The idea is simple: to try and make $1m (US) by selling 1,000,000 pixels for $1 each. Hence, 'The Million Dollar Homepage". The main motivation for doing this is to pay for my degree studies, because I don't like the idea of graduating with a huge student debt. I know people who are paying off student loans 15-20 years after they graduated. Not a nice thought!
So, everyone is welcome to buy my pixels, which are available in 100-pixel 'blocks' (each measuring 10x10 pixels). You will see the homepage is divided into 10,000 of these 100-pixel blocks (hence there are 1,000,000 pixels in total). The reason for selling them in 100-pixel blocks is because anything smaller would be too small to display anything meaningful.
You can buy as many pixels as you like, as long as there are some available (see the live stats in the top right corner of the page). When you buy some pixels, you can then display an image/ad/logo of your choice in the space you have purchased. You can also have the image click through to your own website. However, no obscene or offensive images are allowed.
The pixels you buy will be displayed on the homepage permanently. The homepage will not change. Using some of the money I make from the site, I guarantee to keep it online for at least 5 years, but hopefully much longer. I want it to become a kind of internet time capsule. So, in the long run, I believe the pixels will offer good value. You will have a piece of internet history!
My name is Alex Tew, I'm 21 years old and I live in a small town in Wiltshire, England. I'll be starting at University in England at the end of September, where I will be reading Business Management. I'm going to Uni a little later than normal (I will technically be a mature student), but I'm really looking forward to it. Infact, I can't wait. But Uni is not cheap, and faced with the prospect of graduating after 3 years with a huge debt, I thought I'd try and make some money ($1m should do the trick!)
I am completely genuine and although this site might be funny in various ways, it is not a joke! I really am selling pixels for $1 each, because I don't want a monstrous debt when I graduate. I am pixel hustler and proud!
Some people have even asked if I am actually 21 and going to University. Fair question I guess. The answer is of course yes, as this photo of me and my uni acceptance form should prove to any doubters:
For non-UK folks, 'UCAS' is the 'Universities and Colleges Admissions Service' who, as the name suggests, handle all University admissions in the UK. Forgive me for deliberately blurring out my address :)
It was a muggy summer's night late in August (2005), the time around midnight, and there I was, lying on my bed with a notepad, brainstorming ideas to make money for uni. I think I'm quite a creative person, so I wanted to come up with an idea that was unique and would hopefully capture people's imagination, but with the whole purpose of making money. No point being shy about it! I think we brits can sometimes be too shy about money. Well bugger that, I DO NOT want to be a broke student!
So anyway, after an hour of two of jotting random things on paper, the idea seemingly popped out of nowhere. Almost like my subconscious mind had been ticking over in the background, working it all out. So it just kind of happened. That's about it. I scribbled it down and within about 10 minutes a picture of what needed to be done had emerged.
I don't. Textbooks might be expensive, but they're not that steep! But with this project I knew I had to aim high - my thinking being that even if I only got 1 or 2 percent of a million dollars, that would sort me out.
Infact, making any money whatsoever by selling pixels had to be worth a try. Afterall, I had plenty of pixels to start with! Furthermore, I knew the site had to be 'The Million Dollar Homepage' in order to catch people's attention - anything else just wouldn't cut it, eg. '$100,000 Homepage'. Er... no.
First and foremost, if I make enough money, I will pay my way through University. That includes 3 years worth of tuition fees, accomodation fees, textbooks etc, and [god forbid] - having a social life!
After that, I would like to pay for my parents to have some time off because they work so hard and they deserve a break. I would like to return some of the support they have given me over all these years.
Thirdly... socks! I definitely need some new socks. Whenever I buy new ones they seem to disappear, or they disintegrate. So I want to buy some really expensive, long-lasting socks.
Finally... if I reach the $1m target and still have money left over after buying my swanky new socks, then I have a couple of interesting business ideas I would love to invest some money in. So watch this space!
Because you will have an image and a link to your site on the homepage of a site that could potentially be seen by millions of people over the coming years. The site will be online for at least 5 years, that's guaranteed, but the idea is to keep it online forever. So you really could own a piece of 'internet history'!
I decided that although it would probably be cool if individuals could buy a single pixel each, in practise, it wouldn't so effective. The reason I believe this is because you can't display anything meaningful in one pixel - nor click it easily - so visually, it would be pointless. With thousands of random tiny coloured dots all over the place, the homepage would look gastly.
I also thought that the site would appeal more to people with businesses/websites to advertise than it would to individuals, or to put it more accurately, businesses would pay more to have a meaningful graphic on the homepage. Hence the minimum purchase is $100 - a 10x10 block.
However! If you really want to own a single pixel, there is always the option of clubbing together with your friends/family/colleauges and buying a 10x10 block.
The site will be online for 5 years guaranteed (at least until 26th August 2010), however the aim is to keep the site online forever (or as long as humanly possible).
The idea is to create something of an internet time capsule: a homepage that is unique and permanent. Everything on the internet keeps changing so fast, it will be nice to have something that stays solid and permanent for many years. You can be a part of that!
I think US dollars are the closest thing we have to a universal currency on the internet, so it made more sense to do it in dollars. 'The Million Pound Homepage' just doesn't have the same ring to it!
Also, given that the US has the largest online population in the world, more people will be able to relate to the concept than had I done it in British pounds. Plus, £1 GBP per pixel would probably be too expensive (would equate to around $1.80 US per pixel).
Although I've done many different jobs in the past, it's not really how my brain likes to work. My natural disposition is to think of ideas, and I like to create interesting things and ways of doing things. Plus this is much more fun to do, with a potential higher reward. That's not a cop-out, honest guv!
Not at all. It is bound to happen (this is the internet afterall), and infact, I think it will work in my favour. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So I think any copy-cat sites will only have pure comedy value, whereas mine possibly has a bit of comedy PLUS some actual pull in terms of advertising dollars (I will be able to afford swanky socks, they will only get to buy crappy ones probably! They could have my old ones, if they like).
So I say good luck to the imitators! While in my opinion it's not very cool - I would prefer to come up with something original - in many ways the act of copying (perhaps more on a subconcious level than anything) is the basis of all creativity. But yeah, really bad rip-offs are seriously lame - I mean, if you're gonna copy the concept, at least come up with your own design and text!