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Economic Woes Top Online Search Terms

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on February 25, 2009


Web tracking firm comScore, Inc. released an analysis of changes in Americans’ searching behavior resulting from the economic downturn, based on December 2008 data.

Searches for several terms related to the economic downturn showed dramatic gains during the past year. Among the most notable increases were searches relating to the deteriorating job market, including searches using the term “unemployment” (8.2 million searches) and “unemployment benefits” (748,000 searches).

Meanwhile, terms relating to housing, including “mortgage” (up 72 percent to 7.8 million searches), “bankruptcy” (up 156 percent to 2.6 million searches), and “foreclosure” (up 67 percent to 1.4 million searches) also grew strongly. And Americans, resilient as they are, are seeking ways to save money, as evidenced by the increase in the number of searches for “coupons” (up 161 percent to 19.9 million) and “discount” (up 26 percent to 7.9 million).

Search Term Total Searches (000)
Dec-2007 Dec-2008 % Change
“Coupons” 7,637 19,921 161%
“Unemployment” 2,688 8,214 206%
“Discount” 6,271 7,928 26%
“Mortgage” 4,518 7,756 72%
“Bankruptcy” 1,012 2,589 156%
“Foreclosure” 824 1,373 67%
“Unemployment Benefits” 215 748 247%

Source: comScore Marketer



BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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