The curious story of the Million Dollar Home Page takes an interesting turn as the last 1,000 pixels are auctioned on eBay. As of this moment the going price is $160,000! And there are three days left to go!
If you are not familiar with the story, the site was set up by 21-year-old Alex Tew of Swindon in Wiltshire “to fund his degree studies”.
The idea was simple: he divided up his “home page” into 1,000,000 pixels (in 100 pixel blocks) and then sold these pixels for $1 each (minimum $100). He guarantees to keep the site running for five years and probably for much longer than that, and so he points out that this equates to very good value for money.
Actually, it is a really good contract for both parties: Alex gets his $1m which makes for a good start in life; the advertisers get a huge amount of exposure as the idea has grabbed so much attention. Most of the advertisers are small outfits (and some have posted testimonials which seem genuinely pleased with the response). There are even larger firms, like The Times .
To get some idea how much value these advertisers are getting, take a look at this Alexa chart which compares his traffic to that of New Scientist, one of RBI’s largest sites…
It is actually as of this moment about the 400th largest site on the internet – extraordinary considering it is really just the one page.
It does by now have its imitators, such as the Million Yen Home Page – yes, really. As yet, this site has not sold a single pixel. And there is a fair chance that none of these imitators will actually be worth the investment.
The magic of this idea was that it was a first, and genuinely captured the imagination and attention of the internet world, thus ensuring huge visibility for no outlay for Alex. I doubt if successors will be so lucky.
Still, nice to know innovation isn’t dead.