A few World Cup search insights: Is it vuvuzela or “Uwe Seeler”?

By the time the 2010 FIFA World Cup draws to a close in the second week of July, its legacy on South Africa, the African continent, and the rest of world will begin to unravel. Billions of dollars have been ploughed into infrastructure and development programmes leading up to this moment (all detailed briefly here.)

But outside of the action-packed stadia and away from the drama-filled football pitches, a few interesting things are happening in search trending. Here’s the low-down on some of the big trends so far…

The Vuvuzela

This will probably be South Africa’s biggest export to football fans the world over. In two weeks, global interest has increased by over 500% into the controversial noise-maker.

Highest interest this month so far is in Germany, probably because it sounds like the German football legend Uwe Seeler.

In fact, Reuters asked the question last year whether or not the vuvuzela would catch on in Germany because it sounded so similar to “Uwe Seeler”. The second most popular related “Rising Search” this month in Germany is “uwe seeler vuvuzela”

Twitter’s Fail Whale

Twitter is experiencing its worst month since October 2009. Some users have experienced duplicate tweets and search interest in “fail whale” has trebled.

Twitter put out this notice on 14 June: “We’re currently experiencing site availability issues resulting from the failed enhancement of a new approach to timeline caching. Our infrastructure and operations engineers are currently working to resolve this. We’ll update you soon with an ETA.” Trends were disabled on 15 June and maintenance was scheduled on 16 June. For more updates: http://status.twitter.com/


With regional interest highest in African nations compared to the rest of the world, this World Cup is shaping up to be a truly African affair compared to the previous World Cup.

“world cup” Regional Search Interest – 2006. Source: Google Insights for Search

“world cup” Regional Search Interest – 2010. Source: Google Insights for Search


ESPN was the only brand to feature in “Rising Searches” in the 2006 World Cup, and so far this year its seen a 110% increase in interest compared to the 60% increase in the last World Cup.

  • “world cup” Rising Searches – 2006. Source: Google Insights for Search
  • “world cup” Rising Searches – 2010. Source: Google Insights for Search
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