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

[Photo illustration: FOLIO:]