The College Kid Who Made $1,037,100 in Five Months with One Web Page

Alex Tew The Million Dollar Homepage

Ever Heard of Alex Tew?

Kid generated $1,037,100 in five months with one web page.

He was 21 at the time. About to start his business degree and was afraid of impending student loan debt. So he had an idea. A very simple idea. The idea was so simple in its execution that it made the 21 year old a millionaire.

His idea. Build a webpage and sell off space a pixel at a time. One million pixels at a buck a piece. Simple right?

The pixels were tiny little empty spaces waiting to be filled with ads that pointed to other websites.  He laid the pixels out on a grid and offered them for sale in 100 pixel blocks (anything smaller would have been too hard to see on a computer screen). The minimum purchase would be $100 and the site would sell out after 10,000 blocks of 100 were gone.  He called it The Million Dollar Homepage.

But why would anyone be interested in buying webspace on a brand new site with zero traffic? Not to mention traffic that wasn’t even targeted.

Failure be damned. He was going to throw his idea up on the wall and see if it stuck.  The cost of entry was minimal and the payoff…well…

72 hours after the site went live, Tew managed to get a friend to purchase 400 pixels in a 20×20 block.  A few more sales later and Tew had netted $1,000. Time for a press release. The story was picked up by the BBC…and then The Register…and two months later the site had sold over a half million pixels. This generated even more buzz and even more traffic.  Three months later it was sold out. The extra money made beyond the $1M was from an eBay auction of the last 1,000 pixels on the site.

How did this phenomenon occur?

It’s what Seth Godin calls the “Vacuum Effect” in his book Unleashing the Ideavirus. Science defines a vacuum as a space devoid of matter…and the universe abhors a vacuum…rushing in to fill it up as quick as it can.  What Alex had done was invented an online advertising platform that no one had ever invented before. It existed in its own vacuum. Tew was able to capture 100% of the pixel sales market because he invented it. There was no other competition. It worked because it was novel at the time and it completely filled up a vacuum.

How many ideas do you have that you’re not taking action on because you’re afraid to fail?  100% of the ideas you don’t take action on will not come to fruition.  I like to think that there’s no such thing as failure. If I try and fail, I’m not in any different a situation than I was before I tried.  I’m still the same. Except maybe I learned something.

Take action on your ideas. I can’t wait to see what you come up with…

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