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January 17, 2006

Pixels-For-Sale Site Spawns A Cottage Industry

Courtesy of TechWeb News

When Alex Tew created his milliondollarhomepage to get financing for his college education, it took him four months to collect his one million dollars, but along the way he may be creating something he hadn't counted on: one million Alex Tews.

Copycats galore are rushing to cash in on Tew's idea, and their pixel-selling approaches range from Ponzi-style get-rich-quick schemes to clever knockoffs promoting real estate. There's even a breast implant site.

There are some who believe that variations of the Tew approach of selling 1 million pixels for a $1 each can become an effective promotional vehicle.

Although the notion of one million pixel entrepreneurs may be distant, the number of Web citizens flocking to use and promote Tew's approach has strong early momentum.

"There's a lot of weird sites out there," said Glenn Maroney in an interview Tuesday. His site promises to give away $1 million after his site collects $1 million. "The site is three days old now. So far I've collected $2,625. I've already made my money back."

While there isn't an accurate count of pixels-for-sale sites, their number appears to be growing rapidly.

One French site reported it was getting an average of two new visitors a minute. Alex Tew's original Million Dollar Homepage site has been hit with coordinated distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, according to his hosting service, InfoRelay Online Systems.

Different entrepreneurs are trying different approaches to selling pixels, many for advertising purposes. A Pennsylvania-based entrepreneur is reserving pixel space solely for bloggers on his

Some sites are offering to help set up a pixels-for-sale sites--prices ranging from $35 to $45 have been spotted. Even real estate firms have entered the fray, offering sellers the ability to advertise their homes. But will anyone duplicate Alex Tew's success? "Tew did so well because his idea was so new," said Maroney, a computer hobbyist whose day job is inspecting tires for a tire manufacturer. "With thousands copying him, you're got to have a gimmick."

Maroney's "gimmick" is to promise to give away 537 cash prizes totaling $1 million in packages ranging from $500 to $100,000 after the site collects $1 million. He said the contest will run for four years to guarantee his sponsors will receive thousands of "click-thrus" a month for years to come.

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