"Even though Colbert's performance 'landed with a thud' among the live audience, a clip of Colbert at the dinner became an overnight sensation, turning into a viral video that spread across numerous Web sites in various forms, with the sites that offered the video seeing massive increases in their traffic.
According to CNET's News.com site, Colbert's speech became 'one of the Internet's hottest acts.' Searches at Yahoo! on Colbert were up 5,625 percent. During the days after the speech, Google saw twice as many searches for 'C-SPAN' (the television network that broadcast the event) as for actress 'Jennifer Aniston' — an uncommon occurrence—as well as a surge in Colbert-related searches. Clips of Colbert's comic tribute climbed to the #1, #2, and #3 spots atop YouTube's 'Most Viewed' video list. Before YouTube took down the video under pressure from C-SPAN, the various clips of Colbert's speech had been viewed 2.7 million times in less than 48 hours. The blog Crooks and Liars, one of the first places to host the video, recorded their busiest day on record. In an unprecedented move for the network, C-SPAN demanded that YouTube and iFilm remove unauthorized copies of the video from their sites. Google Video subsequently purchased the exclusive rights to retransmit the video and it remained at or near the top of Google's most popular videos for the next two weeks.
Both Editor and Publisher and Salon, which published extensive and early coverage of the Colbert speech, drew record and near-record numbers of viewers to their Web sites. 70,000 articles were posted to blogs about Colbert's roast of Bush on the Thursday after the event, the most of any topic, and 'Colbert' remained the top search term at Technorati for over a week. A website called Thank You Stephen Colbert, created by blogger Greg Felice, logged almost 50,000 'Thank You's' within its first five days of existence. Chicago Sun-Times TV Critic Doug Elfman credited the Internet with promoting an event that would have otherwise been overlooked, stating that 'Internet stables for liberals, like the behemoth dailykos.com, began rumbling as soon as the correspondents' dinner was reported in the mainstream press, with scant word of Colbert's combustive address.'
Three weeks after the dinner, audio of Colbert's performance went on sale at the iTunes Music Store and became the #1 album purchased, outselling new releases by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, and Paul Simon. The CEO of Audible.com, which provided the recording sold at iTunes, explained its success by saying, 'you had to not be there to get it.' It continued to be a top download at iTunes for the next five months."
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