Six years later, travel spin put on the infamous Million Dollar Homepage
In 2005 the Million Dollar Homepage captured the imagination of the general public, not least because the person behind it was a 21 year old trying to pay his way through university.
Alex Tew created a web page of one million individual “pixels” and sold each one (or multiples of blocks) to a different advertiser for $1 each.
While some seasoned web entrepreneurs might have sniffed snobbishly at such a simple idea, mainstream media lapped it up primarily due to Tew’s fresh faced innocence and because it was, well, simple. And it did eventually achieve its goal (despite security attacks).
Alcatraz Media, based in San Francisco (where , ironically, Tew ended up with Monkey Inferno), is trying to regurgitate interest in the idea by selling pixels in blocks of 10×10 to travel, tourism and hospitality companies.
The concept is exactly the same – companies buy space, get a tiny logo and a link, and the page stays up for at least three years. Pixels cost $50 for a block of 10×10, half the price of Tew’s original.
Alcatraz, which is using the Reserve123 brand as a front for the project, has curiously omitted to mention Tew’s pioneering concept at all in the promotion of TourMillion, only responding to a tweet that it “…loved 2005. Wish we could all travel back in time and relive our youth”.
“The copycats are all competing with each other. They have very little ads, therefore I guess it’s not going too well for them. The idea only works once and relies on novelty… any copycat sites will only have pure comedy value, whereas mine possibly has a bit of comedy PLUS some actual pull in advertising dollars… so I say good luck to the imitators!”
So sure of the outcome that Alcatraz bosses are already calling it a chance to “create history within the travel industry”.
Tnooz will be checking back regularly…
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and publishes his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - in 2015.