Aside from that, interest in the auction has been huge with media across the world reporting it, not to mention all the blog and forum activity around the net. So far the auction page itself has received 272,891 unique visitors since I launched it on Sunday evening. Clearly there are a lot of people out there following this auction! I am certainly checking it constantly throughout the day, in between all the e-mails and phone calls. It's really quite addictive.
Today has been another exceptionally busy one. It feels like I've had a phone glued to my ear all day as I've been doing a string of interviews with various newspapers, magazines and journals from around the world. I do enjoy it when people ask me some of the more 'quirkier' questions that I've not been asked before, otherwise it can feel like I'm reeling off the same old answers. I can only wonder what politicians and high-profile stars must go through! Overall, it is nice to have the interest, as I'm well aware it won't be here forever. I am grateful that people want to know about me and my ideas. It's crazy to think that suddenly I've become someone whose opinions and thoughts are of interest to a wider audience.
My inbox has a few messages from people who are wondering what the deal is with all the black and blue blocks of pixels on the homepage with 'R' written in them (particularly in the lower half of the page). Just to clarify, these are reserved blocks which means they have been paid for and we are awaiting the image and link from the purchaser. I will soon be setting a deadline for all images and links to be sent in, in order to 'complete' the homepage.
Finally, a note to existing pixel owners - you are not permitted to re-sell or auction off your pixels. I will not change any existing images or links. While a 'pixel after-market' would be quite a cool concept, I am determined to maintain the idea of the homepage being an 'internet time capsule'. I think it will be fascinating to lock the homepage in time, and maybe one day, who knows, it could be displayed as a piece of modern art in a museum! That would be awesome.
Traffic numbers for the site are still incredibly high, with 235,151 unique visitors today alone. In the last 7 days, over 2 million people have visited The Million Dollar Homepage.
Which is just phenomenal. Oh and some news just in: the surge in traffic has catapulted my site to #1 on Alexa.com's Movers and Shakers list. Awesome. The top spot evaded me until now but I knew I would get there eventually!
I actually took my entire family to London with me to share the experience, and it was great fun. In between the TV interviews, I did a load of newspaper and magazine interviews via phone, but we did have some time to chill out, enjoy a nice lunch and before heading home we took a ride on The London Eye, a 135-metre tall ferris wheel on the bank of the River Thames which offers amazing views of the capital. Oh yeah, a big thank you to my future sister-in-law Brooke for staying home at 'Pixel HQ' and keeping everything ticking over with the site and the eBay auction.
Finally I would like to take this opportunity to thank my US-based publicist, Imal Wagner, for all her hard work in helping me to handle and organise all the media attention that has developed around my site over the last few months. I hired her in mid-October as things really began to kick-off and she has been incredible in helping me to navigate the world of TV cameras, microphones and interviews. Thanks Imal!
There are still literally hundreds of people e-mailing me wanting pixels on the homepage. Some are wondering why I don't open a second page. Well, I won't do that because I am determined to maintain the integrity and degree of exclusivity intrinsic to the million-pixel concept. Therefore, I am doing the most fair and logical thing and auctioning the last 1,000 pixels off on eBay.
The auction began tonight and lasts for 10 days, finishing on Wednesday 11th January 2006. I've got a feeling interest in the auction is going to be huge, and I'm so excited it's difficult to describe. Who knows, maybe I could make another million dollars! Hehe. Whatever happens it's going to be fun to watch. I'm going to London tomorrow for some international TV appearances so I will definitely be spreading the word.
999,000 pixels have been sold, so there are still 1,000 pixels available. However new orders have been suspended due to exceptional demand, so the last 1,000 pixels will be made available tommorrow, on Sunday 1st January 2006. Keep a close eye on the site for details. Happy new year everyone :)
For a buck a pixel, Brit kid nets nearly $1 million (CNET)
I'm writing this early Friday morning, and I just looked at the web statistics for Thursday. I'm blown away: the site received a huge 231,475 unique visitors - in one day! Right now, as I type, 25,000 unique visitors are hitting the site every single HOUR. That means a projected 600,000 unique visitors by the end of Friday. Wow!
As for pixel orders, they are flowing in at a truely tremendous rate. We're currently facing a 48,000+ pixel order backlog - which means the million mark will be almost certainly be reached within the next few hours, which is before the new year arrives - awesome! I really didn't expect it to happen this fast, but this little project of mine has just entered a new stratosphere.
I'm sitting here going through some of the thousands of new e-mails I'm receiving but they're arriving faster than I can read them. My brother is next door uploading orders, and my brother's fiance is sitting next to me on another laptop also handling pixel orders. It's gonna be an all-nighter. There are loads of orders and e-mails to get through. The pixel factory is gonna be working overtime!
This is probably the single most simultaneously hectic and exciting time so far on this crazy adventure. Please bear with me in terms of replying to e-mails and media requests. Orders are being taken care of but if you want your pixels to be part of internet history, then you must order within the next few hours otherwise there will likely be no pixels left tommorrow.
Oh yeah, check out this TV interview I recorded when I was in New York last month. Hope you like it! Ok, back to the pixel factory. I'll update tommorrow and let you know how things are going :)
Posted by Alex @ 2:55am
Tuesday 27th December 2005
The final countdown
An unhealthy amount of food has been consumed, gifts exchanged, and so another Christmas has passed. I hope everyone had a great time, and a chance to chill out. For years my parents joked that all they wanted for Christmas was 'peace and quiet' - I've never appreciated that idea more than this year!
It's been nice to relax with the family and turn off the computer for a bit. But the e-mails and orders have kept flowing in and the big news is I'm now on the home straight! At the time of writing, 904,000 pixels have been sold - leaving just 96,000 to go. Cool.
There is lots of big publicity is building as I near the million mark, so the final goal is definitely within reach - inevitable, even. Which is a crazy thing, to think that I'm going to have made 1 million dollars - in just a few months. I'm still in a state of disbelief, but I'm excited at what the future holds too... roll on 2006!
Posted by Alex @ 11:07pm
Friday 23rd December 2005
Christmas chill time
This week has been particularly exciting and busy. There is lots of new press coverage as I mentioned in my previous blog which has created even more interest and traffic to the site (70,000 uniques in the last 2 days), plus are there are still loads of orders coming through each day, as well as general e-mails and press enquiries. So my days have been spent juggling phone-calls, e-mails and christmas shopping!
This will be my last blog posting until after Christmas. I'm all pixeled-out! It's time to relax for a few days. My brother and his fiance are home from Australia, so my whole family (all 6 of us) are together for Christmas, so we're gonna spend some quality time together. It's been a manic, exciting, life-changing few months and now it's time to take a brief step back and try and let this whole experience sink in. Along with a few mince pies.
Posted by Alex @ 1:11pm
Wednesday 21st December 2005
UK press coverage
Things have kicked off again in the UK with some more national newspaper and radio coverage. Check out today's Daily Mirror and The Sun for articles, also you might have seen The Sunday Times on the weekend with a piece on the site. So far today I've been chatting to more journalists and did a few radio interviews this morning. It seems like making $1m is something of a feel-good christmas story, hence the renewed interest. I understand there's also some big press coverage out of Russia and other cities in Europe. It's quite hard keeping track now! Let me know if you see anything else (I'll update the press page soon).
On the site orders continue to pour in as the million mark approaches - the homepage will soon be full and no more pixels available so now is the time to get on-board. I'm still receiving hundreds of new e-mails each week, and I must be honest I'm even finding it challenging reading all of them. But I will do as soon as I can. Now though I must go and buy some christmas presents for my family - not quite sure what to get - I think it'll mostly be impulse decisions. It'll be nice to get them all something decent though, I've been skint in previous years so time to make up for that!
Posted by Alex @ 1:25pm
Friday 16th December 2005
End of term, Vanity Fair
I literally cannot belive it's the end of the first term at university. To say it has gone quickly would be something of an understatement. It's been a crazy few months. Everything has changed! New beginnings as they say. Infact, I can't believe it's the end of the year already - where has 2005 gone?! Uni has been great fun, I've met lots of great people, had some wonderful experiences and learnt lots of new things - in and out of class.
