Sunday’s Inspiration: The Bournemouth Millionaire

million dollar homepage

Sunday’s Inspiration: The Million Dollar Homepage.

Today on Sunday’s Inspiration I cast my mind back to my time spent working, living, studying and, well, drinking in Bournemouth, Dorset, England. I like to reflect on things. I’m a sentimental person and while I’m not stuck to the past I’m very much aware that without what’s gone before, we wouldn’t be where we are now. There was a University Lecturer called Brian Kay. He taught me Finance. As part of my PR degree he taught us some quite basic finance and apart from working in a bank, this was my first exposure to the land of money that I became aware of. I actually loved Brian’s lectures and went almost every time. My university attendance was fairly bad so the fact my attendance to Finance lectures was almost 100% must have baffled those around me. For me it was about the value of the lecture and the lecturer himself. I wasn’t the best university student for grades or attendance but I don’t regret it at all. I was too busy living. As you do.

“Damn my education I can’t find the words to say” – Liam Gallagher

bournemouth millionaire

Bournemouth – where I studied and first heard the story of Alex Tew – the million dollar homepage creator.

One story from Brian Kay’s lectures stood out, stuck with me and inspired me, to this day I still think about it. It’s a similar idea to the red paper clip guy, almost 10years ago now… Have you heard the one about the Bournemouth Millionaire? Well, he’s not even from Bournemouth but it just sounded better as he once studied there and so did I. OK so I lied in the title – it’s not an actual ‘Bournemouth’ millionaire, but I learnt of the story in ‘the Mouth’ and loved here. Here’s a brief overview, you can google more online if you are interested in this little anecdote.

Enter Alex Tew, who aged 21 back in 2005 became an internet millionaire. At the time I knew about this phenomenon through studying in Bournemouth. A young student who decided to fund his university degree by setting up a website called “The Million Dollar Homepage“. Basically the homepage has 1,000,000 pixels on it and each pixel would cost any potential advertiser just $1 US. For that price they would get an immediate link back to their site. However the pixels were so small that to have a proper viewable message on there, you’d need to buy a block of 10 x 10 pixels, costing $100 US. Still not that much money for a big company to have their logo, name or link on there.

alex tew million dollar pixels

Alex Tew – Million Dollar Pixel Guy.

Gradually advertisers paid for it, they paid for the links, the idea spread like wildfire, Alex Tew was front page news and he had done it, it became an internet phenomenon and Alex Tew took it all in his stride, becoming an internet millionaire within a few months. Bang. Have some of that.

Care of Wall Street Journal:

Alex Tew pledged to keep the site live for at least five years and to close the page when his goal of one million dollars was reached. “I had to think big,” he said at the time. He made his million and the page still survives.

When you think about it, the notion seemed absurd. Who would want to advertise on an unknown site that had no target audience, no track record of attracting visitors or even the slightest brand recognition?

But yet the advertisers took to it like wildfire, as did the media and the million dollar homepage was a massive success. In under a year Alex Tew was a millionaire, he took a break from uni and has never looked back. He develops and works on other projects now. He lives the life he wants.

I love this little tale of the “Bournemouth Millionaire”. Right now, I don’t aspire to replicate the Bournemouth millionaire money wise, but I certainly live each day to experience the things that we believe being a millionaire can bring you. That much I believe in. Endless travel, trips to the World Cup, eating whatever food you want, being able to afford to drink with your mates, fly anywhere at the drop of a hat etc. I’m out here exploring the world and experiencing my life to the full and I’m not even a “Hundred-aire” never mind a “millionaire”. If Alex Tew can do it, Jonny Blair can do it. If I can do it, you can do it!

So there it is today – another piece of truly inspirational magic which started from a website. You never know how far an idea can take you. While Don’t Stop Living isn’t unique, it’s a travel blog I started on my travels back in 2007 and has gone from strength to strength and is now my main outlet for work and income source.

Aim high my friends, the next ‘Bournemouth Millionaire’ could be you…

“This time next year we’ll be millionaires” – Derek Trotter

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2 thoughts on “Sunday’s Inspiration: The Bournemouth Millionaire

  • I’ve just spent an hour looking through that homepage at the various different adds – It’s mesmerizing!!!! (Also my eyes are now hurting) Such a clever, yet simple advertising strategy. Hats of to the guy for doing it!

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