Yahoo! Canada users, and provides unique insights into consumers' interests and emerging trends. RuneScape (Rune-Scape) is recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's most popular, free MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) and has more than 10 million registered users.

"It's the rise of the mass-market internet hobby," says Dr. Kim Blank, pop culture expert and professor of literature and cultural studies at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. "Millions of people belong to this virtual community where they can accumulate powers, develop skills, and partner with other players in order to continue their online fantasy quest in real-time. RuneScape allows you to control your own narrative, where you get to be the hero, and this is a big part of the attraction."

Sports still score with Canadians as UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) makes its debut on the top 10, taking ninth spot overall. A mixed martial arts league now sanctioned in select parts of North America, the one-time fringe sport has gone mainstream. With the NHL solidly in the number two spot, WWE takes sixth, and NASCAR comes in eighth.

Stars and scandals rule as top 10 newcomer Miley Cyrus and pop princess Britney Spears place fifth and seventh respectively. This is a demotion for Britney who came in second last year. The third place winner for the last two years, American Idol, rounds out the top ten, taking tenth spot this year.

Service Canada takes third place - could Canadians be getting passports to check out Britney or Miley's next concert, or are we just doing our taxes? The TSX comes in fourth - suggesting Canadians may be worried about the economy and keeping an even closer eye on their stocks.

Top 10 Canadian Searches in 2008:
 1. RuneScape                      6. WWE
 2. NHL                            7. Britney Spears
 3. Service Canada                 8. NASCAR
 4. TSX                            9. UFC
 5. Miley Cyrus                   10. American Idol

"The Yahoo! Canada 2008 Buzz Index reflects what Canadians cared most about in 2008. While Britney and the NHL make consistent top 10 appearances, RuneScape and UFC are interesting newcomers," says Peter Harris, Senior Front Page and Buzz Editor, Yahoo! Canada. "Every year is different, and these terms help to showcase our top trends of the times. In 2007, Perez and Paris Hilton made the list, and in 2006 the FIFA World Cup came in second. It's also fun to predict what will make it on the next list - Is the 2010 World Cup a shoe-in?"

When it comes to our U.S. cousins, Britney not only makes a strong comeback, but she dominates, taking the number one spot for the fourth year in a row. Sarah Palin is nowhere in sight, but Barack Obama makes third place his own. It's really the famous ladies who shine in the U.S., with Britney, Miley, Jessica Alba, Lindsay and Angelina taking half of the top 10 spots. Rounding out the U.S. top five is online phenomenon RuneScape - In a RuneScape fantasy world of ice and snow, would Canada beat the U.S.?

"We are extremely pleased that RuneScape is one of the most searched subjects in both Canada and the U.S.," says Geoff Iddison, CEO Jagex Ltd. "After seven years the game is more popular than ever and we are looking forward to many more people joining RuneScape in 2009."

Top 10 U.S. Searches in 2008:
 1. Britney Spears                 6. Jessica Alba
 2. WWE                            7. Naruto
 3. Barack Obama                   8. Lindsay Lohan
 4. Miley Cyrus                    9. Angelina Jolie
 5. RuneScape                     10. American Idol


In addition to the overall top 10 search results, The Yahoo! Canada 2008 Buzz Index also compiled the following top tens for 2008. To access the entire Index, please visit: or

Top 10 News Searches:

The votes are in! Canadians were clearly more interested in the U.S. election than our own. Between bungled TV interviews and Saturday Night Live appearances, Sarah Palin dominated news searches on Yahoo! Canada. Barack Obama wins the presidency, but follows Palin when it comes to online searches. Canadian Elections makes the top five, a solid turnout in a political year dominated by "Joe Six Packs" and "Caribou Barbie."

1. Sarah Palin                     6. Couillard-Bernier Scandal
2. Barack Obama                    7. Greyhound Beheading
3. Philippines                     8. Hurricanes Gustav and Ike
4. Iran                            9. Maple Leaf Foods Recall
5. Canadian Elections             10. China

Top 10 Entertainment Searches:

Miley Cyrus and her alter ego Hannah Montana both make the entertainment top 10, with Miley topping the list. Has Britney been dethroned by a new pop princess? Will she come back stronger than ever in 2009? Canadians exhibit their wide variety of interests, with both teen sensations the Jonas Brothers and The Young and The Restless also making the list.

1. Miley Cyrus                     6. Megan Fox
2. Britney Spears                  7. Hannah Montana
3. American Idol                   8. Jonas Brothers
4. Rihanna                         9. Young And The Restless
5. Lindsay Lohan                  10. Jessica Alba

Top 10 Scandals:

In the number one spot, teen queen Miley Cyrus took a page out of the "How To Create A Hollywood Scandal 101" book with racy photos and a revealing Vanity Fair shoot that she apologized to fans for doing. And who can forget Britney's early 2008 forced hospitalization after a custody stand-off at her house where she was driven away in an ambulance?

