There’s Gold In Them Pixels

A picture is worth a thousand words. But pixels might be worth a million bucks. From the Wall St. Journal (free content):

It was just a few months ago that 21-year-old Alex Tew of Great Britain was stumped about how to pay for college. He’d filled a notebook with ideas before jotting down this simple, if rather audacious, query to himself: How Can I Become a Millionaire? . . .

Instead of selling banner ads, text links or splashy videolike ads that fill a screen, Mr. Tew opted to hawk the simplest graphical denominator of a computer screen: the pixel. A pixel is a tiny dot of light and color, and each screen has tens of thousands of them.

Mr. Tew created a home page, www.milliondollarhomepage.com, where he divided the screen into 10,000 small squares of 100 pixels each. His plan: to sell the pixels for $1 a piece, with a minimum order of 100 pixels. In each space, buyers could put a graphical ad of their choosing that links to their own site when clicked on. The end result is a cluttered collage of ads in various shapes and colors all amassed on a single digital billboard. (Mr. Tew doesn’t charge his advertisers anything when a visitor clicks on the ads.)

Here’s what his website, www.milliondollarhomepage.com, looks like:

milliondollarhomepage2.jpg

Tew aimed to keep up his site until he reached a million bucks. You’d think it wouldn’t work. But it has been working:

He first roped his friends and family into buying pixels and placing ads to make the page seem legitimate. He then began touting his site, and himself, to bloggers, who wrote about his crazy idea and linked to the site, which directed traffic his way. The media in Britain picked up on his efforts, fueling more visitors.

Within two weeks of the site’s Aug. 26 launch Mr. Tew says he sold $40,000 in ads. More important, the traffic numbers started gaining attention among the U.S. Internet community.

Since its launch, the site has received a total of about 1.5 million unique visitors. In mid-September, it landed on the “Movers & Shakers” feature of Alexa.com, which ranks the world’s Web sites by the number of people who visit them. Marketing executives often troll Alexa.com, which is owned by Amazon.com, to check out what’s hot and what’s not, and at one point Mr. Tew’s site reached Alexa’s No. 2 spot.

Currently, the site gets 600,000 to 700,000 unique visitors a month. As of yesterday evening, Mr. Tew said he was $623,800 toward his goal, more than enough to pay for college and earmark some cash for his next entrepreneurial venture, he says.

We here at Concurring Opinions are sitting atop some pixels too. . . . Hmmm. . .

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