May 02, 2011, 1:36 PM — Not surprisingly, news late Sunday night that U.S. special forces assassinated al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden caused a massive surge in Internet traffic, according to content delivery network Akamai.
CNNMoney.com reports that Akamai recorded a peak of "more than 4.1 million page views per (minute) on the news websites supported and tracked" by Akamai.
That's not an absolute number because, as CNNMoney.com explains, Akamai "delivers about 20% of the Internet's content." But it's certainly representative of the Internet whole.
Traffic spiked Sunday at 11:30 p.m., as President Obama was beginning a news conference announced on short notice, Akamai said.
Given the 10-year hunt for bin Laden and the emotional reaction on the streets Sunday night and early Monday morning, you'd think the 4.12 million news page views per minute peak might be the most ever recorded by Akamai.
Not even close. Check out this link to see Akamai's Net Usage Index, which ranks highest peaks based on total page views per minute, to see the corresponding events driving traffic.
Fourteen higher traffic peaks have been recorded by Akamai's Net Usage Index since its inception on Aug. 18, 2005.
By far the highest peak (10.4 million PVs per minute) came on June 24, 2010, during simultaneous World Cup qualifying matches and the longest ever Wimbledon tennis match.
Indeed, four of the five peak PVs per minute recorded by Akamai came during or immediately after World Cup and/or European Cup soccer (OK, football) games.
Akamai's current No. 6 peak (5.4 million PVs per minute) occurred during Friday morning's royal wedding coverage.
The top-ranking non-sports and non-fluff-generated Internet traffic spike occurred last Nov. 2, during the U.S. midterm elections, when Akamai recorded a peak of 5.67 million PVs per minute, the fourth-highest total.
Akamai's No. 7 peak came on Feb. 2 (4.95 million PVs per minute), during political violence in Egypt.
The oldest peak listed -- and the only one that didn't occur this year or in 2010 -- came on Nov. 4, 2008, when Obama was elected president of the U.S. That event helped generate 4.3 million PVs per minute, which ranks that traffic peak at No. 14, just ahead of Sunday night's bin Laden spike.