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Pixel Advertising - Is There Any More Money To Be Made?

Inspired by the Million Dollar Homepage where Alex Tew made $1,000,000 in just five months, a lot of hopefuls are copying the idea of pixel advertising. But is there any more money to be made on this idea?

In August 2005 a young Englishman by the name of Alex Tew got a bright idea. He wanted to make money on the internet to pay for his studies. The idea had to be simple, not take too much of his time and be able to generate a lot of money.

“ there will never be another website making any significant amount of money simply selling pixels ”

Selling advertising space could generate money, but the traditional way of advertising with banners on a webpage simply wouldn't do. To make a lot of money, a lot of webpages, space and time would be needed. So Alex thought of selling really small ads - and a lot of them - on one webpage.

Alex created an image made of 1,000 times 1,000 pixels - a total of 1,000,000 - and intended to sell each pixel for $1. This one image could fit to one webpage and would generate $1,000,000 if all pixels were sold. And thus, the Million Dollar Homepage was born.

Alex - like any good salesman - started by pestering friends and family and urging them to buy some pixels from him. As he started getting orders, he made the very wise decision of alerting the media of his idea. The media liked the idea of the entrepreneurial student trying to make money on the internet for his studies by coming up with an idea that simple.

Alex played the media very well indeed and appeared in print, radio, TV and on the internet. As the story picked up two months into the project, Alex hired a media consultant to help him handle the frenzy. It took only 5 months until the 1,000,000 pixels were sold and the $1,000,000 were made.

Quickly a lot of copycats copied Alex' idea and many more have followed. It is now estimated that there are now more than 4,000 sites selling pixels in a way similar to the Million Dollar Homepage. Only a very tiny fraction of these are actually making any money, so why is that?

The original page owes its success primarily to the publicity it got in the media. As any new copycat website has no or very little news value, why would anyone pick up on the story? As there are now more than 4,000 very similar sites, how could any one site generate enough traffic for advertisers to be interested in buying advertising space?

There are slight variations over the basic business idea of pixel advertising. Some pixel websites now offer free pixels and premium pixels with better location than the free ones. Some websites offer pixels on a picture of the moon or a map of a certain country or region. Other websites offer intricate ways of trading pixels or pixels at $0.01 or less.

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