Industry NewsTechnology

Million-dollar idea draws real estate advertising

U.K. college student gets paid by the pixel

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Julie Lauer, a Realtor for Keller Williams Realty in Pleasanton, Calif., paid $100 for a tiny square adjoining the image of a flying Elvis. Michael Seitz, associate broker for Kingman Realty in Kingman, Ariz., bought a $400 rectangle to display the word "Arizona." Other real estate professionals, too, spent $100 or more to be a part of a pay-per-pixel advertising site dreamed up by Alex Tew, 21, a college student from Wiltshire, England. A pixel is a tiny digitized speck that is a building block for images on computer screens. The word "pixel" is short for "picture element." Tew created a Web site,, and a system for selling ad space. The minimum ad size – a 10-by-10 block of pixels – cost $100, so $1 per pixel. The Web page consists of 1 million pixels. The first $100 ad went up in late August. And as of Dec. 29, Tew had sold $912,000 worth of pixels, with 88,000 pixels remaining to sell at the site. Needless to say, Tew has made more than enough ...