Perhaps someone newly interested in cryptocurrencies has read about a coin in Forbes, Wired or another news site, and they then search to find out more. Some of these people will eventually buy, so coins with a lot of searches have potentially a lot of buyers.
Here's what to look for:
1. Google Trends
Google trends will show you the number of searches done for a term - say "Doge" or "Dogecoin" over time. The graph is a reliable indicator of whether interest is waxing or waning.
Here's a screenshot as at the date of this post for "Dogecoin":
2. Trollbox searches
Trollboxarchive is the archive of BTC-E's trollbox. It's a very interesting record of traders discussing strategies and trades. Often when a pump is in action, some of the members will talk about it (even though they tend to get banned for discussing coins not traded on BTC-E!)
Do a site search for the coin you are interested in eg "LTC" or "Litecoin" to bring up all comments with those phrases in, to see if a pump is in play. The site also lists search stats - their record of the top searches being made on their site - it's an interesting metric of how many other traders are searching for info on the same coin. Note however that the search stats are sometimes manipulated - for example the doge community recently descended on the site and did searches just so "doge" could show up on the search stats.
3. Number of results in Google
If a coin is being written about a lot, it will show up in the number of pages returned when you search for that term. For example, if you search for "Litecoin", it will say at the top in grey, About 7,030,000 results
Here are the number of pages returned today (March 27th 2014) when I search for the following coins. (Note you can do searches at a later date and compare the pages returned with what I have recorded here to gauge whether pages are being added to the index (or removed) and at what rate. The phrase searched is exactly as typed below - e.g I typed in "NXT coin" not "NXT" to get an accurate result not contaminated by other businesses and orgs calling themselves NXT.
- BBQcoin - 105,000 results
- Devcoin - 173,000 results
- Digitalcoin - 578,000 results
- Dogecoin - 3,850,000 results
- Darkcoin - 224,000 results
- Feathercoin - 304,000 results
- Flappycoin - 983,000 results
- Franko coin - 427,000 results
- Litecoin - 7,030,000 results
- Maxcoin - 377,000 results
- Megacoin - 225,000 results
- Mintcoin - 842,000 results
- Namecoin - 601,000 results
- Novacoin - 731,000 results
- NXT coin - 1,040,000 results
- Nyancoin - 50,000 results
- Pandacoin - 434,000 results
- Peercoin - 1,790,000 results
- Primecoin - 2,380,000 results
- Quarkcoin - 865,000 results
- Reddcoin - 116,000 results
- Terracoin - 4,080,000 results
- Topcoin - 229,000 results
- Vertcoin - 1,550,000 results
- Worldcoin - 3,160,000 result
As you can see, Litecoin is the most written about, followed by Terracoin, Dogecoin and Worldcoin. (Note older coins will by definition have had a lot more time to be written about than newer coins).
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Method 1: Looking for altcoins with a big community
Method 3: What coins are the miners about to dump?
Method 4: Which coins have an ecommerce economy?
Method 5: the Daily Maintenance Cost
Method 6: How Pumps and Dumps Work
Method 7: Trading Thunderclaps
Method 8: Trading Block Reward Halvings