William Beutler on Wikipedia

The Vuvuzela Moment

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on June 14, 2010 at 8:40 am by William Beutler

Since the start of the World Cup last week, there has been no avoiding soccer — aka football, futbol, or as Wikipedia has it, Association football — and no avoiding the giant mosquito buzz sound of those damned horns. Those damned horns have a name: the Vuvuzela. The controversy surrounding them and whether they may be banned is getting a lot of attention on Google and, as a function of its #1 search result status for the word, Wikipedia. Here’s what Wikipedia traffic to the Vuvuzela article looks like right now:

Traffic to Vuvuzela Wikipedia article in June 2010

Traffic to Vuvuzela Wikipedia article in June 2010

This tracks pretty well with what Google Insights is seeing at the moment, although it’s interesting to note that Google still shows an exponential curve while Wikipedia’s numbers (which I trust more) have started to fall off a bit:

Searches for Vuvuzela on Google in June 2010

Searches for Vuvuzela on Google in June 2010

Although the World Cup is not nearly as popular in the U.S. as other countries, I was surprised, upon looking closer at the analytics, that American Googlers do not represent a significant percentage. Given the presumed uptick in U.S. interest in the World Cup this year, the large size of the American search market and U.S. media buzz around the horn (a sound metaphorically not dissimilar from the vuvuzela itself) this comes as some small surprise. In fact, nearly all of the searches are occurring in South Africa — whence they originate and where you’d think most people wouldn’t need to look it up — or Europe, none of them primarily English-speaking countries. Here’s the list:

1. Johannesburg, South Africa
2. Parow, South Africa
3. Pretoria, South Africa
4. Cape Town, South Africa
5. Lisbon, Portugal
6. Amsterdam, Netherlands
7. Hamburg, Germany
8. Rotterdam, Netherlands
9. Cologne, Germany
10. Frankfurt Am Main, Germany

So who is searching for information about the vuvuzela in the United States? Here’s that list, by state / district:

1. Virginia
2. California
3. District of Columbia
4. New York
5. Georgia
6. Massachusetts
7. Washington
8. New Jersey
9. Texas
10. Pennsylvania

If you ever wanted a list of which U.S. states are most closely following the World Cup (assuming that more causally-interested Americans may be Googling “World Cup”) then here you go. As a resident of Washington, DC, I can say that the MLS team D.C. United is sort of the Yankees of U.S. professional soccer and unusually popular here relative to the rest of the country, and California is home to the L.A. Galaxy, where Mr. Posh, David Beckham, plays (I think still?).

Meanwhile, my co-workers and I will keep the games on in the background (currently: a scintillating 0-0 tie between Japan and Cameroon) and we’ll be keeping it on mute.

  1. “Since the start of the World Cup last week, there has been no avoiding soccer — aka football, futbol, or as Wikipedia has it, Association football”

    Well – for this there is only one answer



    And that vuvuzela – on many “not small, not big” wikipedia they was created in that year/month.

  2. I can’t wait until hand-egg starts again in the fall!

  3. Yep. And every other than USA english and nonenglish country don`t must wait for fall. They can wath Word Cup now. What word cup is in american football/hand-egg ? Even in rugby there is Word Cup. So its like American say “hey – we don`t want to play in the same game as in every other place in the world – we will take rugby, change something and will say that this is new game” :>

    One question – why on en.wiki (english – not american wiki) is soccer + footbal not football + american footbal ? As i remember probably there was some fight and Americans win. But have you links to that vote ?

  4. On en.wiki the two articles are called “American football” and “Association football”; while I am sure a lot of discussion went into this end result, there’s a FAQ on the Talk page for Association football (it’s near the top, you have to click to expand it) which explains the thinking behind the naming.

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