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New Twist to a Million Dollar Idea

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January 13, 2006

milliondollar

I read a story from Reuters by Peter Graff (12/29/05) about a 21-year-old student named Alex Tew who came up with a scheme to earn a million dollars in advertising revenue by selling space on his homepage pixel by pixel, a dollar each per square. So for example, a 10 dot by 10 dot spot, representing the average size of a standard font letter, costs $100. It's a simple plan that has allowed him to sell approximately 911 800 pixels based out of his home in Wiltshire, southwest England. You can check out his page at milliondollarhomepage. As the journalist described it, it kind of looks like an online version of Times Square covered in blinking banners and flashing advertising headlines.

As is so often the case with any successful concept that's both original and simplistic, someone decided to copy it and make it a more complicated. I found a link on DavesDaily, to another pixel-based sell-off site, Buyitoff. The twist, as is common with both the internet and advertising in general, is sex. Unlike the original pixel-seller and perhaps reminiscent of Times Square's previously racy reputation, Buy It Off doesn't use a plain background on its homepage. Instead, there is a beautiful model named Monica wearing a tight sweater and equally tight blue jeans. As one buys pixels, instead of covering the space with a garish ad, it removes part of the woman's clothing to reveal whatever lies below. When you click on a bare patch of skin, a popup display shows the purchaser's company and a brief description of services it offered.

Unless you plan to buy several hundred thousand dollars worth of advertising space, there isn't much to see so far. A little bare arm and a small bit below the right side of Monica's breast are exposed. Although, I normally deplore copycats, I have to say that if successful, the rise in profits should equal a rise in libido for us all.

Posted by Will Peters at January 13, 2006 1:51 AM

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