In 2005, Alex Tew did something absolutely ridiculous. He registered MillionDollarHomepage.com and then sold pixels at $1 each, with a minimum 10×10 slot going for $100. He got tons of press, sold his million pixels, and it spawned a ton of copycats both with their own Million Dollar whatevers and scripts to build your own Million Dollar Homepage. The amazing part is that he sold them all.
I was reminded of it over the weekend and took a quick peek at the atrocious looking page. Then I wondered, seven years later, how many of these businesses were still in existence?
In total, 3,066 advertisers shelled out at least $100 a piece, some more, to get a little slice of internet heaven. The listed showed that the biggest buyer, which still shows “Pending Order,” paid $19,300 for their spot. I can’t tell who it might be just by looking at the site because RentPixelads.com is the largest (10,000 pixels) and nothing seems to jump out at me as being larger by 9300 pixels. If your guess is the long purple strip at the bottom talking about Pixel Ads free… that’s only 8600 pixels. There’s also a “Paid & Reserved” at 7900 that never was set up as a link.
Most Expensive Ad: RentPixelAds.com
RentPixelads.com is now a parked page on GoDaddy and shows you the risk of chasing a fad. Who knows what they used to sell (pixel advertising code?) and whether it was a positive ROI, but right now it’s a parked page that is probably doing nothing. Fads come and go and it has been many many years, so maybe the $10,000 was well spent. Maybe not.
For a stretch of several years, Golden Palace did everything in the book to drum up publicity. Every piece of burnt food (most famously, Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese for $28,000) or mold that looked like Jesus was theirs. Heck, they even purchased advertising on a woman’s face… she tattoo’d GoldenPalace.com on her forehead for $15,000. (there are plenty of GoldenPalace tattoo stories) They’re obviously still around and still kicking.
Who Is Still Around?
I checked the links based on the MillionDollarHomepage’s list of advertisers and, surprisingly, only 137 of them were considered “not found.” A good 81% were still up, seven years later, and a number that really surprised me. Many of the down sites are still owned domains (you can WHOIS them), they just don’t have anything on them.
Most interesting find was a little ad to RichByThirty.com, the homepage of personal finance writer Lesley Scorgie, an author I’ve reviewed on Bargaineering before. It’s a gem among the pixel, gambling, hosting, and eBay stores that jumped on the bandwagon.
It was fun to travel back into the internet time machine… I was glad to see the Million Dollar Homepage is still around. 🙂