So then.. pixels.. well at the time of writing the total is a massive 864,000 pixels sold. That's in 113 days, since I launched this site. Which is an average of 7,646 pixels sold per day - wow. Orders keep flowing in too, so it should not be long before the mighty million mark is reached. I think it will happen sometime in January.
Finally, check out this month's issue of Vanity Fair for an article on me and the site. There's also a word about one of my next ventures ;)
Posted by Alex @ 12:21pm
Sunday 11th December 2005
One more week!
I've just about recovered from Friday night's Christmas party. It was fun, I think, but I can't remember too much. And there was me saying I shall never drink again! Oops. Anyway, this coming week is my last at University before heading home for Christmas. I can't wait to be home, to be honest - I'm looking forward to being with my family, having some serious relaxation time and basically catching my breath after the most crazy 3-and-a-bit months of my life. University is great and everything, but we students live in a curious bubble that does not resemble the real-world, so it will be nice to experience some level of normality at home. In the meantime, I have to crack-on with the usual mix of e-mails, phone-calls and photoshoots!
Posted by Alex @ 4:49pm
Friday 9th December 2005
Tonight is the Christmas party at my halls of residence. I'm sure it will be a good one. The dress code is 'festive spirit' so I'm sure there will be more than one Santa drinking the night away, eating carrots or whatever. Or is that the reindeers? Hmm anyway, I really can't believe it is almost the end of my first term at university - it's gone so fast. They say time speeds up as we get older. I guess we just get busier. It has definitely felt like that for me! It has been a life-changing few months.
There have been some big articles appearing in Europe over the last week which have boosted visitor numbers quite considerably. 38,000 unique visitors yesterday for example. And there is still more interest building, and there's even some stuff I did in the US that has yet to 'hit' so it will be interesting to see what impact they have over the holiday period. I'm sure the million is within reach - I can feel it, even if I can't really believe it still!
Right well I'm off to eat mince pies - that's right, mince pies, not carrots - and have a glass of sherry. Have a good weekend!
Posted by Alex @ 7:16pm
Wednesday 7th December 2005
I realise I have been lame and my idea of making short daily blog entries is something of a distant memory. Forgive me - as usual its been hectic juggling university life with the website and all the publicity surrounding it. Everything is still quite surreal. I can't believe I'm actually closing in on the magical million figure. It would be nice if it finished by christmas but it may go into the new year just a little bit. Saying that, orders are continuing to flow in at a tremendous rate and I'm often as surprised as everyone else when I check the pixel counter to see what the current total is (Gav and Ean handle all the pixel orders so I usually just check the 'normal way' to find out how much I'm making).
Oh yeah, I learnt a lesson last night. The lesson is: don't lose your wallet and keys on a night out. It really messes stuff up! It's taken all day to sort out and I'm still feeling the repercussions as I type (quite literally, my head is spinning a bit). I shall never drink again! Anyway, my wallet and keys were found and returned this afternoon by a member of the public. Which is really very nice. Thanks Cat!
Posted by Alex @ 5:07pm
Saturday 3rd December 2005
This week has been incredible - 100,000 pixels sold in the last 5 days alone (20,000 a day!). As you can see my last blog entry was all about hitting the 700,000 mark. Now the total is over 800,000. Wow. The momentum seems to be picking up as the site begins to edge towards the finish mark. I think that people are realising that soon there will be no pixels left, and are buying up their space.
Apologies for the lack of blog updates this week, it's been a busy time. Also once again apologies if your e-mails have not been answered - there are just too many to handle right now. Site stats have remained strong, with 214,000 unique visitors in the past 7 days. On the media front there are some very interesting things happening this month - I'll keep you posted :)
Posted by Alex @ 8:54pm
Monday 28th November 2005
Hit the 700,000 pixel mark today... awesome! Feels like the million mark is within reach. I'm still in a state of disbelief. Actually, it's not disbelief, it's just a sense that what is happening is well beyond normality. I'm sure the day will come soon, when this whole crazy adventure finally sinks in...
Posted by Alex @ 7:17pm
Thursday 24th November 2005
It's really kicked off again. Big time. The Wall Street Journal article has had a massive impact. Traffic levels have shot up (it's going to be over 200,000 unique visitors this week) and I'm swamped with hundreds of new e-mails. Not to mention, tonnes of new pixel orders, almost 30,000 pixels sold in the last 24 hours - amazing!
I'm sure it was just the other day I was saying how cool it was to have reached 600,000. Maybe I should have waited a little bit longer, as the 700,000 milestone is not long away. Check out this this Alexa.com graph which shows the massive jump in visits (I added the red arrow):
This is a bit of a short blog entry, but I'll update again very soon. Lots of exciting things happening. It just gets bigger and bigger!
Posted by Alex @ 8:14pm
Tuesday 22nd November 2005
Back in UK, and Wall Street Journal
Arrived back in the UK on Sunday after a fairly smooth flight from the states. You'll have to forgive me for not updating the blog sooner, I was going to do it Monday but I think jet lag caught up with me. Anyway, it's great to back home, even if it's 25 degrees cooler than LA!
Looking back at the past week, I think it's fair to say the USA tour was a great success, and great fun too. I did more interviews last week than I've ever done before, and by the end of the week I felt more and more relaxed about doing them. Being interviewed is a fine balance between answering the questions being asked and also conveying the message you want to get across, and I think it gets easier with practice, like most things.
There are quite a few people who were integral to the US tour's success, in the sense that it would not have happened without them. So first up, big thanks to my brother Mike Tew for putting up with me for a whole week and organising all the logistics of the week (flights, hotels etc.) as well as general support. I couldn't have done it without you bro! Next up, huge thanks to Imal Wagner for hooking up all the great interviews and media appearances in the US. You made a lot of great things happen Imal, so thank you. Thanks also to Andrew Standen-Raz for supporting us from a chilly Vienna. Much appreciated Andrew. Oh yeah, thanks also to Ean and Gav for keeping the site ticking over while I was away, fulfilling all those orders. You guys rule.
Back to business, a really major article appeared today, in the Wall Street Journal. It's probably the single biggest piece of publicity I've received to date, as WSJ is read by millions of people around the world, and of course because it is so widely-respected. As a result there's been a significant rise in traffic today, and indeed pixel orders have gone up too. I did the actual interview last week while in the US. There's still a few others things yet to be released that I did while stateside, so keep an eye out.
Posted by Alex @ 11:01pm
Friday 18th November 2005
Final stop: Silicon Valley
Had my final TV interview today in Silicon Valley, which is perhaps somewhat poignant. We got up early for a flight to San Jose, although things didn't look too good when the flight was delayed by two hours. Things turned out fine and we got to NBC11's studios in San Jose around 11:30am. The interview with reporter Scott Budman went great. It actually aired tonight too. Here's a shot in the studio:
After the interview we left the NBC studios and were walking along the street when we noticed a familiar logo. Here's me standing outside the headquarters of one of the most famous and profitable internet companies in the world:
Being there was a source of inspiration for me. We then took a flight straight back to LA, just 3 hours after we landed in San Jose, which I think is the shortest plane trip I've ever made! In the evening we chilled out, had a nice meal and Mike took this great photo of sunset over LA:
We catch a flight back to the UK tomorrow, so this my last blog entry from the USA. I'm going to post a more full reflection of the week once I'm back in the UK. All I can say for now is: what a week!
Posted by Alex @ 9:34pm
Thursday 17th November 2005
A day off, sort of
Had a day off today, apart from a couple of phone interviews in the morning. It's been a busy week, so I spent most of the day catching up on sleep! Did do loads of e-mails though, but it still feels like I'm making little impact on the 5000+ unanswered messages in my inbox. It's going to take a while.
