In 2005 The Million Dollar Homepage was created by university student Alex Tew. The entrepreneurial goal was to make enough money to pay for his university fees by selling individual pixels on a web page for US$1 each. The million dollar homepage therefore consisted of simple web page that contained a 1000 x 1000 pixel array – yes there are enough zeros in there to make $1,000,000 dollars.
The newly created pixel real estate was sold in minimum blocks of 100 x 100 pixels ($10,000). Advertisers could then place company logos that would also link to their web sites within their pixel block. Alex succeeded in selling all 1,000,000 pixels and therefore certainly had his university fees taken covered.
The Million Dollar Homepage is visually amazing to look at and resembles a patchwork quilt. In fact I think it could be perfectly at home in any contemporary art gallery symbolizing the Internet and a full market place of wares vying for consumer’s attention. Alex’s discusses in his FAQ section that he came up with the idea while brainstorming random ideas one hot summer night for about an hour.
- It was unique at the time. Apparently copy cats have emerged since, but never with the same success.
- The title (“The Million Dollar Homepage”) was catchy and very quickly communicated a bold idea.
- There was a human story behind the idea – a young university student looking to pay his university fees. People where therefore happy to pay the minimum $10,000 to buy a 100 x 100 pixel block as they perceived the money as going to a good cause.