How often do you think, wow! I wish I'd thought of that one? The Million Dollar Homepage is just one such example and it started like this:
I had this little idea the other day. I was trying to think of interesting ways to make some cash before going to Uni (which is in about a month's time) and somehow this crazy thought entered my head: I'll try and make a million dollars, by selling 1,000,000 pixels, for $1 each.
And so 'The Million Dollar Homepage' is born...
The website was launched back in August when Alex Tew decided that he would try to make a few bucks before he went to University (Nottingham). Here's a brief breakdown of the past few months:
Friday 26th Aug 2005
Monday 29th Aug 2005
"Wow! Today I sold my first pixels: 400 of them. That's $400."
Thursday 8th Sep
"Today things really moved up a gear. I've absolutely, definitely got enough for some swanky new socks: $2500 in the bank today."
Wednesday, 14th Sept
"At last count, I've sold over 10,000 pixels today and yesterday alone. The stats are going through the roof, I've got hundreds of e-mails to answer, and for the first time ever in my life, last night I fell asleep AT MY DESK!!"
Sunday, 18th Sept
"Well thanks to the awesome power of word-of-mouth, I've now sold enough
pixels to cover the entire cost of my forthcoming 3 years at
University! Which, if you want the figures, is approx. £20,000 GBP
Thursday, 22nd Sept
"I'm currently working through a massive 30,000 pixel backlog (yes - I've broken through the 100k barrier!) and once that's completed I've got over a thousand e-mails to get through. Plus I've got to get to Uni on Sunday!"
Sunday, 2nd Oct
"...only 700 pixels away from 250,000! It doesn't feel like I'm making real money, more like monoply money. But it is real... US$250k in 38 days is unbelievable."
Wednesday, 19th Oct
"Got some exciting news! I will be going to the USA for a week in November for a whole load of press and media stuff. I will be visiting NYC, LA, San Francisco and Chicago,
Finally, for UK folks, you can watch me being interviewed live on BBC Breakfast, which is on BBC One tomorrow"
Monday, 24th Oct
I heard there are now over 350 copycat sites based on my advertising-by-the-pixel idea - and that number is growing every day.
Wednesday, 26th Oct
"Wowoooaagggggh!! Just reached (and passed) a major milestone: half-a-million dollars! I literally cannot believe I am writing this. I've run out of superlatives. I've used them all. But this is immense! The 'pixels sold' number is now bigger than the 'available' number. Woah!"
Friday, 4th November
"Thanks to the person who told me that if you type in "a brilliant idea" (with or without the quotes) into Google it comes up with my site."
Monday ,14th Nov
"Big Day in The Big Apple! Woah! Today was BIG. The day started around 7:30am in the hotel room with a couple of radio interviews over the phone, including one broadcast live to Columbia. Cool. We then hooked up with ABC News Radio for a spot that will go out to 3,500 radio stations across the US."
Monday, 28th Nov
Hit the 700,000 pixel mark today... awesome! Feels like the million mark is within reach. I'm still in a state of disbelief.
Actually, it's not disbelief, it's just a sense that what is happening is well beyond normality. I'm sure the day will come soon, when this whole crazy adventure finally sinks in..."
This is quite some journey that Alex Tew has been on in the space of a few short months. He will hit his $1 million target shortly but what's telling is the way the market has reacted to this novel idea. The Million Dollar Homepage has now spawned over 350 copycat sites but none will come anywhere near the success of this one - they will all fail.
The curious thing about this venture is that most of the links seem to be to those sites which you will usually find in your spam filter - for webcams, casinos and the like - though, I did see The Times in there. Anyway, I say good luck to Alex Tew - wish I'd had that idea! I wonder how long it is before he jacks in University.