How to get rich quick

Let’s face it. Some people have really good ideas that make them lots of money. Unfortunately I’m just not that clever/lucky/devious.

A few minutes back I was recounting a story to my wife about someone who sold a leaky tent on eBay, telling people how bad it was, that it had enough water in it when the morning came to make a cup of tea and a boil in the bag meal, starting off at 99p and finally selling it for something like £300 (I wish I could find the link to put it here!), when she told me about another story which appeared on this morning’s BBC Breakfast news.

Basically, a student called Alex Tew came up with the idea of selling advertising space on his home page for $1 a pixel (total 1 million pixels, with a minimum purchase of a 10×10 block) to help him meet the cost of getting through uni’ (and then some, unless Student Union prices have gone up a bit since my days at the University of Glamorgan in the early 90s!). He plans to leave the site online for ever (but has committed to 5 years) and so at the time of writing has sold 437,500 pixels (in just under two months) .

Of course the idea is flawed – it’s all fuelled by the press interest and once the initial interest has died down, there is no reason to visit the site but it’s a great idea. $437,500 is about £236,250 – about what we paid for our 4-bedroom house three years ago! Even with hosting costs and taxes taking a chunk out of the total, it’s still a tidy profit.

Bloody students!

(Of course, I’m only joking. And jealous!)

Actually, I say good on him for coming up with the original idea. As Alex notes in his FAQ page, there’s bound to be copycat sites but The Million Dollar Homepage will always be the first to have made it big – I just like the way he signs off the FAQ piece about copycats: “Am I bothered?” (for those reading this from outside the UK, that’s a reference to “Lauren, the modern-day schoolgirl constantly troubled by current parlance and infecting the country with the catchphrase ‘Am I bovvered?'”, in the BBC’s Catherine Tate Show).

You can read the whole story since the site was set up at the end of August 2005 on The Million Dollar Blog

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