Pixelotto failing?

Pixelotto, the follow-up by Alex Tew to his MillionDollarHomePage.com success is now one month old, and facing rapid decline rather than explosive or even sustained growth.

Pixelotto small

When announced, Techcrunch were not too hot on the new site.

Mathew Ingram also posted on the subject calling it a tax on the stupid.

Here is what I commented 1 month ago on Mathew’s blog

Hi Mathew

I believe this one will sell out faster than the original and he will make a huge amount more money on this.

The reason website owners buy the pixels is because they want traffic, and maybe a backlink from the site.

The lotto is legal, because the winners are not having to pay for a ticket, they are just visitors who click on adverts, visit sites, and probably have to read the site for a certain number of seconds before they “earn” their lotto prize entry.

Lots of traffic exchange programs work on a similar manual clicking system.

He also has a nice backend… email addresses from subscriptions. I am sure he will be able to use that to promote anything he likes in the future, and to drive additional traffic back to the site over the coming months.

That incentive to click is going to to mean a many fold increase in traffic over the previous incarnation, and I haven’t heard of many complaints about his first effort.

This site is a true next generation of the same idea, unlike many of the copycat sites based on selling pixels, words etc.

I think this time around the advertising will be much better organised, and there will be some much larger players involved from day one.

Analysis of MillionDollarHomepage

Here is the current status. As is easy to judge, it was a massive success, driven heavily by word-of-mouth “grass roots” advertising, with some professional PR at later stages to ensure continued momentum.

Million Dollar small

Lets have a look at some Alexa data (yes I know it isn’t 100% reliable, but these sites are set up in similar ways with similar traffic sources)

There was only a slow decline in traffic over a number of months, with a significant 2nd major traffic spike when mainstream press got hold of the story.

Pixelotto Analysis

Just 1 month old, but lets look at the Alexa data.

In this case it is a 3 month graph to show more detail.

Lets look at the 2 sites side-by-side

There was a similar initial launch peak, but the traffic has been slowing down far more rapidly, with far fewer people talking about it.

There has also been quite a slow uptake in advertising purchases. At launch (from memory) Pixeloto attained approximately $100,000 worth of advertising. During the following month, only an additional $50,000 have been added to the money pool.

Pixelotto Design Flawed?

I don’t think there are any problems with the overall business model. I stand by what I stated in my initial comments. This site should be viable, the problem lies somewhere else.

Pixelotto Business Implementation Flawed?

It is not just how good an idea is, but how well you execute it.

  1. Was the launch too close to Christmas to attract press interest?
  2. Alex has a large pool of money to use for promoting his new offering, but doesn’t seem to be using it. He has just relied on free press based on his previous success. He should be spending more money not less. It isn’t as newsworthy this time around.
  3. Previously there was a story, with a blog. This time around no blog in sight
  4. The mailing list – Alex is building a mailing list, which could be the engine for current and future promotion – a mailing list is useless if you don’t use it
  5. Success breeds success sometimes, but if the current venture is not showing legs, it could die very fast. It is necessary to stimulate the success so it becomes newsworthy

Links & Backlinks

Another gauge of success, and ultimately how attractive the site is for advertising.

Links are what bring in the traffic, and what might provide some level of additional search engine benefit.

The following screen shots are taken from MSN Live Search, as they tend to show more links than other services currently.

MillionDollarHomePage was very successful in gaining lots of links from high quality sites.

Million Dollar Home Page links

Pixelotto has gained high quality links, but not very many. I doubt this will represent more than PR5 in the next Google update.

Pixelotto Links


Blog marketing was certainly one avenue for traffic that Pixelotto should be exploiting better than previously. It isn’t happening.
Here are some current charts for

MillionDollarHomePage:- Source Technorati

Pixelotto:- Source Technorati

What seems amazing is that MillionDollarHomePage seems to still be gaining more blog attention than Pixelotto.

How to Fix Pixelotto

Alex needs to get his finger out and promote the hell out of Pixelotto. He is sure to have some change left over from his previous venture. It is time to leverage all that he learned previously, use press releases extensively and get his PR agency earning their pay checks.
If it costs him a few 100K to make the site a success, it is still a good business. He can’t expect 1000% profit margin this time around, at least until Pixelotto has cycled though once and has a massive mailing list to drive future cycles.
A radical step would be to allocate the first $1,000,000 to prizes rather than to the pocket of Alex.
An additional step would be a custom email system which reminded viewers of the site every 2 days (to get more chance of winning) suggesting sites to visit.
Without press coverage, advertisers are not going to invest and Pixelotto will never achieve the success of its predecessor.

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  1. says

    Please see Open Letter to Alex Tew
    I wrote yesterday at my
    http://mini-news.livejournal.com :

    The person who sings once a year cannot be called a singer.
    Ukrainian boxer Klychko defends his champion title every several months. Alex should show the world his other genius ideas! Otherwise, you will be known only as a lucky winner of the Internet lottery, not new trend developer!