On the media front, there's quite a few different things that I've done this week and in the past month that won't go out for a while. Rest assured I'll let you know when and where you can see and read about me. Early start tomorrow for some more TV so I'm gonna get back to sleep!
Posted by Alex @ 10:58pm
Wednesday 16th November 2005
Half work, half play
Had a bit of time to relax and have some fun today. Not before doing some publicity for the site first though. It was another early start (6am) to take some calls, then onto NBC for a pre-recorded interview which will air sometime next week, on LA's NBC 4. This is me with reporter Cary Berglund, who was great fun:
After that Mike and I headed over to Universal Studios for the afternoon, not to make a movie (I wish!), but just to have some fun. It was definitely nice to unwind a little. There are some very cool things at the park. It was also a bit of a nostalgia-trip because I last visited with my family 17 years ago, aged 4.
On the site traffic has gone up by 30% in the past few days, which was to be expected really with all the fresh publicity. Orders are flowing in and are being fulfilled by my man Ean back in the UK. So if you order pixels please don't be concerned that I'm galavanting around here in the USA - your pixels are being taken care of and will go online usually within 24hrs, often quicker.
Yesterday I forgot to mention in the blog that it's awesome to have passed the 600,000 pixel mark! The bigger the total sales become the bigger my astonishment grows at how far my little idea has gone. I'm also beginning to sense the mighty million mark is within reach, which is really a mind-blowing thought. Oh yeah, I also want to thank everyone who's wished me well, especially for this US trip.
Finally, we ended the day on a high-note (literally) by going to see a true legend perform, The Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. He put on an amazing show and the man still has all the moves! What a memorable night. Memorable week, infact. Ah heck, it's been a memorable few months!
Posted by Alex @ 11:49pm
Tuesday 15th November 2005
City of Angels
Today was busy and fun. We woke up at an unhealthy hour to catch an early flight to LA. The flight took about 6 hours and seemed to go quite quickly. What I wasn't expecting was the 75 degree heat and beaming sunshine when we arrived - awesome! Had I known, I would have packed shorts, shades and suncream. If only the weather back home was like this in mid-November!
Anyway so after landing we went straight to the studios of G4 for my appearance on 'Attack of The Show', a very cool tech/games show broadcast nationwide. The team there were very cool and during the live interview I was probably the most relaxed I've been, in terms of all the interviews I've done. Here's presenter Kevin Pereira reluctantly handing over cash for pixels:
After the show we checked into our hotel and chilled out in the evening - a few well deserved beers in between a couple more phone calls and e-mails. Probably going to fit in a day-off sometime this week to do some 'touristy' stuff which I'm looking forward to.
You know what, I can't believe I'm sitting here in LA typing about all these media appearances I'm doing. 3 months ago I was at home thinking about how broke I was. It's amazing how quickly things can change... I wonder what will be happening 6 or 12 months from now. These are exciting times.
Posted by Alex @ 11:22pm
Monday 14th November 2005
Big Day in The Big Apple!
Woah! Today was BIG. The day started around 7:30am in the hotel room with a couple of radio interviews over the phone, including one broadcast live to Columbia. Cool.
We then hooked up with ABC News Radio for a spot that will go out to 3,500 radio stations across the US. I was interviewed by Jim Hickey who was very warm and welcoming:
Next up some more radio interviews on the phone, and a really big TV interview but I can't say what it is right now because it's not been broadcast just yet. I will of course let you know when it goes out.
After a hectic morning we had lunch at one of the most famous Italian restaurants in New York, Patsy's, which was frequented by Frank Sinatra in years gone by. The food was amazing, and owner Sal made us very welcome:
After some more interviews by phone, the final hit of the day was on the Fox News channel, on 'Your World with Neil Cavuto'. Neil has the #1 business show in America and he made me feel completely at ease despite being live to millions of viewers across America!
So yeah, what an amazing day. Big thanks to Imal for making all this happen.
No time to rest in the frantic world of pixel-hustling...next stop: LA. Check out G4's 'Attack of The Show' tomorrow, Tuesday 15th Nov, between 4-5pm PST. Need some sleep now, we have an early morning flight to catch!
Posted by Alex @ 9:40pm
Sunday 13th November 2005
Quiet before the storm...
Final day of preparations today, so lots of phone calls and final arrangements made for all the different press interviews coming up this week. Had some time to chill and we even went on a helicopter ride around Manhattan earlier this evening - what a great way to see the city! Ok, time to sleep, it's gonna be a busy week :)
Posted by Alex @ 10:35pm
Saturday 12th November 2005
Arrived in USA
We've arrived in the States! It's going to be an exciting and busy week. My older brother Mike is with me on the US tour to help manage everything, and also because going on my own would be a bit daunting!
We had a good flight. Took about 7 hours from London to New York. We've been chilling out after the flight, and need to get some proper sleep soon before the busy week ahead. Tomorrow (Sunday) will be a day of final preparations for all the media stuff that kicks off on Monday. Here are a few pics:
Chilling in our hotel room...
Buying an obligitory NYC hot dog...
Looking like a proper tourist in front of the Empire State Building...
On the site things continue to go well. Infact, I've just added a page of testimonials featuring some of the success stories I've received from advertisers. Buying my pixels makes sense!
Keep checking the blog for daily updates as the US tour unfolds...
Posted by Alex @ 9:10pm
Thursday 10th November 2005
This is a final quick update from the UK. I'll update my blog once I'm in New York on the weekend. It's been a busy week preparing for the US media tour, infact I'm packing up as we speak. Must remember my passport and laptop!
I think next week will be one of the biggest weeks of my life. In a way I don't know what to expect, but I'm sure it'll be great fun and very exciting. The big question is: will all the US publicity take the site to the $1m goal? We'll soon find out.
Posted by Alex @ 7:22pm
Monday 7th November 2005
USA: one week to go!
Just 7 days away from my first US media appearances. I'm excited - it's gonna be so much fun. I actually fly out this coming weekend, with my older brother Mike, who is gonna be my manager for the week! Once stateside, I'll update my blog as often as possible with news and photos; my aim is to make daily entries. Also, I'll try my best to give you a heads up on what shows to watch before they are broadcast.
On the site I'm beginning to sense the 600,000 pixel/dollar mark approaching. Lots of pixel still orders flowing in every day. Made over $70,000 in the last 2 weeks. I can't imagine how manic/big things are gonna get once I'm in the US. Lots more e-mails I bet. Which is cool, because like I've said, I do read them all, and replies will happen eventually. Just hang in there!
My final thought for today is aimed at the doubters/skeptics out there. Basically it appears some people are still not willing to accept that my little idea worked. They think it's some kind of elaborate hoax. Which is completely untrue, and a bit sad really. Firstly, it shows no faith in the power of a unique idea or word-of-mouth, and secondly what would be benefit of a hoax? I hate to say it (well, no, I don't), but I REALLY have sold the EXACT number of pixels that is listed at the top of each page. I've made a lot of money very quickly, and I'm just as amazed as everyone else.
I absolutely have not filled the homepage with my own pixels or affiliate links. Every pixel is genuine. I am genuine. I'm just a young guy from the UK with an idea that caught people's imagination. Anyone could have done it. Look at my success in a positive way and what you find is a renewed sense that anything is possible. I came up with a simple idea that has worked - my very own 'million dollar idea'. My message is: embrace the awesome sense of possibility that exists in every moment of every day. There are ideas out there waiting for you. Now that might sound corny, but don't ignore it - it's true. Corny, but true. Oh yeah, my other message is: be unique :)
Posted by Alex @ 9:18pm
Friday 4th November 2005
Thanks to the person who told me that if you type in "a brilliant idea" (with or without the quotes) into Google it comes up with my site. Awesome! I've been amazed how encouraging and supportive people have been; I'm still getting loads of nice e-mails from folks who just want to say 'well done'. So thanks to everyone for your kind messages.
