When ancient and respected old magazine The Atlantic put Britney Spears on their cover for an utterly so-so story on the celebrity-industrial complex or whatever (it was OK but Rolling Stone's piece was better), everyone (i.e. us) mocked them for selling out and claimed it was a cynical ploy at boosting newsstand sales or something. Well. Mea culpa! Because if it was a cynical ploy at boosting newsstand sales, it failed miserably. "The magazine sold approximately 24,000 copies at the newsstand, some 21,000 less than March and nearly 30,000 less than its January/February issue." According to Atlantic Media president Justin Smith (the man who destroyed The Atlantic), they meant to do that.

"The irony is, we were doing this at our own peril, because most of our newsstand executives and circulation executives were saying ‘Don't put Britney on the cover! It's going to bomb on the newsstand!' So we put Britney on the cover despite some of our newsstand advisors."

Of course, when Rolling Stone did it, their website traffic doubled. But you know, The Atlantic is not exactly available by the register at the A&P so yeah maybe Smith is not even lying and they knew it would tank. Still, it was basically the only reason we talked about the magazine since we made fun of their web rebranding so hey, good on you guys. [Folio]