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Even I have though about a few such sites, that are simple in logic but can pick up great interest and revenue. Can somebody tell me how to go about promoting them. Obviously, SE marketing and other conventional ways would not reach the correct persons.
1) The Turkish guy who said: "I kiss you"?
2) The Ukrainian girl who rode her motorbike to the edge of the Chernobyl exclusion zone?
3) boo.com after it collapsed?
Alex has a major weapon now in that whatever he wants to promote next can be tagged as: "From the guy who brought you milliondollarhomepage" and of course the media will want to take a peek.
But to an extent it's a self-fulfilling prophecy, and a double whammy of easy news. The media can talk about it before he becomes successful because it's a quirky story and kind of rags-to-riches. Then, a month or two later they can come back and say, wow, he made it! Aren't we influential / aren't the public gullible, I mean generous, to support this poor student in his quest to get really rich.
Hmph. I'm not going to say I wish I'd thought of it, because graphical ads are nothing new and we've all thought of something similar. But I do wish my "it'll never work" detector wasn't so good sometimes.
Guy had an idea, he promoted it well, and it happened to take off and make him some good money. But I rather doubt it has any lasting value as a long-term marketing tactic. A fad, IOW. If you happen to be the person whose quirky idea takes off and becomes a full-blown fad, you can make a ton of money in the short-term. (And yes, I'd be happy to make a ton of short-term money, nothing wrong with that!)
But as far as calling it "genius", I wouldn't go that far.
Now let's market it heavily, convince people that this is actually something unique and interesting. Let's spend billions of dollars doing that. It's not unique, and it's not interesting, but there you have it, marketing is all about making something not particularly unique or interesting appealing for whatever reason.
Given that the kid is interested in marketing, not creating especially interesting websites, I give him a 10. You all are still talking about this, he succeeded. Give the kid some credit. Or think of your own idea that is equally stupid and check back when you've reached some goal you set yourself. Who cares how a marketer gets people talking about the product, and gets them to buy it. It's getting the publicity that is the success.
As a rule, I tend to notice that the less value a product really has, the more heavily it has to be marketed. The fact this kid found the thing that would ring britain's and then the world's bell just means he's got a good nose for ideas. Of course it's a dumb idea, that has nothing to do with it. The dumber the idea, the greater the marketing success when it takes off, if it takes off.
What we are looking for in this thread are tips on how to market ideas such as his :)
Who cares how a marketer gets people talking about the product
So I guess what I take from this is pretty basic:
if you have a noteably dumb idea, make sure you are the first, or that you are the first to get noticed.
In other words, some combination of originality and promotion.
My dad, for example, had an idea in the 80s, to make a screen saver. He made it, for his own amusement, and to avoid that marking of the screen early windowing systems caused, but didn't market it. A few years later, Berkeley systems did the same thing, but did market it. They did quite well. Same idea, plus marketing.
For these ultra basic ideas, I don't think there is a 'how', I think it's part of the magic, so to speak, of marketing, that each case is pretty unique. If there was a formula everyone would follow it.
This is why I respect the kid, he did something nobody else had successfully marketed before to that degree. You can't duplicate his success. You'd have to be: young, sort of appealing to people on a human level, able to come up with some idea that works when people look at you and the idea together.
Plus let's not forget a key difference: the person who wants to know how to get this kind of success is missing a key ingredient: he wants the money. The kid wanted to pay for his college education. So people are not so worried about giving him some cash, it's kind of a decent thing to do.
I'm sure he looked at some basic marketing methods too before starting out, but I doubt that much.
So you have to have a good idea. That means you have to be able to come up with a good idea that will work. Most people can't do that, let's get real, or they would be doing it constantly. Doesn't mean you're a genius or anything, it just means you get a good idea and follow up on it. As they say, timing is everything.
Plus the name, don't discount the name, that was I think marketing genius. I hear lots of urls every day, but the first time I read that one I remembered it. That is hard to do, I usually forget domain names a few minutes after I hear about them.
There's a lot of things people aren't giving enough credit for here I think. I never would have thought of that, ever. I just don't think like that, I think that's why I admire the ability to think like that.
Besides, the thread title is 'a dissection'. Here's another one: think mink, from I think the 50's, that was a super smash. Diamonds are a girl's best friend, changed a useful hard crystal into a desirable jewelery item.
There aren't many marketers here I think.
Now, it is taken for granted from all the previous posts that MillionDollarHomePage is a Dumb idea, Heavily Marketed site, and Alex has taken the website popularity to dazzling heights.
Now, by dissection, I want to go back to my question of making my own novel(be it dumb) site to equal heights.One point again and again mentioned so far is marketing.
I would like to know
(i) Apart from Marketing, what else options exist to make such a site popular?