The past week has been another busy one. Pixel orders are still strong, although actual visitor numbers are down slightly but I'm expecting them to rocket when I go to the US for the media tour, the week after next. The trip is taking shape very nicely - some great stuff planned. It's gonna be fun. Right now, I'm gonna end the week with a fairly early night (as in, not 3am), so I will say goodnight :)
Posted by Alex @ 11:20pm
Wednesday 2nd November 2005
Apologies for taking a while to add a new blog entry. So much for daily updates! My excuse is that the last few days have been really busy. Well, it's busy all the time but things got hectic again this week: lots of site stuff, uni stuff.. just lots of stuff.
I had a bit of a mission on Tuesday when on Monday I realised my passport had expired, which was a fairly worrying moment, what with the US trip imminent. But it's all good, I now have shiny new passport after taking a trip to the passport office yesterday. Look how lovely and brand new it is:
I'm so relieved it's sorted - things would have been a lot more complicated if I had left it any longer, as I'm flying out at the end of next week. I'm really looking forward to visiting the US. There are some seriously cool things planned - eg. major, nationwide interviews and appearances - it's gonna be huge! I'm excited.
On the site things continue to go well, the pixel count is ticking up each day and lots of e-mails flowing in, although there are still thousands to answer. However, I've now got most of the e-mails prioritized so I can at least make a start at answering them all soon. Like I keep saying, bear with me if you have sent me a message. All e-mails are read and urgent ones will get dealt with quickly, but for everything else please don't expect a reply straightaway. Time is at a premium right now, but I do aim to eventually reply to everyone who's been in touch.
As far as university goes, well I have to say, I'm loving it. I've met some really cool, fun people, and there's always plenty going on - mostly in the form on alcoholic beverage consumption, it has to be said! I'm trying not to miss any lectures, because although things are busy with the site, it's important to keep on top of my studies. I'm doing my best to balance everything. It's quite a challenge, but definitely a fun one :)
Posted by Alex @ 11:18pm
Saturday 29th October 2005
Just a quick weekend update. Apparently there's nearly 500 copycat sites, which is quite a lot more than the 350 I mentioned earlier this week. I'm sure there are more popping up all the time. It's almost getting silly now!
Some people were wondering if I thought this site is a long-term business that will run like a regular company. Of course this site is NOT a long-term business - it is a one-off 'business event' - a fun idea and an opportunity to be part of 'internet history'. I naively thought this went without saying, but apparently not. There is no long-term business concept here; it's a unique idea that will only work once. I really hope we've cleared that up now!
I'm going to play squash tomorrow after having a few days off; my muscles had been aching for days after a mammoth session earlier in the week. I do need the exercise though as my diet has not been great recently. Low-quality convenience food seems to go hand-in-hand with being busy.
I'm going to try and post more often on this blog as quite a few people seem to like the idea of daily updates. I'll do my best to make more regular - but probably shorter - entries. Catch up soon.
Posted by Alex @ 11:44pm
Wednesday 26th October 2005
Half way there!
Wowoooaagggggh!! Just reached (and passed) a major milestone: half-a-million dollars! I literally cannot believe I am writing this. I've run out of superlatives. I've used them all. But this is immense! The 'pixels sold' number is now bigger than the 'available' number. Woah!
It is exactly two months to the day since I launched the site (26th August). That's an average of $250,000 per month - wow. I actually took over the reigns briefly from my man Ean, so I could personally upload the order that took the site over half way. That was an exciting moment. I had outsourced fulfilment of pixel orders quite a while back so I could concentrate on university and everything; I wouldn't have managed otherwise. So big thanks to both Ean and Gav for all their hard work.
Because this is such a big milestone in the site's life, keep a look out for even more press coverage in the coming days. Things are gonna kick off once again. But this is central to the idea: the more pixels I sell, the more media coverage I get, and so the more people look at the site, and the more pixels I sell. It's a true 'snowball' effect. At the going rate, I will hit the mighty million dollar target on 26th December. It may happen sooner, it may take longer. Sweepstakes anyone!?
Check out two swanky new features on the homepage you can have hours of fun playing with: a zoom function so you get up-close and personal with the pixels (works in Internet Explorer only), and there's also a 'negative image' button so you can see what pixels are still available (available pixels are in bright green). But wait! There's more...
You can now display the live pixel total on your own website/blog, with this lovely banner:
Head on over to the FAQ for details on how to add it your site. The banner is hosted on my server so all you need to do is add the link, and the image will update every time new pixels are added to the site (so the total you see on the banner above is the total when you read this, not the total when I wrote this).
Well then, at the time of writing I've sold 500,900 sexy little pixels to over 1,400 advertisers. Just another 499,100 to go and we're done... it's not over yet though, so get comfortable, get some popcorn and enjoy the second half of The Million Dollar Homepage!
Posted by Alex @ 11:39pm
Monday 24th October 2005
Today I heard there are now over 350 copycat sites based on my advertising-by-the-pixel idea - and that number is growing every day. It's quite cool to think people liked my idea so much that they've invested time, money and energy in copying it! I guess it's the mark of a good concept; one that is instantly replicated.
Like I said before, I'm quite flattered. By some of them. Some people have been creative - they've taken the concept and added a new twist (the foundation of many businesses), and those sites have been quite interesting to look at, and some have even made a bit of cash. Quite a few sites have given me credit as the originator of the pixel-advertising concept, which is cool. Others, however, have fully ripped off my site - copying my design and text to the letter. Lame! Those sites are not cool.
On the site, things have remained busy as always, with more press articles appearing around the world over the weekend. I did a really big interview earlier today but right now I can't say what for, but I will let you know when it comes out. More stuff lined up, and the USA trip is taking shape. It's gonna be busy, exciting and probably a little bit surreal. Oh yeah, I'm now very close to half-a-million dollars - wow! Current pixel count is 481,900. I think I'll hit the half-way mark in the next 2-3 days. This is exciting. Just gotta sell the other half now!
Oh yeah, played my first ever game of squash today. It was awesome. Exercise has never been so much fun! If you don't know what squash is, it's kinda like tennis but in a room with 4 walls, no net, and with a ball that doesn't bounce much. I'm gonna be playing a lot more of it. I need some nice retro-sporty socks. But first, I need sleep. Goodnight :)
Posted by Alex @ 11:50pm
Friday 21st October 2005
Back from London
Got back from London earlier today - ended up staying another day as I did an extra piece of live TV last night (BBC3). Here's a photo from yesterday morning, on the set of BBC Breakfast:
That's presenters Dermot Murnaghan and Natasha Kaplinsky and myself, in full red-eye glory. It was fun - great publicity for the site, and also very interesting to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how a major TV show operates. Apparently I was featured on last night's (Thursday) BBC Ten O'Clock news, but I'm not sure, I didn't see it (can anyone confirm?).
The appearance on BBC Breakfast had a significant effect on site traffic - I estimate an additional 20,000 unique visitors as a result (although that's only a tiny percentage of the show's 2 million viewers). I guess the impact is less direct with TV, and more about building general awareness. They did show a close-up screenshot of the homepage, which was cool, and good for all the advertisers!
It's not the first time the homepage has been shown in the media - it's been published in many of the press articles appearing around the world. For instance, last week's feature in The Times (UK newspaper) had a full screenshot and descriptions of some of the ads. So advertisers, keep in mind that your ads and logos can be, and are being, seen by literally millions of people, in addition to all the visitors to this website. I think there is some seriously good value being had from my pixels, especially for those advertisers who are aiming more for brand-awareness.
Got some new improvements coming to the site this weekend, and I'm employing someone next week to help clear the backlog of e-mails. Orders are continuing to come in thick and fast, and I'm starting to see people are buying bigger and bigger chunks of pixels in order to help stand out from the crowd on the homepage. The message is: buy big!
Media bookings for the USA trip are going well, lots of cool stuff lined up. That's going to be a fun (and hectic!) week. Looking forward to it. Oh yeah! Almost forget to mention - for all the techies - Google has given this site a Page Rank of 7 - which is apparently very high (especially for a site that's been online less than 2 months). Basically, as I understand, it means loads of people link to this site. Which is good.
