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The Million Dollar Homepage is a website created in 2005 for Alex Tewa student from Wiltshire, England, with the aim of raising money for his university education.
The web page consists of a million pixels in a grid of 1000×1000 pixels. Each pixel was sold for 1 dollar in blocks of 10×10. The buyers of the blocks provided small images to show them in the blocks and a link to the buyer’s website.
The web site was very successful, even reaching the Alexa classification of web traffic with a score of 127. As of May 9, 2009, 35,983 had been reachedpero in May of 2014 bajó hasta 47,601.
From January 2006, the last 1000 available pixels were auctioned on eBay. The auction closed on January 11 with a bid of 38,100 dollars, which brought the final tally to 1,037,100 dollars in gross revenue.
During the 2006 auction, the website suffered a denial of service attack and a rescue request, so the page was inaccessible for a week while its security system was improved. The FBI and the Whitshire police are investigating the attack.
“From the beginning I knew that the idea had potential, but it was one of those things that could have taken any form. Mi pensamiento era que no tenía nada que perder (aparte de los 50 euros para comprar el dominio y mantener el serverido). I knew that the idea would create great interest quickly… The Internet is a very powerful medium.”, said Alex Tew, from February 22, 2006.
Since the pixels are very small to see easily, they were sold in blocks of 100 pixels, 10×10, so the minimum price then was 100 dollars. The first sale of the website occurred three days after it began to function, being a music page directed by a friend of Tew, who bought 400 pixels in a block of 20×20.
After two weeks, Tew’s friends and family had bought a total of 4,700 pixels. The site was only promoted among its friends, its appearance in the media, until the page The Register, specialized in technology news, published two articles in The Million Dollar Homepage. At the end of the month, the page had received 250 thousand dollars and was in position number 3 in an Alexa Internet list, behind the most shared websites that week.
At the end of the year, Tew informed that his site received 25 thousand visits every hourfinding itself in the 127th position of the Alexa ranking and which had sold 999 thousand pixels.
The website became an Internet phenomenon, Tew was interviewed by various media and his idea was cataloged as genius and brilliant.
Before this popularity, Tew received an email from an organization called The Dark Group, who informed him that his page would be the victim of a denial of service (DDoS) attack, if he did not pay a ransom of 5 thousand dollars for January 10, 2006. Tew believed that it was a deception, but the following week, he received a second threat, “Hello, your web page is under our attack, to stop it we send 50 thousand dollars”.
Tew again ignored the threat, so the site was flooded with additional traffic and electronic mail, causing it to collapse.
In 2017, more than ten years later, similar websites are appearing that sell pixels for youtubers and bloggers from all over the world.
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