Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Miilion Dollars Worth Of Pixels

Alex Tew literally has a million dollar homepage.

He has been selling ad space on this webpage in 10x10 pixel blocks for a dollar per pixel. He is doing this for no reason other than to not have to take out student loans, send his parents on holiday, and get a decent pair of socks. The usual cabal of shysters and gimballed inhabitants of the Internets like poker sites, car salesmen and dating services has snapped up space for no reason other than because it is there. The site is ostensibly marketed as a time capsule for the Internet. He has seen an Alexa rank of upto 127, a Google PageRank of 7, and much publicity.
As part of this gimmick, he is now auctioning the last 1000 pixels on eBay UK, open only to pre-registered bidders. Bidding is up to approximately $1825 and there are nine days left in the auction.

Various imitators have sprung up in this hopefully short-lived genre of internet publicity. Altruistic critics opine that this could be an innovative way of raising money for worthwhile causes like poverty, hunger, or dinner with Paris Hilton. One man's meat is another's poison, and as the history of advertising proves, if one builds a billboard, it will be sold.

Technically speaking, advertisers are buying less than a pixel each. Since most browsers will be visiting with their phasers set to stun, and their resolution at between 800x600 and 1024x768, the most common set of pixels visible will be between 480000 and 786432. Thus some of the advertisers will be squeezed into a smaller space. Further, as most people who have bought a digital camera know, a megapixel is the unit of measurement, which is commonly considered one million pixels, although it is actually 1048576 pixels. A relevant essay is "A Pixel Is Not A Little Square" by Microsoftie and graphics pioneer Alvy Ray Smith.

If you've got a penny, I can sell you a pixel on my web-page. I promise to nurture it. That pixel could be worth at least two dozen CNN pixels in a few years.

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