Ok, it's Friday night, and I can hear the sound of the student bar in the distance... I must investigate!
Posted by Alex @ 7:42pm
Wednesday 19th October 2005
USA trip and BBC appearance
Got some exciting news! I will be going to the USA for a week in November for a whole load of press and media stuff. I will be visiting NYC, LA, San Francisco and Chicago, maybe some other places if there's time. It's gonna be fun! I'll let you know what TV and radio shows I'll be on nearer the time. If you're a member of the US press, please check the contact page for details of my US publicist.
Something else exciting is that I may be followed around the States by a film crew for a 'fly-on-the-wall' style documentary to be broadcast later in the year. It's not definite yet, but that could be interesting. I'll let you know if that happens. Pretty surreal to think I may be the focus of an entire TV programme.
Finally, for UK folks, you can watch me being interviewed live on BBC Breakfast, which is on BBC One tomorrow (Thursday 20th October) at 6:40am and also at 8:40am. I've always wanted to visit BBC Television Centre - didn't think it'd be quite like this!
Posted by Alex @ 3:42pm
Monday 17th October 2005
Over 100,000 unique visitors today.. in one day. Incredible. The reason for this, I think, is due to some very big articles in some european newspapers, and on some big websites. I've been sent the links by loads of people so I'll get those on the press page once I've had a chance to catch my breath.
Things are moving at a breakneck speed. Typically at any point in the day I've got a mobile phone glued to my right ear, I'm typing e-mails with my left hand and I'm walking around looking for lectures. I've taken on another guy to help with pixel orders and I'm gonna hopefully get a full time webmaster very soon. Delegation is my new favourite word. It's absolutely critical though to managing this whole thing.
Right now I'm staring gormlessly at a screen listing one hundred million gazillion emails. I'm obviously very happy with how things are going and this is all very exciting, but I think my head might explode soon. I have to go to London tomorrow for some more press stuff. I need some water, sleep. Catch up soon!
Posted by Alex @ 10:58pm
Friday 14th October 2005
Another day, another pixel
Today was a fine blend of the usual stuff: a delicate mixture of phone calls, e-mails and lectures (or lack of... shhh! don't tell anyone, I've missed a few. I'll get the notes - it's ok!). Orders seem to be picking up more, have now sold a cool 371,800 pixels at the time of writing (approx. 50,000 pixels sold in the last 4 days alone). This thing could well go all the way - I'm sensing the momentum is building even more now.
I'm writing this technically on Friday morning - very early morning, that is - although to me it's still Thursday night. It's quite a late one because the internet connection in my room at uni has gone down - not good! So, I'm sitting in the 24-hour computer room, headphones on (listening to some ambient electronic music - global communication's amazing '76:14' if anyone wants to know), typing away on a chunky keyboard (laptop keyboards are soooo much nicer).
Press article of the day is a big feature in today's issue (Friday) of UK national newspaper The Times. I'm in the 'times2' supplement (apparently I'm the cover story! I've not seen the printed copy yet, only the online version - it's almost 5am afterall. I guess I only have to wait a few hours - will need sleep beforehand though).
So if you're in the UK, you really have no excuse not to own a copy of The Times today. Infact, I'm sure you can pick it up worldwide, too. Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention - the newspaper actually bought a few pixels too... well, I say a few, they bought 2,800 to be precise! You'll see their logo on the homepage, roughly half way down.
I'm beginning to dislike the picture of me on this blog (the one at the top of this page, red background). It dawned on me that I look like a nerd who's been doing bicep curls. Ok, well, I do a few bicep curls but I'm not a nerd! No excuses not to stay fit though... however saying that, apart from my run the other day, I've not worked out for around a month. The lesson: making money makes you fat! I really need to get back in the gym.
Made a little purchase earlier today - a very nice digital camera (7.2 megapixels! that's a lot of pixels...) So, I hope to get more photos onto this blog. Maybe even some video. I'm definitely gonna change my blog pic though!
Ok, enough late night rambling from me, sleep has now become imminent.
Posted by Alex @ 4:58am
Tuesday 11th October 2005
1/3 way there!
I have now passed the 1/3 of the way mark - wow! Thanks to everyone who has purchased pixels. Curiously, in the past week the site's stats dipped slightly (still very high though - 30-40,000 unique visitors per day), but they now seem to be on the way back up. I think it must be new press articles that are coming out. Infact, check out the newly updated press coverage page that now has loads of links to articles from across the globe.
Thankfully, my cold is beginning to clear up and I even went for a 30 minute run around the University campus today which was very uplifting. Nothing beats fresh air. Right, well everything seems to be going well, site is busy, lots of new orders, loads of e-mails as per normal (I'm trying my best to get through them) so I think I'll leave things there, as far as this blog entry goes. Speak to you soon.
Posted by Alex @ 8:35pm
Sunday 9th October 2005
My cold and my thoughts
Oh dear. My cold got worse over the last few days and I've been coughing and spluttering pretty much non-stop. I've been tanked up on cough medicine and paracetamol today, so I'm hoping I can get a proper night's sleep. I was up all night last night, which actually turned out to be quite good - I did some serious brainstorming on some new concepts.
I always find late at night is my most creative time. I think possibly it has something to do with the fact that usually at night we'd be dreaming, which is a very creative process itself, and if we're awake, our brains are still in that creative mode, making loads of new connections deep inside our brains. Of course this is me just speculating - I'm no scientist - but to me it makes sense. Food for thought anyway.
The site has been going well - at last count the total was now 320,300 pixels sold. There's also a constant stream of copycat sites appearing, and I understand there are now literally hundreds of them. What have I started!? Is this a new trend in advertising? Personally, I think not. I believe this idea is a one-off that will only really work once. It's only unique the first time. However, there may be some future mileage in this 'pixel advertising' or 'micro-ads' concept in terms of fundraising for charities or other good causes. But of course, only time will tell.
Posted by Alex @ 11:30pm
Thursday 6th October 2005
Just a quick blog entry, as I keep spluttering onto my screen - I've got a bad cold developing (also known as 'fresher's flu'). Anyway! Another busy day, loads of e-mails/orders/press stuff.
Check out this Sky News report, where if you click 'Video: Selling Pixels' you can actually see my talk and stuff... in like, real life, rather than just pixel form (edit: apparently only UK people can view this video, for some reason, sorry guys).
At the time of writing only 1300 pixels off hitting the 300k mark - wow! Things seem to be picking up more each day. 65,000 unique visitors today. Cool. Need to sleep off this cold... catch up soon.
Posted by Alex @ 11:58pm
Wednesday 5th October 2005
More more more
Busy day today: more pixels, more visitors, more e-mails, more publicity, more everything. I have no idea when I will be able to answer all these e-mails. I've never seen anything like it, there's thousands of them - hundreds I've not even opened yet. Sorry again for not replying. Bear with me. Pixel orders are getting through though, Gav is doing a great job as always and the counter is going up.
I have been made aware of some people who ordered pixels more than 48 hours ago, and their pixels are still not live on the homepage. If this is the case, firstly, sorry for the delay. Please get in touch again with your pixel info and attach the exact sized image, and please quote your PayPal or 2CheckOut order number. The e-mail system crashed briefly the weekend before last so some may not have got through, although I did my best to chase them up. I guess these are some of the problems of running a site that becomes very popular overnight.
On the whole though, pixels are being uploaded pretty fast, usually less than 24hrs, and Gav's been putting the finishing touches to an automated system that will allow people to order and upload your pixels directly to the site (all we will have to do is quickly moderate uploads before they go live on the homepage). That system will hopefully be online by the end of the week.
The site has remained in Alexa's movers and shakers list for what I think is now the 4th week running, and currently up in 4th place. UK folks may have seen some stories about the site in the press in the past few days and I understand there have been loads of articles appearing in many corners of the world, from Israel to Australia.
