Jackson Death results in News, Ad Server Meltdown

Dennis Faas's picture

According to reports, the death of Michael Jackson, and the online whirlwind it created, helped crash some major news sources. In addition, there have been incidents where online wrongdoers have sought to take advantage in Jackson's death, with both hacking and spam related to the subject.

Google News Unresponsive

Google News was inaccessible for many users for 25 minutes on Thursday afternoon, replaced by a message stating: "We're sorry, but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now."

Google has now confirmed this was an error, and that it was caused by the system being so overloaded that it assumed it must be a deliberate attempt to crash the site. (Source: cnet.com)

Sluggish Ads Slow Down Sites

Meanwhile, many news sites were much slower than usual, with one firm noting a slowdown in the average loading time from four to nine seconds. Researchers Keynote Systems said this was mainly down to badly designed sites which waited for third-party content such as advertisements to appear before displaying the whole page.

Keynote advises firms to redesign their sites to load immediately, leaving a blank space for third-party content which is slower to load. (Source: venturebeat.com)

Jackson Death Big News

The news story appears to have been the biggest event of its kind in Wikipedia history. In the hour after Jackson's death was confirmed, just over a million people visited the singer's entry, accounting for more than ten per cent of the site's entire traffic.

Throughout Friday, at least 5.6 million visited the site, more than double the number who visited Barack Obama's page last election day.

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