Greed, Dr. Evil, And The Million $ Kid
It’s been a bad week for Alex Tew, the young British mind behind the MillionDollarHomepage. Lessons in greed are never fun. After Russian (reportedly) extortionist cyber-terrorists crashed his site for six days with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, the highest bidder for the final 1,000 ad pixels is threatening a lawsuit seeking almost every last dime Tew has made on the site.
Once the MillionDollarHomepage was back up and running, Tew mused on his weblog that because of the added publicity, the attackers may have inadvertently done him a favor. If sued, though, the hackers may have cost him more than the $50,000 demanded to prevent the attack.
According to AdAge.com, the lawsuit is being threatened by Elijah Kliger, the owner of Brooklyn, New York-based Netnutri.com, who paid $38, 100 on eBay for the last $1,000-worth of space on the infamous gimmick-site. If he sues, Kliger will seek $1 million.
MillionDollarHomepage.com was launched in September by Tew with a simple premise. One pixel of advertising space out of a million available could be bought for just $1.The desired end result for Tew, was to raise a cool $1 million. The idea had huge viral appeal and won him coverage from just about every major news outlet in the world.
Traffic soared, drawing around 500,000 visits a day to his site, while greatly increasing site-traffic for sponsors. After wild success, Tew decided to auction off the final 1,000 pixels on eBay. Tew received an email from the would-be hackers shortly before Kliger’s ad space was to go live on the webpage.
The text of the email was provided the Financial Times.
“Hello u website is under us atack to stop the ddos send us 50000$.If u pay we do not ddos u site even again! if u do not pay: u site NEVER came online; again this ddos is not potect; and u have BIG problem with u sponsors. U must answer TODAY, if u pay u site came online imidiatli.”
Tew refused to pay and the site went down as threatened. It would appear that Kliger believes that getting his money back is not enough and is suing for the entire value of the webpage. Part of the reasoning for that amount came from Kliger’s lawyer, Scott J. Fields, who implied Tew failed to deliver the promised “million dollars worth of PR.”
“Here’s my guy sitting there at the Super Bowl who’s bought the million-dollar field goal at halftime, and the power goes out,” Fields told AdAge. “The goal was not to spend $38,000 for essentially a square millimeter of space-it was to spend the money for the publicity.”
Tew has not mentioned the lawsuit on his weblog, but has said the FBI are investigating the attack and that his web host, US-based Sitelutions, was working to further protect the website.
“it’s not the smooth ending to the site I was hoping for,” writes Tew on his blog.