Art imitates life as David Duchovny, the former X-files star and current star of Showtime hit "Californication," enters rehab for sex addition. With his wife Tea Leoni coming in tenth on the scandals list, maybe we wondered what she thought about the whole thing?

Stepping away from high pop culture and celebdom, Canadians had our own homegrown scandal with Maxime Bernier and Julie Couillard - a politician and an accused biker gal shacking up - one gets fired, and the other one writes a book.

1. Miley Cyrus                     6. Amy Winehouse
2. Britney Spears                  7. Edison Chen
3. Lindsay Lohan                   8. Ashley Alexandra Dupre
4. Lil Wayne                       9. Shelley Malil
5. Julie Couillard                10. Tea Leoni

Top 10 Financial Topics of The Year:

From filling our gas tanks, to filling our shopping bags with cross-border deals, to the current economic downturn, it's been a volatile year for shoppers, drivers, and investors. With an eye on their investments, Canadians keep a close watch on the TSX and blue-chip Canadian companies RIM and BCE, with BCE's privatization plans continuing to make headlines throughout 2008.

1. TSX                             6. Canadian Dollar
2. Currency Converter              7. Gas Prices
3. Bank of Canada                  8. RIM
4. Exchange Rates                  9. AIG
5. Gold Price                     10. BCE

Top 10 TV Shows:

Canadians still love Ryan, Paula, Randy and Simon as American Idol is the top-searched TV show in Canada, while Ben Mulroney and the Canadian Idols have to settle for sixth spot. Miley Cyrus's Hannah Montana makes another solid showing on The Yahoo! Canada 2008 Buzz Index. Canadians also went online to find out which B-List stars and everyday hopefuls were dancing their way to the top as Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance make the list.

1. American Idol                   6. Canadian Idol
2. Hannah Montana                  7. Days Of Our Lives
3. Young And The Restless          8. So You Think You Can Dance
4. Oprah                           9. Naruto
5. Dancing With The Stars         10. Lost

Top 10 Athletes:

Even with 14 gold medals, and a world record for winning the most medals ever at a single Olympics, with eight in Beijing this summer, Michael Phelps couldn't beat out soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo as Yahoo! Canada's most searched athlete. Soccer veteran David Beckham makes the list, while tennis star Maria Sharapova, Olympic swimmer and model Amanda Beard, and IndyCar driver Danica Patrick represent the female contingent on the list.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo               6. Danica Patrick
2. Michael Phelps                  7. Tiger Woods
3. Sidney Crosby                   8. Maria Sharapova
4. Manny Pacquiao                  9. Kimbo Slice
5. David Beckham                  10. Amanda Beard

Top 10 Games and Gadgets:

Stocking stuffers like iPhones, iPods and Blackberrys will no doubt be popular, with all three making Yahoo! Canada's top 10 games and gadgets list for 2008. With RuneScape leading the way, online role-playing and adventure games like Dragon Fable and Adventure Quest don't require more than a click of a mouse in order to head off into lands unknown.

1. RuneScape                       6. iPod
2. World of Warcraft               7. Blackberry
3. Text Twist                      8. Adventure Quest
4. iPhone                          9. Manhunt
5. Dragon Fable                   10. Gaia

Top 10 Odds and Ends:
 1. UFOs (various stories and sightings)
 2. Bigfoot (alleged dead Bigfoot body turns out to be a rubber suit)
 3. Chupacabra (mysterious creature found)
 4. Argyria (ingesting sliver turns people blue)
 5. Tree Man (mysterious condition gives man bark-like growths)
 6. Pregnant Man (transgendered man Thomas Beatie has baby)
 7. Giant Squid
 8. Svetlana Pankratova (holds Guinness World Record as world's leggiest
 9. Freak Waves (aka "rogue waves," giant waves that come out of nowhere)
 10. Spencer Tunick (photographer who shoots crowds of naked people)

For More Buzz!

To see all of this year's top search lists, please visit: or

Additional categories to those included in this news release:

- Top Lifestyle Searches

- Top Music Artists Searches

- Top Sports

- Top Toy Searches

- Top Actors/Celebrity Searches

- Top Canadian People (a mix of music, actors, sports)

- Top People Searched

- Top Sports Events

- Top Overall Sports

- Top Political Searches

About Yahoo! Canada

Yahoo! Canada Co. is a leading Internet destination that provides online products and services to meet the needs of Canadians and offers a range of tools and marketing solutions for businesses to connect with Internet users. Yahoo! Canada services Canadians in both English and in French through its sites, and In Canada, Yahoo! sites were visited by more than 16 million Canadians in October 2008 (comScore Media Metrix, October, 2008). Yahoo! Canada is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario.

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