This is what pure commerce looks like

  Gaming the system
By MIKE MILIARD  |  January 28, 2010

When last we checked in with Alex Tew (see “The New Web Geniuses,” News and Features, August 25), the 22-year-old Brit — whose ingenious made him a millionaire in barely four months — confided to us that he was hard at work on a “top secret” project he aimed to launch before the year was out. It was something, he said, that “could be really big.”

Well, here we are in the last month of 2006 and the new project has been unveiled. And, guess what? It is big. And it could make you a millionaire. is a free lottery with a $1 million prize. All you have to do is register — and then get to clickin’. You can click 10 times a day for as many days as you want. The more ads you view, the better your chances.

This time around, Tew is charging advertisers $2 per pixel, with a minimum purchase of a ten-by-tenpixel square. One month after $2 million worth of ad space is sold, an ad will be randomly chosen and a winner selected from everyone who’s clicked on it. That person will then be a millionaire.

He or she can alsoselect a charity of their choice to receive an additional $100,000. The $900 grand that’s left over will go to Pixelotto. (On the slim chance the site doesn’t sell out within the next year, the jackpot will be half of whatever revenue has been raised up to that point, and the charitable contribution will be ten percent of that.)

Pixelotto’s pinch of charity aside, it’s distilled commercial purity: pure, unadorned gambling meets pure, content-less advertising.

“I thought it’d be cool to turn the tables,” Tew e-mails from the UK. “It was one of many ideas I had after Million Dollar Homepage sold out: offer someone else the chance to become a millionaire, while at the same time create a fun business.”

But you’d better get clicking. In less than a week, he’s already sold $275,000 worth of pixels and “the site’s traffic has gone through the roof.” On the day of its launch, Pixelotto was the 450th most visited site on the Web. The Internet’s power, Tew says, “is incredible.” Yes. But only as incredible as the ideas forwhich it’s being used.

Related: The new Web geniuses, Saying “No más!” to MASSPIRG, Anarchy in Medford, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , Alex Tew
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