Britney Spears is the most searched for subject on the net, beating the likes of Big Brother, High School Musical 3 and Oasis to the top spot.

Yahoo's statistics for the year show Britney establishing a clear lead in the race to be most searched, with the superstar recovering from widespread controversy in the past couple of years to top charts again.

The former Disney girl's already bedraggled wholesome reputation was crushed by a series of incidents including appearing sans knickers, shaving off her hair and losing custody of her children after a high-profile break up with Kevin Federline.

Publicity

But the old adage about no publicity being bad publicity appears to be true, at least on the internet, with fans searching for the star presumably with several different purposes.

Spears, who made an appearance on the X Factor this weekend but has already been slammed for miming, is about to launch a new album 'Circus'.

The top 10 searches, providing us with a neat shot of the zeitgeist, includes many celebrities and mainstream televisions show.

Best of the rest

The X Factor, Big Brother, the band Oasis and High School Musical join Britney in the top five.

His tragic death and massive success of the film Dark Knight puts Heath Ledger into the top 10, along with Amy Winehouse, Eastenders and Kate Moss.

And lest we forget, the US election is the only hard news story that makes the list – easing in at number six.

Kristof Fahy of Yahoo! Europe said: "It is fascinating to look back over the last year and see the stories, personalities and subjects that have captured our imagination, some of which are almost distant memories now, and some of which continue to be the hot topics of today."