I really need to update the press page! Just one of many things on the ever-growing 'to do' list. Infact, if some lovely person out there has some time to research and collate all the press stories into a single page, together with links to respective websites if possible, I would be eternally grateful.
This afternoon I was filmed for a Sky News piece that will go out tomorrow morning (Thursday 6th October) on their 'Sunrise' breakfast news show, and then again throughout the day at various times. Sky News goes out in the UK and Worldwide. Keep an eye out! I may also appear on Five News (UK). I've got a few more press interviews lined up in the coming days, in between everything else, like, er, lectures. These are busy, exciting, and dare I say it: profitable times!
Oh yeah, final thing, the old click tracker page has been re-born as the 'Pixel List' page. For the cynical people, this is not because advertisers on the homepage are not getting good clicks (infact I've got lots of glowing testimonials to add to the site), but because most people wanted direct links to their sites, not tracked ones, so we couldn't track clicks. Apparently there is a way to have direct links and still track clicks, but this won't take into account retrospective clicks, so for the time being the page will just be a big list. Pixel owners, please check your own site's logs/stats to get an idea of how many visitors you're receiving.
Well then... this whole thing is rather surreal. Beer helps. Time for a pint.
Posted by Alex @ 8:56pm
Monday 3rd October 2005
Had my first lecture today - funnily enough it was accounting. Here's a [dodgy] picture I took with my phone:
It was nothing too heavy, more of an introduction to what is coming up this term/semester. My second lecture, unfortunately, was one I missed out on (although I'll get the lecture notes tomorrow). I had to take some calls and handle some urgent e-mails. Infact, I've got so many 'urgent' e-mails now I'm not sure what 'urgent' means anymore!
Anyway, smashed through the $250k barrier today - hoorah! A big milestone. Just been out drinking to celebrate... though celebrating in my mind only; I'm still anonymous on campus (no one has said anything), at least for now. Right, time to sleep.
Posted by Alex @ 11:18pm
Sunday 2nd October 2005
Enf of week one
My first week of University is coming to a close, and it's been fun. Met lots of new people, had a good laugh and started to settle in. The real work starts tommorrow: my first lecture is at 10am. Ideally I will get a good night's sleep but there are a few end-of-week parties happening tonight so it may be a late one!
The site has continued to grow at a rapid pace this week, with more visitors and orders than ever and at the time of writing, only 700 pixels away from 250,000! It doesn't feel like I'm making real money, more like monoply money. But it is real... US$250k in 38 days is unbelievable. Oh yeah, the site has remained in the top 10 movers and shakers on Alexa for the 3rd week running - I'm now at number 2!
On the admin side of things, I've spoken to an accountant and yes there will be a hefty tax bill but there will still be a significant sum leftover - enough to cover uni, get even more socks, send my parents on holiday and then invest and save the rest. My notepad is packed with lots of new ideas I've been having recently. This site is just the start! There's a lot more to come from me. I don't want to seem like I'm jumping the gun, but I'm excited at what the future holds.
Finally, there have been a few people still doubting whether I'm genuine, if this is a 'scam' etc. Well needless to say this site is totally above-board, I am genuine, and my question would be: what is possibly a 'scam' about my idea? I think people who criticise/slander me should really get their facts straight first. On a lighter note, I've seen some very funny imitation sites that have been great fun to check out. Keep them coming!
Posted by Alex @ 7:24pm
Wednesday 28th Sept 2005
Hoorah! I've now got an internet connection in my room at Uni, so here is my first blog entry as a fully-fledged student. I'm currently in the thick of fresher's week - been a fun few days so far. Been out every night! Lots of new people, and, er, lots of drinking, it has to be said. I have had a few 'induction' lectures but the real work doesn't start 'til next week. This is me on campus:
Went to the fresher's fayre today where I signed up for a few socities, including the drama society (enjoy a bit of [amateur] acting), the philosophy society (to ponder the big questions of life) and a few others. Going to hook up with some musicians later tonight; I'm big into vocal percussion (beatboxing). Check out this site which I founded a few years ago.
On the site, my man Gav's been doing a great job handling all the pixel orders and enquiries - so some orders maybe uploaded faster than 24hrs, but still please allow upto 48hrs max, as they're still flowing in thick and fast.
I remember posting how the stats have 'gone through the roof' on more than one occasion, but they really have this week - with over 200,000 unique visitors in the last 3 DAYS! 91,000 uniques on Monday alone. Currently 3rd in Alexa's movers and shakers list, and ranked in the top 1000 sites on the internet in terms of pure traffic / visitor numbers.
I'm still facing a huge backlog of e-mails, like 2,000 or something, so I'm afraid it will be a while before I can reply to all of them, but once again thanks for all of your messages and enquiries, and I promise to respond eventually. Also got lots of site updates coming in the next couple of weeks; I know a few pages on the site have some cobwebs that need to be swept away, apart from the homepage of course which I think is looking great!
Posted by Alex @ 7:02pm
Sunday 25th Sept 2005
The big day!
This is it, today I'm off to University. So this is just a quick message to say farewell - for a couple of days at least. I'll get online as soon as I can, but don't worry if you've ordered pixels - I now have a very capable guy in charge of fulfilling your pixel orders (thanks for your hard work Gav!).
The site's stats have once again gone through the roof - over 100,000 unique visitors in the last 2 days. UK folks may have seen my story in some of the national press on Saturday (The Sun, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Express - any others?).
It's been a completely amazing and hectic few weeks. Once again, thanks for all your e-mails and support and sorry I've not got back to you yet - please give me time.
Right, I have to finish packing!
Posted by Alex @ 8:04am
Friday 23rd Sept 2005
The backlog has got the better of me. I must sleep - got press interviews in a few hours time. The total is 108,000 pixels including the backlog, but I won't update the counter at the top until those remaining pixels are actually up.
Ok, so for new orders, please allow min 24hrs and max 48hrs for pixels to go live, although I'm getting some people to help out so it may well be quicker. All those waiting for pixels to be uploaded, they will be up later today (Friday) at some point.
Once again sorry for the delays, but please remember I'm human not a machine! Although soon the machine should be taking on some of the extra work :)
Posted by Alex @ 4:03am
Thursday 22nd Sept 2005
...has gone completely nuts. I mean, like, absolutely proper nuts. I'm currently working through a massive 30,000 pixel backlog (yes - I've broken through the 100k barrier!) and once that's completed I've got over a thousand e-mails to get through. Plus I've got to get to Uni on Sunday!
Yes, I am overwhelmed, but I'm getting those all-important pixel uploads done each day (so keep ordering!), and I'm also organising to have some people I trust to help me out with the site's administration.
So, for the time being at least, please bear with me if you've ordered pixels (allow 24hrs minimum for uploads, max 48hrs). Also, I do read all the messages I receive and I will reply eventually, but please give me time. Oh yeah, aside from staring at this screen all day, I did manage to buy some more socks today, but only some boring ones (part of my mission to never run out at uni).
Right then, back to the pixel factory...
Posted by Alex @ 10:27pm
Wednesday 21st Sept 2005
Phew. Just finished uploading a whole load of pixels (like, 12,000 or something... I'm losing count). So the total is a whopping 64,500 pixels sold. And there's still more in the queue, like, a few thousand or something. This thing just keeps getting bigger!
What's also cool is because I've now sold enough pixels to cover my entire 3 years at university, there's a new story as far as publicity is concerned. Infact UK mag The Register has already done a follow-up article. So expect to see more press articles appearing in the coming days and weeks (and let me know if you see any). I'll do my best to keep the press page up-to-date; sorry it's been neglected so far (also thanks to everyone who's sent in stories and links).
Oh yeah, PayPal enabled my account again, which is good. I'm keeping both payment options open though, so you have the fun of choosing how to buy your pixels. And what a good time to buy pixels it is! There was a bumper harvest this year, and the pixel factory is about to become even more efficient when I get my hands on a new server later this week (dual Xeon for those who know about that sort of thing).
