Remember the Million Dollar Homepage?


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

Here's the next Tew venture....

One of the big "now why didn't I think of that?" stories last year was "The Million Dollar Web Page" - a clever marketing venture by a 21 year old Brit called Andrew Tew to raise money for a university course (see previous InfoPowa reports). He earned world fame, and a million bucks, from his entrepreneurial flair....and he is now about to launch his next big thing.

The Guardian Unlimited reported at some length on the success of Tew's original concept. The Million Dollar was a website on which Tew explained that he was a young Briton about to go to university who needed to raise money. He didn't want charity so instead he was offering to sell one million pixels (the dots on a computer screen that make up images) on his web page at $1 each. There was a grid measuring 1,000 x 1,000 pixels which Tew offered to sell in minimum-size blocks of 100. Advertisers were invited to buy them and post their logos on the space. When visitors clicked on a logo, they would be whisked to the advertiser's own homepage.

A press release sent out by Tew was picked up by the BBC and then news of his novel idea went "viral" over the internet. The more people heard about the site and visited it, the more advertisers wanted to buy pixels. In addition to wide European interest, he was flown to America for interviews and was even heard on Cuban national radio.

By December 31, he had sold 850 000 pixels. Then the Reuters interview was broadcast and Tew began to receive orders for 100 000 pixels every hour. He held back the last 1 000 dots to be auctioned on eBay. After 10 days of bidding, one advertiser bought them for $38 100.

Adding drama and impetus to what was now a media circus, DDoS criminals thought to be in Russia then tried to shake Tew down for 10 percent of his revenues. That brought in the free services of major shielding agencies in return for a mention, and the Russians vanished.

The last advertiser finally got his pixels and Tew stopped selling after making $1 037 100.

So what is Tew's latest big idea? It's Pixelotto ( which he launched this week and is undoubtedly the trigger for more media coverage.

"After the success of the Million Dollar Homepage, I felt great pressure to come up with another unique idea," Tew says. "But even after the Homepage closed for sales, I was getting lots and lots of requests to buy more pixels, so I figured it still had some mileage in it."

Tew has come up with a clever mix. The new idea still involves one million pixels for sale on a page, but now every time a visitor clicks on an advertisement they will automatically be entered into a free prize draw. Visitors can click on the page up to 10 times a day. This time, the pixels will cost advertisers $2. When they are all sold, one of the ads will be randomly chosen and the names of all the people who clicked on it will go into the prize draw.

The winner, again randomly chosen by computer, will receive $1 million, plus $100 000 to donate to a charity of their choice. And Tew keeps the remaining $900 000.

"There is a much bigger incentive this time for people to advertise because visitors won't just be looking at the site - they will be clicking on the adverts in order to be entered into the prize draw," he says. "This is legal in the UK because it isn't gambling and it isn't a competition. It's no different from buying a packet of crisps that invites you to enter a free prize draw 'with no purchase necessary'."

In a pre-launch offer last Thursday, Tew invited some of the Million Dollar Homepage advertisers to be the first to buy and already the money is flooding in, the Guardian reports. Within hours, he reported that he had already taken GBP 57 000 in orders.

One of those rushing to buy is Tim Strudwick, a director of The Floatworks in south London, which provides flotation tanks in which you can enter a state of deep relaxation. "We bought 800 pixels on the Million Dollar Homepage and it was great for us," says Strudwick. "It doubled the traffic on our website. We've spent the same this time and we think we'll get even more traffic.

"The touch of genius in this is the way he doesn't charge visitors to the site for entering the prize draw. With all the problems lately over internet gaming, particularly in the US, not charging simply bypasses all the gaming laws. It's very clever."
Interesting thought :) I wonder if this will take off like the previous version or if people are a bit tired of it from all the clones (clouding the internet)?

I think had he done this about a year ago, success might have been a little easier.
Interesting thought :) I wonder if this will take off like the previous version or if people are a bit tired of it from all the clones (clouding the internet)?

I think had he done this about a year ago, success might have been a little easier.

He was the original, so he's already got the groundwork laid. I think some pretty big names will buy space because of the publicity this is generating, as well as the number of people *10 that will be going to the site everyday and clicking on various banners for a chance at winning the giveaway.

What do you want to bet that GP will have the largest banner on the site? :D

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