Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Lebron Tape, Scooping TMZ, and Why Does Digg Hates Us...

I thought we should update our viewers on how we found ourselves in the middle of yesterday's hoopla, the release of the now infamous "Lebron Gets Dunked On" Video.

About 2 weeks ago, when news first broke about Nike confiscating a video of Lebron getting owned by a college kid at basketball camp, we were contacted by one of our lawyers, who claimed to have a colleague, who represented a guy, who was in possession of the mysterious footage. Our Executive VP, Neil Bauman, immediately saw the value and potential in this tape and opened up a dialogue with all the players involved. Some time went by, where it appeared the owner of the tape was shopping it around, with no luck.

Then, yesterday, gossip-rag and celebrity-trash website, TMZ.com, announced they had a copy of the footage they would release at 6:45pm EST. They teased the video with a grainy cell-phone screenshot and claimed they had the only existing footage. This was our chance :)

Around 2pm, we contacted our source and negotiated a very fair deal for exclusive rights to the clip. By 3pm, the tape was delivered to us and by 4pm, with the help of our awesome partners at BitGravity and our incredible content and development staff, we had the clip live on the site and the news got out quick. Not only did we scoop TMZ (forcing them to release their copy before their self-planned launch), but we had a better quality clip, shot at a better angle. The media ate it up, by 5pm, we were on the front page of Yahoo, ESPN, SI, CNN, and quickly rising the charts at the "community-driven" news site, Digg.com.

We watched our story get dugg so quickly that within an hour or 2 we had moved to the 1st spot of their "Hot in All Topics" list, a spot which is almost always followed by a frontpage feature. Except when it's eBaumNation apparently. Suddenly and mysteriously, the story fell completely off that list, and all listings for that matter, which as anyone who is familiar with Digg will know, this effectively kills the future of that story and any hopes for making the frontpage.

I reached out to Digg Support and asked about the problem. Several hours later I was told that it was buried as a duplicate, which is impossible since it's an exclusive story and video, a well-publicized one, that any decent moderator should of been able to recognize. We personally posted it to Digg ourselves before we officially featured it on our own site, to purposely avoid the duplicate issue.

We've had trouble getting stories publicized on Digg before, but for something like this, we thought they'd be a bit more helpful in making sure a few ebaum-haters couldn't game their system to bury a legitimate, exclusive story. It's quite disappointing and we're seriously reconsidering the value of promoting Digg so heavily throughout our sites when it's so incredibly obvious that they have very little control over how their community manipulates the rankings.

In the end, I'm not convinced that the whole Digg-failure really mattered too much. Our story was still covered by every major sports publication on the web, and even general news sites like Yahoo and CNN. Within the first few hours of posting, over 1 million people had viewed our exclusive video. Today, the total is at 5 million and counting.

After beating TMZ at their own game, we've received hundreds of emails and phone calls asking if we pay for exclusive or breaking video and content. The answer is yes, we always have and we will continue to do so, and we're prepared to try to match or beat any offers from TMZ, or anybody else. If you have any breaking news, video, stories, anything, please contact our editors at content@ebaumnation.com and we'll have a representative get back to you to work something out. In the next couple days, we'll also be setting up a toll-free tip line to directly reach a rep by phone.

So that's that, thanks for the support, and stay tuned, we've already gotten our hands on some more exclusive material related to some VERY topical subjects that we're in the process of finalizing as I write this. You don't want to miss it!

Jason Martorana
COO, eBaum Nation LLC
jasonm@ebaumnation.com

3 comments:

  1. big deal, he's made more money than you people will ever see in three life times.

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  2. It's because you're site is known for stealing content for years and people hate you. I bet a digg engineer just removed you.

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  3. HAHAHAHA. You finally get original content for once and nobody gives a shit? WAAAAAAAHHHHH

    DIAF

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