Inside money, markets, and Big Tech

This article was published on January 29, 2008


    Mr. Million Dollar Homepage makes a living with ‘stupid ideas’

    Mr. Million Dollar Homepage makes a living with ‘stupid ideas’
    Ernst-Jan Pfauth
    Story by

    Ernst-Jan Pfauth

    Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

    Remember the story of Alex Tew and his Million Dollar Homepage? Sure you do. Who doesn’t? The then 21-year old English student who needed some money for his study, and decided to sell pixels for 1 dollar each. He made 1,037,100 dollars. It’s the kind of story that makes us people go: “I wish I came up with that!”. We think about it once in a while, trying to come up with our brilliant idea. In the end we just let it go and go on with our lives, knowing that those kind of ideas might pop up someday…

    alextewAlex Tew however, announced in December 2006 he would try to the same thing again: “The pixels are coming back!” Instead of selling each pixel for 1 dollar, he planned to sell each pixel for 2 dollars. The site was called Pixelotto, since he also organized a lottery where the winner who clicked the right advertisement would win 1 million dollars.

    TechCrunch’s Natali Del Conte called it ‘just a stupid idea‘. Of course she said that, we probably all thought about it that way. You simply don’t want ONE person to have TWO stupid but brilliant ideas. So, how did mr. Tew do?

    Our WebTipr in China Doron Vermaat mailed me last night that he received an e-mail from Alex Tew, saying that Pixelotto had come to an end. The winner, Mr K. Moguche from Kenya, has won ‘just’ 153,000 dollars. And although Moguche will buy a house for his wife and three sons, Pixelotto sounds a bit like a failure.., right?

    Well, he didn’t make a million bucks again. But if you consider that he earned 153,000 dollars in a year, he still is a lucky guy. The purchasing power parity of the average Englishman in 2007 was 35,300 dollars, you do the math! Mr. Million Dollar Homepage isn’t making a million dollars per year anymore, but he can still make a fairly good living from ‘just a stupid idea’.