06 February 2009

Phelps Photo Draws Record Traffic Boost

A photo of swimmer Michael Phelps inhaling from a ‘pot pipe’ produced a dramatic spike in traffic on the News of the World (NOTW) website.

The image, showing the multiple medal-winning athlete appearing to inhale from a glass pipe, attracted over a million visitors within 24 hours.

Associate editor Gary Thompson told Press Gazette that the story saw NOTW.co.uk record its “biggest-ever boost” in terms of web traffic.

Much of this traffic came from the US, helped by a link to the article being placed on The Drudge Report.

And Thompson believes the impressive traffic stats support the editorial decision to publish the exclusive online rather than wait for that week’s print issue.

He said: “We judge each story on its merits - and would normally break the biggest exclusives through the print edition.

“On this occasion, we had spoken to the Phelps camp and other third parties and we knew it might not stay exclusive for very long, so we put it up.”

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