Pixel Advertising

Example of Pixel Advertising Website
Example of Pixel Advertising Website

Pixel Advertising is a new trend in online advertising that was created by a British college student looking for a way to get rich. The idea of Pixels Advertising is to create a website, and sell advertising space through pixels instead of traditional online methods such as banner ads. Pixels can be bought in blocks of 100 pixels for a set amount of money per pixel, usually $1. The website is comprised of a 1000 x 1000 pixel slab, making 1,000,000 total pixels available to be bought. This makes it good for both large companies who can afford large amounts of pixels, as well as smaller companies who can still afford to get their logo on the website next to big name companies. The advertiser gets to choose the block shape and the location on the screen that the advertisement goes. Since the British student, Alex Tew, revealed his website, milliondollarhomepage.com , there have been hundreds of knock-offs of this kind of website. (Bounds, 2005) These ads are also known as micro-graphical ads.

Million Dollar Homepage
Million Dollar Homepage

Reasons Why
The main drawing point to Pixel Advertising is the relatively low cost for advertising space, the advertisement is permanent, and can adjust to any budget. Small companies have a chance to have their logo right next to a popular brand and even have it bigger. Companies with extremely low budgets that couldn't even afford advertising before, now do not have to borrow money to advertise, yet still see results. (Bounds, 2005) Small companies and start up companies now have the chance to place a link to their website on a page that they know customers are looking for new product or service websites. (Some websites facilitate the ease of finding different service by sorting advertisements into categories such as sports, travel, beauty, etc.) Since the ads are always placed on a main page, instead of using banners, this type of advertising is accessible worldwide 24/7/365. Although the internet is the most effective means to communicate a message by using graphics, sounds, images, videos and animations, advertisements with written text are viewed more intently than others. This is good news for pixel advertising because advertisements on pixel advertising is limited to graphics and text. Another reason that pixel advertising may inadvertently be better for viewership than other internet sources is because the advertisements on the pixel website are usually pretty small. Smaller text increases focus among viewership (Bauknecht, Proll & Werthner, 2006).

This is an example of a website with different categories.

The biggest limitation for Pixel Advertising is its audience. Most crucially, the audience must directly go the Pixel Advertising website. This means only people who know about this kind of media will be looking. Because Pixel Advertising websites are only used for the purpose of placing ads on the screen, it is extremely difficult to drive traffic to the website. Since the popular milliondollarhomepage.com took off, there have been thousands of knock-offs (Vossen, G, Long, D, & Xu, J, (2009). According to pixelsitelinks.com, there are over 2,575 different pixel advertising websites. This causes it to be even harder to nail down which pixel advertising websites are the best to place your ad on and which ones drive the most traffic, and which ones drive no traffic through their website at all. Alex Tew, the British student who started the pixel advertising phenomenon, even said himself to the Financial Times, "The idea only works once and relies on novelty." In addition to these problems, it is also prone to crashing and even hi-jacking. Hackers broke into the site in 2006 and emailed the creator Alex Tew and demanded $50,000 to restore the website. (Business, 2006).

This is an example of a knock-off Pixel website called Saudibox.com

Pixel Advertising pages originally started out with a $1 per 1 pixel fee. However, many sites now have differing prices, all the way down to $.01 per pixel. Milliondollarhomepage.com soon saw competition from millionpennyhomepage.com. Thepixelwars.com set out to help advertisers match which site is right for them by listing the different websites prices and currency they use. The fee is one time only fee, not recurring, so once a block of pixels is bought, the advertisement stays on that homepage for as long as the website exists. Since pixels on the computer screen are extremely small, usually a minimum of 100 pixels can be bought and a maximum unlimited amount of pixels until the page gets completely filled.

Reach and Frequency
Because there is such a large amount of Pixel Advertising websites, it is unfortunately getting harder and harder to have this become a useful medium to advertise on. The first few websites such as milliondollarhomepage.com and moneypants.com had advertisers see traffic in their website jump. One advertiser saw a 13% jump in traffic on their website very shortly after buying 1,500 pixels from moneypants.com, however many websites now have trouble attracting advertisers and visitors to come to their website simply from the fact that there are so many different Pixel Advertising websites now. (Bounds, 2005)

Because there is no recurring fee and it is is one time only, the advertisements are on the website forever. This allows advertisers to pay a small one time fee and forget about that medium of advertising. Once on the pixel websites, the advertisements cannot come down and once the page is filled, the pixel websites will not take any other advertisements. The permanence of these advertisements is a huge incentive considering the low price. The advertised websites can still be having traffic directed to them 20 years from now, all from a $100 advertising purchase.

Pixel Advertising does not impact advertising companies greatly; however, the extremely low cost of it still is a great niche for advertisers to gain marginal amounts of extra traffic to their website, increasing their brand awareness. Although it is usually a minute change in brand awareness and traffic, the outcome is worth the low price that it costs to place your ad on these websites.

Companies Using This Advertising
Although many advertisements on pixel websites come from small companies, many large companies have got in on the action too. With a higher budget, companies such as Ford, Mitsubishi Electric and Ikea are able to buy big ads on the most popular pixel sites. Saudibox.com, although mostly advertised by Islamic companies, has attracted these three big companies. Other noticeable names that use this site are Absinthe and Chippendales.


Bauknecht, K., Proll, B., & Werthner, H., An Improved Web System for Pixel Advertising. E-Commerce and Web Technologies. 7th International Conference. Sept. 5-7, 2006.

Bounds, Gwedolyn. (2005, November 22). How Selling Pixels May Yield A Million Bucks. The Wall Street Journal. B-1. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB113261806930503580-6ouqX6NSpgTBkHu4ln_7CpHXbBk_20061122.html?mod=blogs

Busines. (2006, January 21). Financial Times. Retrieved from http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c65030d0-8a22-11da-86d1-0000779e2340.html#axzz17RnRDHQ7

Retrieved from http://www.milliondollarhomepage.com/

Retrieved from http://www.millionpennyhomepage.com/

Retrieved from http://www.pixelsitelinks.com/

Retrieved from http://www.thepixelwars.com/

Vossen, G, Long, D, & Xu, J, (2009) Web Information Systems Engineering - Wise 2009: 10th International Conference, Ponzen, Poland, Oct 5-7, 2009, Proceedings, Springer-Verlag New York Inc.