One fine morning in early September 2005, a young British fellow by the name of Alex Tew woke up with a fantastic idea: to make a million dollars selling a million pixels at $1 each, in blocks of 100. He would sell these blocks as adspace and promise his sponsors a spot for a minimum of five years. Thus was born The Million Dollar Homepage.
The concept was explosively ingenious. Word of mouth spread like wildfire and within three weeks he had amassed over $539,000 (as of November 1st, 2005). As of writing, traffic is still pouring in. Curiosity at the sheer audacity of his plan, and most importantly, astonishment at his success is driving hordes of onlookers to the site for a peek, and I, for one, have no doubt he will achieve his stated goal.
Copycats are already popping up and making money as well. For proof, visit The Million Penny Homepage. Now, I believe this phenomenon can teach us an important lesson: “Per-pixel” advertising is an economically viable advertising model.