    “Internet as Pixelotto” discourages web developers to be creative! (See more at http://mini-billion.blogspot.com ).
    I believe my Mini-News.com is better, – a really unique Next Big Thing worth a BILLION!


  2. mike says

    actually, I don’t think throwing money at it will work at all. any entrepreneur will tell you that teh product has to be worth talking about, and any investor will tell you that they will will a mile from any business plan that supposes “buying market share”

    here’s why : there is no story behind it. nobody CARES. MDHP relfected well on clickers as they supporte dplucky creative dvertisers as well as plucky creative alex. PL reflects poorly on clickers as it suggests that they are boring losers who will click a page every now and then in the hopes of winning a million bucks. and AT is no longer poor, he does not deserve our money.

    That and the traffic will be crap as users are incentivised to click 10 times and close, previously it was “click if you want to”, far more ‘directed’ effective advertising

  3. says

    I totally agree with Mike.

    The whole “story” of MDHP is what kept people interested, along with his Blog. It says a lot that he hardly updated his blog after the MDHP sold out, thus proving he is not such a genius after all. He needed to keep in touch with his “fans” i.e. the people who got him the money in the first place!

    People who say that his site is still a success because it brought him a couple of hunred thousand more than he had before, consider this:

    Before Pixelotto, Alex Tew was in the position of being headhunted by some big companies. He could have been set with a great job! He also had interest in his “new ideas” and had a great platform from which to launch something original and exciting.

    Instead he has ruined his reputation, and lost the interest of the public. So is he really the business genius the press would have had us believe?

  4. mike says

    thanks Phil! :)

    anyhow, who better to ask than the man himself, Alex Tew, so Mr Tew, why DID your current project fall foul of our fickle favour… let’s read his own comments to find out….

    (from http://networks.silicon.com/webwatch/0,39024667,39156298,00.htm
    Tew said he is aware of the dozens of websites looking to copy the successful format of The Million Dollar Homepage but said they’ll have little success “because it’s already been done”.

    He said: “That just shows how uninventive people are,” adding that it mirrors the reasons why the dot-com bubble bursting was so much worse than it should have been as markets which could sustain one successful business model were often flooded with dozens of imitators looking to replicate it with no added-value of their own.

    Inevitably, those jumping on the bandwagon failed and added to the dot-com death count. And Tew predicts a similar fate for the copy-cat ‘homepage’ sites.

    you’re right Alex, in your own words “I can’t just do The Million Dollar Homepage 2.”

    anything else? LEt’s look at his blog…
    in my view, business success is based on good, unique ideas that are well executed. I had a unique idea (it’s novelty central to its success), and I believe I executed it well. […] The idea was unique, my story interesting and quirky, and therefore attracted people’s attention.

    yes Alex, wise words indeed! you’re dead right! there was a story to it, you lucked out, and played your cards well right down to a rollercoaster of a finish! Top marks! any future advice for clicking pixels? Indeed there is!

    That’s why it’s sad to see all those pixel-copycat sites sending out badly-written press releases thinking that just sending out a press release will create interest. It won’t! Forget copying my idea, no other individual will become rich from a Million Dollar Homepage copycat site. Do something different! And I do not mean a pixel-site-with-a-twist! Do something TOTALLY different! If you do something unique, totally unique, then you will stand out.

    Yep. So right. Now, if you’ld only tell that pixelotto guy, I think he needs a few pointers…

    ah dear, reading the old blog when he went on whistlestop tours of the US, Europe, etc getting on TV EVERYWHERE, selling 100.000 dollars in 5 days… where did it all go wrong?

  5. Imal says


    I was hired Oct 13 – through February 7 to do the PR for http://www.milliondollarhomepage.com

    My work was not ‘done at the later stages’. It was done when there still needed to be $600,000.00 raised.

    The PR was global and it supported Alex Tew’s efforts to dramatically increase monies and traffic to the site.

    Check Alexa.

    Imal Wagner

  6. says

    The prize fund has raised by $6000 since I wrote this post at the beginning of January, and I think you need to read the post again, because there is no criticism of the Million Dollar Home Page marketing at all.

    There were definitely 2 waves of traffic for MDP, and the first wasn’t PR induced – I saw it on so many marketing forums when Alex had only raised a few dollars, that is that first spike that is very evident.

    The PR initially mitigated decline, I am not sure what press coverage caused the second huge spike, but it was a good job.

    The first stage of marketing was to be seen as a success, it doesn’t matter how much of the inventory was actually sold, and even whether more inventory was sold.
    If Alex had only sold $500K, he would have been looked on as just as big a success story.

    Alexa 1 week now standing at 42K… Mike Arrington would say “Welcome to the Dead Pool”

    What will happen to the prize pool if the site never reaches payout?

  7. says

    I agree. A little bit more money on marketing this stuff would have done the trick.

    Also, I think the twist was not enough. It must have have some additional stuff that wud have made ppl talk abt it. that did not happen here.

    for example, an MDHP of Youtube Videos would probably have doen the trick, plp can upload their ad videos on youtube and bought links here.