During the summer of 2005, 21-year-old Alex Tew came up with an idea to fund his college education. He created the Million Dollar Homepage and sold 10- by 10-pixel blocks of advertising space for $100 each. The project went viral and in less than five months, all of the blocks had sold.
That was nearly nine years ago and impressively enough, the site is still online. The same can’t be said about many of the sites that purchased ad space, unfortunately. As outlined in a recent analysis by Quartz, roughly 22 percent of the site’s pixels now fail to load a page when clicked.
Do the math and we see that equates to 221,900 pixels which is $221,900 worth of real estate, assuming of course that the pixels have held their value since that time.
Quartz used software to load every page on the site. If a particular page did not load or took more than 10 seconds, it was deemed to be no longer functioning.
Upon closer inspection, however, I believe that their 22 percent link rot figure is a bit conservative. Using their GIF as a guide, I clicked on several sites which they claim still work. True, these sites do load but most I came across were generic landing pages for domains that are now for sale – or in other words, not what I would describe as a functioning site.
I’d certainly be interested to see a more in-depth analysis that relies on humans doing the handiwork instead of software, but I digress.