Ryan's Blog

Monday, October 10, 2005

On September 5th, 2005, advertising as we all know it changed. An obscure 21 year old, Brit Alex Tew, seeking to earn money for college, sent out a press release on a free wire service announcing the launch of www.milliondollarhomepage.com. Tew decided to sell a million pixels, at a dollar apiece, to advertisers located on his home page. Yes, I said a pixel, which is no larger than the period at the end of this sentence. Each advertiser can buy as few as 100 pixels and, then using advertisements which look like little microchips, they drive customers to their web sites. If you click on the little ad squares, you are sent hurdling to the advertisers own web site--very unique I might ad.

When you go to the Million Dollar Homepage you are immediately attracted to the small ads, and I quickly found myself clicking away to find out who promoted on the site. Some advertisers bought blocks of 1000 pixels or even more, like the Golden Palace Casino. Advertisers are raving about the results. One advertiser, Sponge New Business based out of Essex, England, had this to say: "We tried Million Dollar Homepage because we were impressed at the level of ingenuity and the sheer simplicity of it. If we're honest, we didn't expect too much from it. Now, as a direct result, we are pitching for £18,000 GBP worth of new clients and have seen our site traffic increase over a hundred-fold. We're even going to have to upgrade our hosting facility! It's been exceptional", states Sponge founder, Steve Flair.

What seemed obvious to this reporter was the simplicity of the marketing plan. Tew sent out the press release which attracted eyeballs to the site. The novelty of the site did the rest. At the heart of campaign was the press appeal. Less than ten mentions with electronic and print media, as shown on the www.milliondollarhomepage.com web site, stirred up enough attention to get visitor momentum rolling. Then the blogosphere took care of the rest and the site went "viral".

The question is whether this is a fad, a gimmick, or a trend. Based on the people who are now copying, and even enhancing the Alex Tew creation, my guess is that this promotional service is here to stay. One of those follow up companies, InTouch Media Group (www.intouchmediagroup.com), a publicly traded online marketing company, just launched PixelBay.org which is a quantum leap above Million Dollar Homepage in terms of service offerings and visitor attraction. ITMG is using its breakthrough search engine based publicity generator, called Press Direct, to steer a tidal wave of visitors to its site (www.pixelbay.com).

Press Direct, on its own, is a killer application in terms of web site traffic generation. ITMG writes articles and press releases that are subsequently search engine optimized. The company then places the articles in over 100 huge article content hubs, serving hundreds of thousands of users daily. The articles then proliferate across the internet to literally thousands of other sites. The press release distribution cycle is then executed, potentially causing a wave of media activity. The PR value is potent, to say the least. When ITMG used Press Direct on one of its client, they generated an estimated 400 media pickups for the client in just 7 days. With this in mind, think about how much attention Tew produced for his site using just one press release that appears to have created less than a dozen media pick ups. When asked about this, the Chairman of InTouch Media Group, Bob Cefail, added this surprising statement, "Remember that we are well-known for our search engine marketing prowess as well." Cefail bluntly stated, "Our company was just awarded the highest professional level that Google gives out, so we fully intend to use our search engine marketing skills to drive a truly impressive number of visitors to Pixelbay. We'll supercharge our efforts with Press Direct."

Advertisers should be truly excited about Cefail's last claim. When these advertisers consider that In Touch Media Group plans to use both Press Direct and search engine marketing to drive traffic to PixelBay, they must be licking their chops.

The advertising world faces a challenging promotional environment with Tivo, and internet usage on the rise. Every advertiser is now having to develop new ways to get in front of potential customers. Pixel based micro ads are now becoming quite popular among the Echo generation (15-30 years old), and marketing savvy companies are developing micro-ad strategies involving sites like Million Dollar Homepage and PixelBay.org.

Cefail had one parting shot that struck a nerve with me. "20 million adult mails, ages 18-35, are on computers 20 hours a week. PixelBay.org intends to put micro-ads in every nook and cranny of the internet" Cefail boldly says. "And people will start clicking away to find out who the heck is on that micro chip ad. Just watch".

2 Comments:

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