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Magazine CEO to Get Tattoo to Commemorate Web Traffic Milestone

A brand is only skin-deep.

Bill Mickey By Bill Mickey
04/08/2009 -11:51 AM

Here’s one way to drum up interest in an otherwise benign press release.

Discover Magazine's Web site hit 1.7 million uniques in March and its blog, Bad Astronomy, broke the 2 million page view barrier. The unique visitor metric is three times the site's traffic a year earlier. To celebrate, CEO Henry Donahue and blogger Phil Plait will be getting tattoos.

Now we've all heard about brand ambassadors, especially among editors, but having the CEO drop himself into the community interplay by commemorating a brand milestone with something as permanent as a tattoo is particularly cool, if not slightly weird.

But for all I know, Donahue (who blogs regularly for FOLIO:) may already have a bunch of tattoos. I've met him several times so if he does, he keeps them well covered. Anyway, the tattoo idea, as these things generally do, originated as a spontaneous, "half-kidding" pact—at Comic Con, no less—inspired by a science themed online tattoo gallery curated by one of Discover's bloggers. Donahue and Plait promised to get tattoos if the site tripled its traffic.

Taking it a step further, they're engaging their audience to help with ideas. "Now that has actually happened, we're committed to doing it," said Donahue in a statement announcing the traffic spike. "I think I'm getting a fish and Phil is getting a galaxy, but we're also excited to see what the readers come up with."

Not sure how science-y a fish is, but I bet Discover's audience will get into it with the fervor of a teachers-versus-students kickball tournament.

[Photo illustration: FOLIO:]


Bill Mickey By Bill Mickey -- Bill Mickey is editor of Folio:. Follow him on Twitter: @billmickey

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