Pixel Sites…everyone’s jumping on the band wagon

Not a day goes by when I don’t get an email or see a site pushing yet another pixel advertising site but are these really a good advertising venue or is everyone just jumping on the band wagon expecting to make a few quick bucks or even get rich.

A search on Google for pixel sites gives 22,7000 results. The rage started when a 21 year old from England launched an advertising site where you paid $1 per pixel of advertising and the page was divided into 1,000,000 pixels. The advertising sold out and the guy made a cool million dollars! And get this the last remaining 1000 pixels were sold on ebay for a staggering $38,100!

The original site – The Million Dollar Homepage was launched on 26th August 2005. The guy then emailed all his friends and told them to pass on details of his site to their friends and so on…and then he sold his first 400 pixels for $400. At this stage the site was getting around 100 hits a day so he started to contact the press. An IT news site picked it up and ran an article resulting in 2000 hits an hour, it got ranked by Google and the hits went up to 35,000 a day.

And as the ball started rolling the visitors to the site increased, more pixels were sold, the guy made more money and the press interest increased. The site was getting over 100,000 unique visitors in 2 days and the UK nationals ran stories on the site. Then the story found its way into US papers, TV appearances followed and so on….publicity generates publicity. The site was getting hundreds of thousands of unique visitors and advertisers were seeing a good click through rate for their adverts.

Further TV interviews and radio interviews followed, Reuters ran an article on the site, as did the Wall Street Journal. With the last few remaining pixels auctioned on eBay the guy made is million dollars on 11th January 2006 – less of course any costs he incurred.

And then of course, the site was hacked and money demanded (which the FBI are currently investigating) but even this led to more media interest.

By the end of October 2005 hundreds of copy cat sites had started to spring up. Now there are thousands of them if not more. Have you visited any of these – most have no adverts on them, no traffic and no one in their right mind would choose to advertise on them.

So why have thousands of others thought they could hop on the bandwagon and make a quick $1,000,000? This guy had an unprecedented level of media attention, driving thousands and thousands of visitors to the site.

Even the guy behind the Million Dollar Home Page pixel site acknowledges that it is not a lasting business idea but a novel one off idea. There is no long term business concept and it will only work once. How long it will take those jumping on the pixel bandwagon to realise this – who knows!