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The Almighty Buck The Internet

Cash Pours in for Student with $1 Million Web Idea 527

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the pet-rocks dept.
Quantum Logic writes "Alex Tew, a 21-year-old student from a small town in England, earned a cool million dollars in four months on the Internet. Selling porn? Dealing prescription drugs? Nope. All he sells are pixels. The idea: turn his home page into a billboard made up of a million dots, and sell them for a dollar a dot to anyone who wants to put up their logo. A 10 by 10 dot square, roughly the size of a letter of type, costs $100. He sold a few to his brothers and some friends, and when he had made $1,000, he issued a press release. That was picked up by the news media, spread around the Internet, and soon advertisers for everything from dating sites to casinos to real estate agents to The Times of London were putting up real cash for pixels, with links to their own sites."
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Cash Pours in for Student with $1 Million Web Idea

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  • rest of the article (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2005 @12:58AM (#14362958)
    since the submitter copied half the article, here's the rest:

    So far they have bought up 911,800 pixels. Tew's home page now looks like an online Times Square, festooned with a multi-colored confetti of ads.

    "All the money's kind of sitting in a bank account," Tew told Reuters from his home in Wiltshire, southwest England. "I've treated myself to a car. I've only just passed my driving test so I've bought myself a little black mini."

    The site features testimonials from advertisers, some of whom bought spots as a lark, only to discover that they were receiving actual valuable Web hits for a fraction of the cost of traditional Internet advertising.

    Meanwhile Tew has had to juggle running the site with his first term at university, where he is studying business.

    "It's been quite a difficulty trying to balance going to lectures and doing the site," he said.

    But he may not have to study for long. Job offers have been coming in from Internet companies impressed by a young man who managed to figure out an original way to make money online.

    "I didn't expect it to happen like that," Tew said. "To have the job offers and approaches from investors -- the whole thing is kind of surreal. I'm still in a state of disbelief."
  • by mge (120046) on Friday December 30, 2005 @01:00AM (#14362966) Homepage Journal
    The Million Dollar homepage [milliondol...mepage.com]
    oops forgot the obligatory WOOOT!!! FP
  • Return on investment (Score:5, Informative)

    by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Friday December 30, 2005 @01:04AM (#14362988)
    I clicked on multiple ads which looked vaguely appealing, loaded their pages in tabs, skimmed over some of them, and bought absolutely nothing. Net result: wasted bandwidth.

    It'd be an interesting way to get your message out to some more people though, if you weren't trying to sell something.

    This Internet thing is tweaking human communication in interesting ways. I like it.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday December 30, 2005 @01:08AM (#14362996) Journal
    Come on, wouldn't you want to click on a link that says "Even Monkeys Fall From Trees"

    I think the runner up (for me at least) is "Don't Click"
    because the alt text says: Fine, if you really must click, go ahead...

    P.S. I found Waldo in the pic too
    Just the picture [nyud.net] (without the link overlay)
  • Re:web address? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2005 @01:15AM (#14363026)
    http://www.milliondollarhomepage.com [milliondol...mepage.com]
  • by Tezkah (771144) on Friday December 30, 2005 @01:48AM (#14363143)
    Yeah but who is going to visit a site that is all advertisements?

    You're paying thousands of dollars for space on a site that will never be visited by ANYONE besides those reading press releases about the millionare you just helped create.

    Good job companies! I have some swamp land you can put billboards on!
  • Re:Link? (Score:2, Informative)

    by werewolf1031 (869837) on Friday December 30, 2005 @01:56AM (#14363171)
    You can't click on any of the ads. What's the point? Or am I missing something here?

    Score:-1, Legally Blind [milliondol...mepage.com]

    Yes, the URL is in the article, just not as a link - you'd have to copy/paste into your address bar, but it's there. Quote:

    "He had the brainstorm for his million dollar home page, called, logically enough, www.milliondollarhomepage.com..."

    Now go play in the street. Follow the sound of the bouncing ball...