(ii) If marketing is the only option viable, then how else could the site be marketed. I believe Guardian is not the only bastion to do that. How else, I as a "poor student" market it?
I would like everyone to keep upto the questions so that it could serve as a ready reference later on.Thanks.
Marketing is a major way to have a site be discovered, and as I think about it, unless you buy blind links redirect traffic to your site, or get type-in traffic, you are going to be marketing your site to make it popular. Marketing includes links, ads (on-/off-line), sales letters, telling someone in person, bumper stickers, PR, viral tactics, giveaways, and so on.
If you are marketing, you have to understand if you need niche (targeted) marketing or general. MDHP only needed general marketing and the media was perfect for it.
And I guess today the pinnacle is to be featured on tv.
I am surprised that I've yet to read here or in the press any comparisons to older versions of the "sell ads - limited space - unique concept" - people who have tried to make money by, for instance, selling ad-tattoo-space on their bodies via online auction. I recall seeing someone doing this being interviewed on tv (I think it was the Tonight Show). But that was after many tattoo's were sold and thus was buzz-worthy.
I saw on tv yesterday a reference to a site that apparently was launched only "a week and a half ago" (I think it was a repeat), and it has generated enviable traffic volumes. They were interviewing the woman on a talk show. Without giving out the url, you might want to seek out a house with bride. She is selling her Denver house and including herself as a bride, "priceless" being the price on her.
Her site is Alexa-ranked today at 24,293, but was spiked to 2,000 in Nov 2005, and was registered the same month as MDHP (Aug 2005). Note that she has a page on her site that describes a necklace that she has worn on interviews, and how to purchase it... it is one of her company's designs.
clever way to be popular?
If you want to learn how to do this kind of thing, try reading Richard Branson's books. Or the guerrilla marketing series.
well what i got from this site's study is Efficient Marketing. people dont buy what is good for them but they buy what is presented as good to them. presentation does matter. so stop writing agains Alex ideas or whatever take the Key to success. market your projects and try to use media and create hype in the market to get success..
And there's been plenty more of that on WebmasterWorld in the two or three threads discussing MDHP.
"what an ugly site"
"guy got lucky"
blah, blah, blah.
It's the best $200 of advertising I've spent since I launched my website. It really works!
If the testimonials are true, then it is undeniably not a con or a scam. How many "legitimate" advertising companies fail to produce any results at all? Yet rarely are they pointed out as scams.
The kid obviously got the effect he wanted, so you can hardly call it an accident. He accomplished what he was trying to do. Funny how some people say your idea is bad, and then when it goes exactly as planned they call you lucky.
Not a scam, not an accident, not pure luck. I say it's brilliant.
I operate a small search engine and we're getting dozens of copycat pixel sites submitted every day. I would agree that those people are dumb, and if any of them succeed, that would be luck.
Sorry for going off topic.
I have an idea, let's put some brown food coloring and caffeine in sugar water, with some fake flavoring, then put it in cans and bottles and sell it.
How did he do it? well he spent 1 thousand dollars on submitting press releases. that didnt work so he hired an american publicist who charges around $8000 per month and the publicist promoted his site.
Thats it. with publicity you can sell ice to the inuates ( eskimos).
in truth like you say taking into account the fact that alex has to pay for 5 years of web hosting and DDOS prevention software , not to mention pay Tax on the money the guy wont be getting anywhere near the money he imagined.
The only thing I hate about the guy is that He sold the idea on the pretence of using the money for university and now alex has made his money he decides to " take a year out" like his ever going back to university.
If you were going to launch something as quick and get rich quick like this - you would want to spend a chunk on marketing - easily 40% or copycats would overtake you. So if you were from the uk, that is 1 mil dollar taken - 40% = 600000 £ - minus uk taxes would leave you with 360000 dollars which is two hundred and odd k. Not bad for a one off - could make you a millionaire - could make you poor - depends what you did with the lump sum.
I don't understand :)))
[edited by: trillianjedi at 9:36 pm (utc) on Mar. 9, 2006]
[edit reason] Please see TOS [webmasterworld.com]. Thanks. [/edit]
Like many others have said, he used the 'I need the money to go through college' idea. So people think oh ok, he needs the money.
Next, he was smart about creating value for people so they would give him their dollars - buy one pixel for one dollar. A brand new idea and so simple (like all the best ideas).
Finally, he says he paid his first $1000 from selling pixels to friends etc into a press release, which was picked up. The creative original idea did the rest, because it's the kind of thing people would tell their friends and sounds interesting enough.
The the world tuned in to see if he would do it. Now that he has, the world will tune out. His site even mentions his visitor numbers today. Compared to the millions he was receiving AS he was completing the site, it's really low today.
Consider it a flash in the pan, but he was smart enough to capitalise on it. You can't knowck him can you, good on him really.