Mail Online saw a 21% daily increase in traffic on Friday after a post by its columnist Jan Moir prompted a backlash across the web.
According to web measurement firm Experian Hitwise, traffic to the newspaper’s site surged after a piece by Moir on the death of popstar Stephen Gately was criticised on social networks Twitter and Facebook.
The Daily Mail pulled online ads from the column in response to anger across social networks, in which one Facebook group ‘The Daily Mail should retract Jan Moir’s hateful, homophobic article’ posted contact details for all the advertisers on the page (nma.co.uk 16 October 2009).
According to Experian Hitwise, the Daily Mail site was the eighth biggest recipient of traffic from Twitter on Friday, with three and a half times more users arriving from the micro-blogging site compared with the previous day.
Some 21,000 people complained to the Press Complaints Commission on Friday, temporarily crashing its website, after celebrities such as Stephen Fry and columnist Charlie Brooker urged their Twitter followers to complain.
A statement from the PCC explained that the record level of complaints meant they would write to The Daily Mail even if no members of Stephen Gately’s family chose to take up the issue.
“These complaints follow widespread discussion of the subject on social networks – especially Twitter – and represent by far the highest number of complaints ever received about a single article in the history of the Commission,” it said. “If, for whatever reason, those individuals do not wish to make a complaint, the PCC will in any case write to TheDaily Mail for its response to the more general complaints from the public before considering whether there are any issues under the code to pursue.”