Vince McMahon could have known the fate of his renegade XFL long before it folded on May 10 just by looking at the Yahoo! Buzz Index. After bursting onto the scene with an index-leading 288 score for Feb. 4 (the day after the league opener as well as the day the L.A. Xtreme battled the San Francisco Demons, below), McMahon's baby dipped to a 32 and eighth place two weeks later and was out of the top 20 with a month left in the season. "It disappeared," says Harold Stusnick, the index's managing editor. "It was like the dip for Al Gore when he lost the election."
Receiving 1.1 billion page views each day as a worldwide search engine, Yahoo! calculates Buzz scores in five individual categories—sports, TV, music, movies and actors—and an overall category. Scores are determined by ascertaining the percentage of Yahoo! users searching for a particular subject and then multiplying that by a number (adjusted according to the day's search total) to, as the service explains, "make the number easier to read." Last Saturday the World Wrestling Federation led with a 90 score. A score of 100 is considered high. Tiger Woods attained a 330 three days after his Masters win. That figure, however, paled in comparison to Dale Earnhardt's rating on Feb. 19, the day after his death at Daytona: a staggering 1,662, easily the highest for any sports subject in the 8� months the index has been in existence. "It blew away anything we had looked at," says Stusnick.
Yahoo! can break down searches of its registered users to confirm the suspicion that, for instance, the WWF is big with the under-20 crowd. What's the most surprising trend? Women are Buzzing on Allen Iverson. How's that for an Answer?