Lame Pixel Ads

This whole pixel ad thing is getting lame pretty quickly. Pixel ads, for those who haven’t been following, are web pages where each pixel of the screen is sold as ad space. It worked well for UK student Alex Tew, who made $1 million from his aptly named  MillionDollarHomepage.com. As with all things involving money, people quickly saw a quick buck. The only problem is: Tew didn’t make his money because he sold pixel space, he made money because of the buzz he created about his new idea.

This hasn’t stopped folks. Google Pixel ads and you get 8 sponsored ads and nearly 900,000 hits, including BuckAPixel.com, MillionPixelClick.com and ChistrianPixelAds.com. Here’s the latest “twist”: Mosaicpixelads.com., which claims to have an edge by creating a, er, work of art from all the pixels it sells. “We took the original pixel ads concept and made it in to a mosaic art form, in the process creating the first internet work of art,” co-site creator Martin Westwood says in a press release. The idea is that the resulting pixel picture will be a mosaic, according to the FAQ.

Lame, lame, lame. The original worked because it was, well, original. People wanted to go visit the page because it was a new idea. The rest will just die slowly, and, hopefully, quietly. BuckAPixel, for example, which tops the Google hits, has had 25 visitors today and has so far sold 11,300 out of 1 million pixels. You do the math. It’ll be interesting to see just how short a lifespan these kind of ideas have. It’s because they’re novelties. Repeat after me: Novelty does not a good business model make.

Tags for Sale to Fund a Wedding

Lame gimmick or wave of the future? Entrepreneur Launches Web’s First Tag Directory to Raise Money for His Wedding:

 A Canadian entrepreneur wants to raise funds for his wedding by listing websites on his del.icio.us account for $20 per listing. Patrick Ryan, 37, and his fiancée have been dating for 5 years; he hopes that TagDirectory.net will attract advertisers. Advertisers will be able to list their website under as many categories (tags) as they want.

Ryan hopes to raise $250,000 from the site. So far he’s raised, er, $280, according to the ticker at the top of the directory itself. His initiative has already raised hackles among the del.icio.us community who have questioned, among other things, the size of his wedding.  Turns out he’s hoping to marry in Cuba. That would explain the cost.

It seems a tad lame for several reasons. First off, I don’t really see how the idea would work. Why would anyone visit a paid directory of tags? How do you drive traffic to a site that doesn’t differentiate itself from any other website, except that some advertisers have paid to be there? Secondly, the social web is not about grabbing bucks, especially for a wedding (tsunami/hurricane/earthquake victims, maybe. A quarter of a grand would buy a few cold-weather tents, something I’m sure taggers would be interested in stumping up for. But a wedding?

But then again, tagging is a great technology and it would be churlish to abuse someone for trying to make money from it. But we shouldn’t ignore the fact that all those tags are out there because the folk behind these services, and those who tag websites to support them, did it all, initially at least, for free. I wish Patrick Ryan a happy wedding.