Right then, time for bed - 4am is not a healthy hour to be awake!
Posted by Alex @ 4:15am
Sunday 18th Sept 2005
University and socks: all paid for!
I launched this site 3 weeks ago thinking it was a fairly interesting idea that might well make a bit of cash if I could generate some interest. Well thanks to the awesome power of word-of-mouth, I've now sold enough pixels to cover the entire cost of my forthcoming 3 years at University! Which, if you want the figures, is approx. £20,000 GBP ($37,000 USD). Infact, I've made quite a bit more than that already.
At the time of writing, I've actually sold 46,500 pixels (although there are still quite a few in the ever-growing backlog, so the real total is over 50k now). It's quite extraordinary, and I keep saying it, but I can't really believe it. However I am beginning to realise that this is probably not a dream! (They don't last this long, surely, well, apart from lucid dreams?).
Anyway you'll be pleased to know that I've made THE all-important purchase. Check out these little beauties:
What do you think? Personally, I think they kick ass. They only cost £3.00 GBP so I'm not sure if they will be long-lasting, however, I can always buy more pairs. I thought it was more important to get some visually-enticing (and contextually appropriate) socks rather than some indestructable ones made from high-tech spaceman material (not that I could find any of those though!).
In other news, there are quite a few site updates and new features on the way in the next week or two. Keep logged on or join the mailing list to be kept updated. Will hopefully have my PayPal account back online and accepting payments on Monday or Tuesday, although 2CheckOut are coping fine with all the orders, so maybe PayPal won't be my pal for much longer, haha.
A few people have e-mailed me saying things like "I don't think you've sold any pixels" or "you're site is a scam". Deary me. Well, just so we're all clear, I really have sold all the pixels you see on the homepage, for the full price of $1 per pixel. What more do you want me to do? Draw out all the money from my bank account and photograph it? Er, no. As for my site being a scam, well if you think that, then you are probably missing the point entirely. In which case, feel free phone a friend or ask the audience :)
I've got a feeling there is a busy week ahead. Not least because I actually go to university in 7 days time (I can't wait!). Saying I've got a lot of stuff to sort out before then would be an understatement. I mean, c'mon, I gotta buy more socks for a start! Oh yeah, and as some people have been asking, I will indeed be seeing an accountant this week, before the taxman comes knocking.
Have a good week people :)
Posted by Alex @ 11:50pm
Sunday 18th Sept 2005
Woah - just finished clearing a mammoth 12,500 pixel backlog. So you'll notice the total has gone up quite a bit (bit of an understatement). I can't believe it, in just 3 weeks I have made enough money to pay for all 3 years of University! This is unreal. Someone pinch me!
I am also knackered. I will do a full blog entry with all the news later on Sunday (you gotta check out my awesome new socks!). I will also try and answer some of the 300+ e-mails sitting in my inbox (sorry to those who've been waiting a while for a reply - bear with me!). But right now, I must sleep.
Goodnight one and all.
Posted by Alex @ 3:15am
Friday 16th Sept 2005
New payment system
Update: I'm now accepting payments via 2CheckOut. You can pay using Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Diners.
Right, time to upload some pixels. I've got a feeling the backlog may grow quicker than I can clear it!
Posted by Alex @ 2:51pm
Friday 16th Sept 2005
Backlog, PayPal and Stats
Just a quick update: there is a 6,000 pixel backlog I'm working through now which should be cleared by the end of the day. There is also now a problem with PayPal: they've limited my account due to so much cash going through it (they probably think I'm an international drugs baron or something).
So this sucks, because I currently can't receive any more money at this moment. It will take a couple of days to resolve at least, so right now I'm looking for a reputable alternative as we speak. I hope to have an alternative payment system by the end of the day.
In other news, the site's stats have gone through the roof, to the point where I don't actually know how many people are hitting the site (should get updated figures later today). However, I discovered something pretty amazing: I currently rank 4th on Alexa's list of 'Movers and Shakers' on the whole of the internet, just behind Apple, Chevrolet and NFL! I'm blown away.
Final thing: a lot of people reported slow access to the site yesterday, mainly on the homepage. This should now be much faster as the graphics are now part of one big image, instead of having loads of individual images.
Right, well I'm gonna have some lunch, gonna clear this backlog, sort out a payment system, and later on I want to make the big purchase: the new socks. I'll post a pic tonight or tommorrow. Brace yourselves!
Posted by Alex @ 1:20pm
Wednesday 14th Sept 2005
A little bit overwhelmed!
Folks - sorry I havn't managed to update the blog properly, but things have gotten REALLY hectic! At last count, I've sold over 10,000 pixels today and yesterday alone. The stats are going through the roof, I've got hundreds of e-mails to answer, and for the first time ever in my life, last night I fell asleep AT MY DESK!!
I guess you could say I'm slightly overwhelmed, but I'm doing my best. I've got a developer working on an automated database system to make pixel uploads faster, but if you've ordered some and they're not yet not live on the homepage, please bear with me - I've got something like a 4,000 pixel backlog - and although it'd be handy to be a machine, I am limited by human functions, so right now I must sleep!
I will hopefully clear the backlog in the next 24hrs. If you order pixels now, please allow a minimum of 24hrs for them to be uploaded. I will try to make it quicker but please don't worry - you're pixels will become part of the homepage soon. If you are thinking about buying pixels, it is still wise to order early, because then you reserve your position on the homepage - just allow a little more time for your pixels to 'go live'.
Thanks for your patience and support at this busy, exciting time :)
Posted by Alex @ 11:57pm
Monday 12th Sept 2005
Visitor stats and more pixels
Today was the site's busiest ever day: over 35,000 unique visitors and 125,000 page impressions. I think that's pretty good going. At this rate, the site is on course for 1 million uniques in one month. Maybe there is some kind of weird science going on: one million pixels/one million visitors?!
Strangely enough, despite being the busiest day in terms of visitor numbers, I only sold 800 pixels today. I say "only" relative to some of last week's pixel-selling madness, but I must not become deluded: to earn 800 bucks in one day is still awesome. I can't deny that being a pixel hustler is the best job I've ever had!
Posted by Alex @ 11:55pm
Sunday 11th Sept 2005
Busy weekend: 2,400 pixels sold
So there's me thinking the weekend would be really slow because everyone would be off chilling out and having fun, and then people still decide to send me money and pixels! Which is absolutely fine by me, by the way :)
Now the grand total is a whopping $8,000 - equalling one year's worth of Uni fees and accomodation (as well as my clearing my current overdraft - hoorah!). Well... I can't really believe it. It's amazing how far a simple idea can spread in such a short space of time. The internet is incredible like that. Last time I checked Google, "Million Dollar Homepage" (with quotes) came up with 11,500 results. I think that's pretty solid for a site that's been online for just over 2 weeks.
Visitor stats this weekend were down slightly compared to the megahits of the past week, but the site recieved well over 10,000 unique visitors / 50,000 page impressions on Saturday and over 15,000 uniques / 60,000 page impressions on Sunday (edit: just looked at the site stats monday morning - Sunday was busier than I first thought, had a big link from this blog late in the day).
I can't wait to see how things progress this coming week. The other day I heard from Christine Zheng, who's made a bet and is set to lose $200 - which she will spend on my pixels - if I reach more than $12,000 by the end of September. I've got a feeling she may lose her bet - things just seem to be gathering more and more pace. Sorry, Christine :)
Some people are wondering what's in it for the advertisers who buy pixels on the homepage. I think there are lots of benefits: click throughs, brand/site awareness, association with an interesting/novel idea, and the kudos of 'owning a piece of internet history' all being ones that spring to mind. I'm sure a professor of marketing could explain the sublte intricacies of the concept better than me, but I think most people can see where the value is.
