Small Horse Magazine Scores Big (Brown) Scoop
But photos posted online fail to generate server-crashing traffic.
When Big Brown, the prohibitive favorite to win the Belmont Stakes and, in turn, the Triple Crown, finished dead last a couple of weeks ago, it left many people wondering why. Or, how.
Well, it appears that a magazine called Blood-Horseâ€”virtually unknown outside of horseracing circlesâ€”uncovered a clue that Sports Illustrated and ESPN and dozens of newspapers couldnâ€™t: that is, Big Brownâ€™s loose boot. The magazine published a photograph in its June 21 issue which shows what appears to be a loose shoe (honestly, who here knew horses wore shoes?) on its right hind hoof.
â€śThis is clearly the first hard evidence weâ€™ve had of anything,â€ť Michael Iavarone, one of the horseâ€™s owners, told USA Today.
The photo, taken by a freelancer, has since been picked up all over the world, with most media outlets giving the 22,000-circulation weekly the credit. (Check the Google News results for â€śblood horse magazine.â€ť)
Undoubtedly a great scoop. But the magazine also missed a big traffic opportunity: it failed to put the photo online before the print magazine was published. (Editor Dan Liebman says they go to press on Monday night with a Saturday cover date.)
â€śWe had calls (or e-mails) that day from Newsday, USA Today, Dallas Morning News, Good Morning America, Inside Editionâ€”all wanting the contact info for the photographer,â€ť Liebman wrote in an e-mail.
When you publish a weeklyâ€“one that may or may not be on newsstandsâ€”and stumble into a scoop like this, no oneâ€™s going to be galloping (sorry) to Barnes & Noble to buy it. And no oneâ€™s forwarding a link from your site if the photoâ€™s not there.
And while the magazineâ€™s Web site saw a spike in traffic after the photos were published late Sunday nightâ€”50,000 page views on Monday, 70,000 on Tuesday, according to the magazineâ€”was more than its average (roughly 30,000 page views) it wasnâ€™t the kind of server-crashing crush that international stories tend to generate.
Imagine, for a second, if the photos were online when they came in, or, at the very least, on Monday, when the issue was put to bed.
It seems like Blood-Horse wasnâ€™t quite prepared forâ€”and therefore ill-positioned to capitalize onâ€”the buzz.
â€śWe anticipated interest in the photo,â€ť Liebman wrote. â€śBut the photo became one of those stories that took on a life of its own.â€ť
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