For the most part, Internet searches are best compared to roller coasters. They skyrocket up only to die off after the trend has worn everyone out. That’s not the case for searches that are related to vices, which leads off our first publicly released case study.
Go back to the year 2000, when most people were still adapting to the Internet and the vast majority were not taking advantages of all it’s great features. Some of the top Internet searches were sex and gambling. Fast forward to today, and the number of searches remains incredible. One would think with the amount of strangleholds put on adult webmasters and Internet pornography website operators that the search volume would go down. Not the case. “Free porn” sites have curious web surfers searching for debauchery climbing every year since 2004. (Source: Google Insights) Sure, the adult industry revenues are suffering from this, but the industry still remains in people’s minds and translates to their always-searching fingers.
Case in point number two is gambling. Online gambling is illegal in the USA (but legal in the vast majority of other countries and in fact very accepted in Europe) and the Department of Justice has shut down many of the online gambling companies and payment processors, but websites like SportsHandicapping.com continue to host platforms where bettors of all levels and enjoy reading about betting on sports. Even if people can’t bet legally on sports, that doesn’t mean they lost interest in discussing the games with others on platforms providing this service. In fact, many players take their search to the web in hopes of finding somewhere offshore to make their wagers.
The last example we have of the Internet being regulated to a point of shutdown only to find people still online feeding the beast is tobacco. Cigarette sales online are heavily regulated and limited to few jurisdictions, but that doesn’t stop people for searching for a trending alternative – electronic cigarettes. These smokeless devices are the topic of discussion in many bars, casinos, and night clubs. Their smokeless design and odor-free device is sweeping the globe and becoming very popular. We’re currently reaching out to bloggers and electronic cigarette brands as part of a feature story we’ll be running later this summer. (Interested parties can contact us).
A once-famous Wall Street mind once told us during a down economy to “sock away money in sin stocks.” Maybe he was right?