During the early 1990s when the Internet launched in the format that we know today, it quickly became clear that there were infinite ways to use it. Since then, numerous ideas have become reality thanks to the world’s major technology companies.
Every once in a while, the “little guy” comes up with something which is just so original and interesting that it generates a major buzz as the latest Internet fad. Notable fads and some continuing interesting concepts include Save Karyn & cyber begging, the track it trend, and am I hot or not picture ratings. Don’t forget the real ultimate power parodies which started as, well, who knows?!
So it comes as no surprise that when 21-year-old Alex Tew, a university student in England needed some money to support himself, the next brilliant Internet idea was born. Tew’s site, milliondollarhomepage.com launched on August 29, 2005. Within weeks, the latest fad had taken off.
What is the Million Dollar Homepage?
The idea of the site is to sell 1,000,000 pixels at $1 each, thus earning a million dollars. The word pixel stands for picture element. It is a tiny dot on your computer monitor or TV screen. Pixels form the basis of a screen. There are millions of them and they light up in different colors based on what you are watching. Generally speaking, the more pixels, the sharper the image on your screen.
What Alex Tew did was isolated the space taking up a million pixels on a website and offer to sell each one. Since selling one pixel at a time would be too tedious and complex from a logistics perspective, it makes sense that he decided to sell his pixels in blocks of 100 (or $100) minimum. The more blocks you buy, the larger the space you have on the page meaning you can put larger banners up.
People Are Signing Bigtime
There are two main reasons why the site is so successful. First, the idea is brilliant. So much so that if you type “brilliant idea” into Google, the site now appears in the top 10. It’s simplicity is uncanny and many, many people are kicking themselves right now thinking “wow, why didn’t I think of that?!”
Next, as with many Internet fads, the only thing that makes this really worthwhile is that there is a lot of hype surrounding the site. As media and Internet coverage continues to grow, more people are visiting the site, which makes more businesses want to sign up to try and cash in on the publicity. Hence, the advertising and marketing potential is tremendous.
Consider though, that traffic to a site will be untargeted and who knows how long the massive traffic will last. Some studies have shown that as soon as an Internet fad begins to fade from attention, the amount of traffic easily dies.
Nonetheless, Alex Tew has received a tremendous amount of media coverage and has become a celebrity in his own right. He’s being offered “deals” of all types as people try to cash in on his 15 minutes of fame.
Million Dollar Homepage Parodies
It didn’t take long for everyone and their grandmother to make their own variation of the Million Dollar Homepage. It’s just so simple and difficult to resist. In fact, within a couple months of the site taking off, at least one company was offering a million dollar PHP script that would help webmasters keep track of all the pixels.
There also million dollar pixel directories which attempt to guide people through the array of million dollar websites. Some parodies are quite creative while others are very lame imitations. You can buy ad space from pixel sites selling it by the pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, euros, and so on. Other sites have interesting variations such as a scrabble-like pixel selling strategy. When you see that pixels for Jesus is one of them, you know the fad is done (yes, that site exists!).
The Next Big Thing?
As the Million Dollar Homepage comes and goes, new ideas will continue to spring forth as time goes on. The pure hype of this site in particular has lead to new ideas coming out such as some guy who is trying to sell his site as the most expensive web address in history. Good luck.