The Seattle Times just announced their web statistics for the stories of 2005. One story in 2005 was probably the most popular story EVER. Danny Westneat explains:
By tallying clicks on our Web site, we now chart the most read stories in the online edition of The Seattle Times. Software then sorts the tens of thousands of stories for 2005 and ranks them. Not by importance, impact or poetic lyricism, but by which stories compelled the most people to put finger to mouse, click, open and, presumably, read.
Which brings me back to sex with horses. The story last summer about the man who died from a perforated colon while having sex with a horse in Enumclaw was by far the year’s most read article.
What’s more, four more of the year’s 20 most clicked-upon local news stories were about the same horse-sex incident. We don’t publish our Web-traffic numbers, but take it from me — the total readership on these stories was huge.
So much so, a case can be made that the articles on horse sex are the most widely read material this paper has published in its 109-year history.
Even though sex is one of my hobbies I didn’t have an interest in this story. It wasn’t until today that I actually read the story. I’d heard about it of course but it was one of those stories that made me uncomfortable. The mental images were disturbing for me and I didn’t want to know any more details. I categorized it as a Darwin Award incident and forgot about it. The rest of you that made this story so popular; I think you need to get your own sex life–this vicarious stuff is more than just a little weird.