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday December 30, 2005 @02:15AM (#14363241) Homepage Journal
    Look at some of the ads on that page, I mean there seems to be an ad for "Belgium"(bottom left corner of the page, picture of the Beligian flag). I'm not sure why Belgium really needs to advertise, but I guess those waffles don't sell themselves. I would click on it, but I'm at work and that site doesn't seem to be entirely "work safe"(Japan's sexiest guys and girls?!)
  • I've said it before (Score:3, Informative)

    by arrrrg (902404) on Friday December 30, 2005 @02:44AM (#14363307)
    and I'll say it again. Google doesn't give up-to-date PageRank figures through the toolbar (IIRC they update figures every few weeks/months), primarily to hinder the efforts of SEO types. Without instant feedback, it's more difficult to figure out how to game the system. I would imagine that the site's actual PR is quite high, since it already made the rounds in the media quite some time ago and got many links from sites with high PR.
  • Very old news (Score:2, Informative)

    by JoseAugusto (869000) on Friday December 30, 2005 @03:01AM (#14363357) Homepage
    This is so old news... I am spechless to see so many slashdotters reading this for the first time. Check http://www.thepixelwars.com/ [thepixelwars.com]
  • Re:Page Rank (Score:3, Informative)

    by hugzz (712021) on Friday December 30, 2005 @03:38AM (#14363443)
    My google plugin for firefox says it has a PR of 7 which is pretty impressive. I had a nice text link on a PR 8 site a few years ago and it was extremely worthwhile.

    Yup I'm also seeing a pagerank of 7 (and for some reason i looked at the page on wikipedia [wikipedia.org] which also says he has a PR of 7)

    However, I remember reading somewhere that in order to get a high page rank you need to be:

    • Linked to by many sites (obvious)
    • Linked to on sites with high page rank (obvious)
    • Linked to on sites that dont like to many other pages (impotant)

    Basically I read that you share the pagerank kudos when sites link to you. So even though his site has a PR of 7, that pagerank is split up between the sites that he links to on the site. Even though his pagerank is high, it'd be being shared between hundreds of websites.

    So you'd probably be better getting linked to from a website with a PR of 4 who only links to 1 or 2 other sites (ie it's better to split a PR of 4 between 2 people than splitting a PR of 7 between 200 people)

  • Re:I call hoax (Score:2, Informative)

    by dfjghsk (850954) on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:05AM (#14363622)
    You are way off on the going rate of ads

    when you are reading ad rates, CPM stands for "Cost Per Milli" or in other words "Cost per thousand" impressions. So when you see $100/CPM (which is actually a bit high -- even slashdot only costs aprox $40/CPM), you're talking about $100,000 for 1 million impressions.

  • by gavD (804800) on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:37AM (#14363693) Homepage
    >This kid isn't a genius, after all: >...I've only just passed my driving test... Driving? That's kind of irrelevant, don't you think? I've been involved with this project since a few weeks after it started - I wrote the PHP/MySQL image manipulation and link generation code (it caches the grid of links out to a static text file, which I plan to optimise when I get back to my own development platform by using target=_BLANK globally rather than per link - can't believe I didn't think of that!) as well as the Javascript zoom/negative/cursor tracker and have been managing some the pixel orders alongside Ean and Alex, and from working with Alex I can tell you that he's a very astute, switched on, yet humble guy. Alex (AKA A-Plus) also set up humanbeatbox.com, which I (AKA BeatMuppet) now help to administrate, and that site has many thousands of users and is a hub of the global beatbox community, and continues to inspire and teach thousands of young people a portable form of musical expression. That's two pretty significant acheivement by the age of twenty-one. I wouldn't write off the chances of him doing it again - he's something of a Leonard de Quirm character, who is struck by sleeting particles of raw inspiration at a somewhat alarming rate...
  • by enigma.obscura (936947) on Friday December 30, 2005 @09:37AM (#14364403)
    ...of blipverts [wikipedia.org].
  • by aaronl (43811) on Friday December 30, 2005 @12:40PM (#14365605) Homepage
    Yeah, I did mean gallon, sorry about that. :) The other poster did point out that when you take into account my unit error, it's 3-4 euros per gallon in tax.

    1 gallon of 87* gas in my part of the US is $2.15. The same gallon in Europe would be $5.61 USD. 75% of that is $4.21 USD, which is 3.55 euros.

We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure that it wasn't a fish. -- Marshall McLuhan

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