- 26 Jun 09, 15:55 GMT
So how big a web event was the death of Michael Jackson - and how did the internet cope with the strain?
There's a lot of hype around - and precious little hard information - but it's a fair bet that the global nature of his fame, and the sudden nature of his untimely death will have produced huge traffic around the world wide web to certain sites.
As Maggie Shiels reported earlier, the traffic was on such a scale that even Google News struggled to cope, and a number of sites - notably, TMZ which broke the story - were unavailable at times.
There are some statistics around - Hitwise tells me that Twitter had its biggest day ever yesterday, and it's virtually certain that the record will be broken again today. Websites like this one are seeing traffic far above normal levels, and our article on Michael Jackson's death could well end up as the most-read story in the history of the BBC News website by the end of the day.
But did the internet actually buckle? Well, there was some strain - but it seems to have come through well.
In the United States, a company called Keynote, which monitors internet performance, says popular news sites showed marked slowdowns for three hours from about 2230 BST: "The average speed for downloading news items doubled from less than four seconds to almost nine seconds," said Shawn White from Keynote. "During the same period, the average availability of sites dropped from almost 100% to 86%."
But guess what: in Europe overnight, there was no spike in internet traffic. Interoute, which operates Europe's largest fibre optic voice and data network, sent me graphs (see below) showing traffic through the three key internet exchanges in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and London. At all three exchanges, traffic was either around the same as normal overnight, or, in London's case, actually a little lower.
So what's going on? Well for one thing, the kind of people who were online late at night may well have decided to leave their computers and turn on the television for the breaking news. Then there's the fact that much of the increasing traffic across the internet in recent years has been in the form of web video, whereas news of Michael Jackson's death was spread through less bandwidth-heavy social networking and news sites.
Jonathan Brown of Interoute told me: "The 140 characters in a Twitter message doesn't really take up a lot of internet traffic. When you have something like Barack Obama's inauguration - a continuous streaming video coming from one destination which everyone is going to - then you really see a big spike in traffic."
So individual sites may have struggled for a while to cope with a big surge in traffic. But an internet which is gradually adapting to handle vast amounts of video did not come close to buckling.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites