Like many students, Alex Tews, set to begin his first year at the University of Nottingham, in England, was looking ahead to an education that could leave him deep in debt. His solution was a million-pixel Web site that he would sell to advertisers for a dollar a pixel (http://milliondollarhomepage.com). With a little seed money from family and a lot of media savvy, he succeeded, passing the million dollar mark in early January.
Naturally, all that money attracted some unsavory attention. By e-mail, extortionists threatened to bring the site down if they did not receive US $50 000. Tews wouldn't pay, and the extortionists proceeded with a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, one in which thousands of PCs infected with a virus or worm attempt to access the site at the same time. The attack brought The Million Dollar Home Page down for six days in January, but work by Tews's Web host and some DDoS specialists saved the site.
Tews's site has also inspired a number of considerably less successful knockoffs, some selling their pixels for as little as 8 cents each.