College entrepreneur, Alex Tew, of Wiltshire, England, has auctioned off the final 1000 pixels on his web-based billboard, the Million Dollar Homepage. The eBay auction ended last week with a high bid of $38,100 by Elijah Klige for a link to MillionDollarWeightLoss.com. When the site began last August, the price for pixel space was set at a dollar per pixel, each block of pixels representing 100 pixels. Those who bought one of the 10,000 blocks available were signified by hyperlinked graphic.
Tew conceived the Million Dollar Homepage as a way to earn money upfront for his impending bursar bill, before attending the University of England this past fall. Tew’s concept has been copied by a host of others and has been the object of much media coverage.
On January 7th, just after the much publicized eBay auction, a band of extortionists, calling themselves The Black Group, threatened to hack the site and initiate a Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) which affects third party users, if they were not paid $50,000 in 72 hours. Tew reports that he has denied payment, and FBI is currently investigating, since the extortionists’ messages were traced back to the United States. He also says that his hosting company has resolved the problem and the page is up and running.