And don't forget! The site will be online for at least 5 YEARS, and in all likelihoods, even longer. It's in my interests to keep it online for as long as possible. Sure, the visitor numbers will likely fall after the initial spike of interest - although that itself could last a few months - but I believe people will be checking the site for years to come, and a small investment now will seem like a bargain down the line.
It's all about thinking long term :)
Posted by Alex @ 10:58pm
Friday 9th Sept 2005
Another busy day: 1,900 pixels sold
Another day with lots of pixels, not much sleep and quite a few PayPal notifications arriving in my inbox. Sold another 1,900 pieces of internet history to be precise, bringing the total income so far to $5,600. So this thing really seems to be happening!
I must be honest, there have been some surreal moments in the last few days, and I've been half expecting to wake up and find myself lying face-down on the rock-hard mattress of financial sorrow. But I havn't woken up yet, so I'll continue to live the dream, man!
It just seems so mad to be getting REAL money for what effectively involves uploading little images to a server. Saying that though, it has been non-stop: pixel uploads, site tweaks, e-mails, phone calls and occasionally time to eat and get outside for some fresh air (as in, a few quick gasps).
The big link of the day was from Digg.com - where my site has become one of the week's most 'digged' links. Awesome. I've also had some time today to browse some of the blogs and news portals that feature my site, and it's been great fun to see all the different comments and opinions people have about the site (and there is a whole mix, but generally they are positive and encouraging).
And finally, a few imitators have begun to appear on the web already - and I am flattered. Really, I am! (Check the FAQ for a full response.) Anyway, I'm wondering how things will go this weekend; I guess everyone likes to chill out and get away from their computer screens after a long week. That includes me, but there are pixels to be sold, I leave for uni in 2 weeks!
Have a great weekend, whatever you are up to :)
Posted by Alex @ 11:59pm
Thursday 8th Sept 2005
Wow! It's kicked off: 2,500 pixels sold today
Today things really moved up a gear. I've absolutely, definitely got enough for some swanky new socks: $2500 in the bank today. It's been quite crazy - I was always hoping it would kick off like this, but never quite knew if it would. I could probably buy the best socks in the world now! (any pointers!?)
So it all started when I woke up early this morning (after about 3 hours sleep) and found out some more press coverage had been published, in particular, an article on the IT news site, The Register.
The site coped well with an average of around 2,000 unique visitors per hour, every hour, all day long. It was worth upgrading the server. I'm pretty sure the visitor stats will keep rising, too.
On the homepage itself, it's been interesting to see what different types of sites have been buying up the pixels. There's a whole range: from ink cartridges to earphones on offer. And what's great is that everyone has been getting loads of clicks.
It's still early days and I've got to say I'm amazed at the response/feedback I've been getting. Big thanks goes out to everyone who's e-mailed in, and sorry if I've not got back to you yet - got quite a few to get through. The majority of people I've heard from like the idea of the site, although I've got to say it's quite entertaining to hear from a few people who still don't get it!
Oh, and I've updated the FAQ too.
Posted by Alex @ 11:40pm
Wednesday 7th Sept 2005
No pixels, but media interest
Strangely enough, just like last week, I have sold no pixels on Tuesday or Wednesday this week. Perhaps there is some sort of UN-sanctioned mid-week pixel embargo I don't know about. Hmmm.
Anyway, there is good news! I've been speaking to various members of the UK press today and a couple of articles have appeared. I'm keeping a list of all the press coverage I get on the brand new, ever-so-cleverly-titled 'Press' page. Got some more media stuff happening tommorrow so keep an eye on there in the coming days.
Some other site-related stuff: new faster server is online to handle increasing traffic; have now got a mailing list so you can stay updated by e-mail, and finally, a click-tracking page is online so you can see how many clicks you are getting, or missing out on, depending on whether you bought any pixels ;)
Posted by Alex @ 11:59pm
Monday 5th Sept 2005
Server upgrade, 100 pixels sold
Another 100 pixels sold today, so I'm beginning to think that everyone will just buy 100 pixel blocks. But it's probably too early days to tell (maybe Great Big Huge Company Inc. will buy a load of them in one go?). Also today I had the server upgraded in order to handle the increasing amount of traffic the site is getting. The word is definitely getting out! However, I am not. I need fresh air.
Posted by Alex @ 10:16pm
Sunday 4th Sept 2005
Sold! 100 more pixels + site improvements
Another 100 pixels sold, which I think is not bad for a day's work. Also today I've been working on some site improvements which I'll add in the coming few days, stuff like a big page to list all the advertisers, a newsletter for people to get updates by e-mail, and a page of million dollar banners for people to link back to the site. Any more ideas? Let me know
An interesting fact is that each link on the homepage is currently averaging over 100 clicks per day, which is pretty damn good I think. That number will probably go up too, as more people hear about the site. Imagine how many people will click those pixels over the coming months and years. Sure, I guess people are clicking out of curiosity but it makes for interesting web surfing!
Posted by Alex @ 11:28pm
Saturday 3rd Sept 2005
Sold! 100 pixels
Sold another 100 pixels today. So that's my first 1000 pixels sold! Wow. Selling pixels is great fun. Getting some good feedback too: I think *most* people are liking the idea. True, pretty much everyone has said I'm a nutcase but I think I can live with that.
Still havn't heard back from any journalists, so I'm guessing they don't work on the weekends! But anyway, I've been working on a press release today, which will go out on Monday. That should hopefully be more effective than just e-mailing people. Oh, and I went for a 6 mile run earlier. Knackered.
Posted by Alex @ 11:50pm
Friday 2nd Sept 2005
Sold! 400 pixels
Today I've managed to rope my brother into buying 400 pixels. He runs a go-karting company here in the UK and I convinced him that it would be worth buying some. Infact he says he knew I would constantly pester him about it, and is just getting the invetiable out of the way early on. Fair enough!
On the press front, I'm currently waiting to hear back from some media/press people I've contacted. Fingers crossed. Anyway, it's been a good week so far: $900 in the bank! Far more than I expected, and definitely enough to buy some swanky new socks for uni.
Posted by Alex @ 2:52pm
Thursday 1st Sept 2005
Sold! 100 pixels
After a couple of days of wondering if 400 was the final number of pixels I was going to sell in my short-lived pixel hustling career, today I sold another 100 of the little things!
Just yesterday a friend of mine was saying it would be worth selling a few more pixels before telling the press about the site, so this is good - I have a few more pixels. Perhaps the idea isn't so crazy after all? Anyway, I'm gonna make some calls/send some e-mails and see if I can generate some press interest. Wish me luck!
Posted by Alex @ 10:28pm
Monday 29th Aug 2005
First pixels sold: 400 of them!
Wow! Today I sold my first pixels: 400 of them. That's $400. The easiest money I've ever made!
Basically, I spent the entire weekend e-mailing [pestering] everybody I know, telling them to check out the site, to tell me what they think of it, and more importantly, to tell their rich friends. So, despite most people thinking I was nutcase, a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend (who runs an online music site) decided it was worth a punt and bought a 20x20 square on the homepage. Awesome.
Posted by Alex @ 8:40pm
Friday 26th Aug 2005
The Million Dollar Homepage is launched
So I had this little idea the other day. I was trying to think of interesting ways to make some cash before going to Uni (which is in about a month's time) and somehow this crazy thought entered my head: I'll try and make a million dollars, by selling 1,000,000 pixels, for $1 each.
And so 'The Million Dollar Homepage' is born...
I thought, this could be something crazy enough to work! Because I think people like crazy/quirky ideas. If this captures people's imaginations and people check out the site, then the pixels on the homepage will have value - and people will buy them (to display their ads etc). That's the theory anyway. The way I see it though: I've got nothing to lose by trying. And I'm sure it'll be fun.
So anyway, I've spent the last few days building the site, registering the domain name, and working out a plan. I love making plans. And here is the result. Check out the freshly made FAQ for all the answers you'll ever need, and don't hesitate to buy some pixels!
Posted by Alex @ 4:24pm