Have you see The Million Dollar Homepage? The Million Dollar Homepage has a simple online advertising model: you pay by the pixel in hopes of owning "a piece of Internet history," as the site says.
Alex Tew - a university student from the UK came up with the idea as a way to pay his tuition... and at the rate he's going, there will be a lot of money leftover.
Pixels can only be bought in blocks of 10x10 ($100 US per block).
How's he doing?
Most of it is sold, as you can see here: The Million Dollar Homepage.
The last lot of pixels are being pimped on eBay by Alex for $21,400 (but the bidding may have picked up by the time you read this). You can view the eBay auction here: The Million Dollar Homepage eBay Auction.
AdRants ran a great post entitled, Million Dollar Homepage Causes Entrepreneurial Depression. Here's a quote:
"American Copywriter lists five psychological stages of dealing with Million Dollar Homepage psychosis from denial to resentment to rationalization to depression to, well, blogging about it."
Guess where I sit in this analysis?
More than anything else, The Million Dollar Homepage proves that any kind of new advertising model can work if the execution is right.
Alex is leveraging great PR, the Blogosphere, word of mouth and viral marketing to keep the value (and hype) up. Whether or not people will care that their pixels are still up in five years (or five weeks) is undecided.
Note to Alex: At this point, I would not worry about paying off your tuition anymore or taking care of your parents. My guess is your inbox is full of people who want to hire you.