Over the last month a new website created by 21 year old student (Alex Tew) has had a phenomenal impact on the internet advertising world. You may have heard of milliondollarhomepage.com. If not, it is a very simple concept for online advertising. Advertisers can buy pixels on the homepage for $1 a pixel. The minimum order is 100 pixels and with this the advertiser gets a small image that links from the Milliondollarhomepage to the advertiser’s site.
Now this alone isn’t what made the site successful. Granted it’s a unique twist on internet advertising, but lets be honest it’s hardly remarkable. People have been selling spaces for banners on websites for years. For this site to be successful it needed one key ingredient, and that is traffic. Hundreds of thousands of people needed to visit this site to give the advertisers value for money.
So the young student who came up with the idea submitted a press release, and sold a story like any good marketer would. How he was only 21 and came up with this simple website to pay his way through university. Fortunately for him the worlds press found his release and published it, as it was a good story. This meant more people visited the site, and the website traffic increased. In turn more journalists picked up on the story and published it. The result was a viral explosion in traffic which meant many people bought advertising space and it is fair to say the site has been highly successful.
So is this the new advertising medium of the internet? I am afraid this author doesn’t believe so. Once the hype starts to die down, and the story is no longer new, the press will begin to publish fewer articles on it, and less people will visit the site. This in turn will lead to even fewer articles being published in the worlds press, leading to even fewer visitors. This cycle will continue and what originally made this website successful (viral marketing) will ultimately lead to its death.
What can internet marketers learn from this? The best way to promote any new internet venture is to make an interesting story about it, submit articles and press releases, and if the story is good enough, watch the viral explosion in visitors.
Of course for long term growth the new site or service has to be good enough to provide value to visitors, and not just a fad that captures people’s short term interest. I wish Alex Tew all the best, but I think he too will accept that this is not a long term business that can go anywhere from here.