The Washington Post has a feature on Alex Tew, the twenty-one-year-old creator of the Million Dollar Homepage. Tew sold 10-by-10 pixel advertising tiles on the page for $100 each. When the eBay auction for the last of the page's real estate ends tomorrow at 1:42 pm EST, Tew will have earned much more than $1 million. Of course, there are now a slew of copycats and spoof sites too. From the article:
Not sure initially that a single pixel would sell, Tew felt the idea had potential, so he aimed high. "I asked myself the question, 'How could I become a millionaire?' Twenty minutes later I had the answer," he says. In the beginning, he reasoned, even 1 or 2 percent of a million dollars wouldn't be bad.
The phenomenon he created has been hailed by some as a genre-changing concept in online marketing — otherwise an advertising badlands of spam, banner ads and pop-ups. Others say it's a brilliant, one-time marketing aberration that will never be replicated.
Whatever it is, the Million Dollar Homepage isn't a pretty site — even as it nears completion and begins a guaranteed minimum five-year lifespan. Tew calls this head-cocking creation "a big collage of different colored ads." It looks like a bulletin board on designer steroids, an advertising train wreck you can't not look at. Think "Where's Waldo?," only more cluttered and without a Waldo. It's like getting every pop-up ad you ever got in your life, at once. It's the Internet equivalent of suddenly feeling like you want to take a shower.
UPDATE: Thanks to the zillion readers who point out that Waldo is on the page, at least currently.