World Entertainment News Network's paparazzi chief Owen Beiny thought he'd scored big when the company managed to get exclusive access inside the Big Brother end of series party on Monday night.
The showbiz agency's exclusive photos hit the tabloid front pages on Wednesday – but nobody thought the scoop would bring the company to a standstill.
WENN's photo website, photo.wenn.com, was inundated by tens of thousands of Big Brother fans who discovered the site was displaying the exclusive photos. The heavier than normal traffic strained WENN's servers to the point the system closed itself down.
None of WENN's global network of agents and publications who use the site each day to download the latest celebrity photos were able to access it for up to five hours.
WENN IT Manager Jack Joy said: "This was the nightmare scenario we all fear. There's no way to stop word getting around when we get a big scoop like this, but this time the number of people trying to log on to the site exceeded anything we've ever seen before. At one point our monitors registered 273,000 hits within a forty minute period."