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I can't get rich online and neither can you. Topics include why you won't get rich with your blog, ideas you wish you had thought of, and other Internet phenomena.

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Archive: I Wish I'd Thought of That

*Number* *Currency* Wiki

Can somebody please explain to me the point of paying for a wiki page? The Million Dollar Wiki. The Million Euro Wiki. The One Buck Wiki. There’s dozens of them, and I just don’t get it.

The original

As far as I know, the Million Dollar Wiki came first. The concept was pretty simple, and along the same lines as the Million Dollar Homepage: There are 10,000 wiki articles available. You pay $100 for one, and you’re the only person who can ever edit it. What you do with it is up to you. After browsing the site for awhile (via the random page link), it looks like most of the ‘articles’ are 90% ads and 10% content. Basically, very expensive landing pages.

Hats off to the owner though. At the time of this writing, he’s sold 1,079 pages (or $107,900). It pays to be the first.

The copycats

The Million Euro Wiki, aside from being a blatant ripoff of the Million Dollar Wiki, makes sense in a way. The Euro IS worth more than the Dollar, so technically he should be making more. Also, it would make sense that the Euro Wiki would have more of an appeal to Europeans. Unfortunately for the owner, the Million Euro Wiki is being drastically overshadowed by the Million Dollar Wiki, having only sold 75 pages.

Then there’s the One Buck Wiki. He’s stuck with the good old dollar, and he’s even outdone the Million Euro Wiki in terms of pages sold (1,529 at the time of this writing). Good for him, but I doubt he’ll ever see $10k.

Hmmm…I wonder…

I’m taking a trip to Japan in August. I wonder…nope, millionyenwiki.com is taken.

I still don’t get it

Why would anyone pay $100 for a Wiki page? I can see paying $1, as it’s essentially cheaper than registering a domain name for use as a landing page. On the other hand, it’s still only one page, and it’s pretty obvious that the parent site isn’t yours. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I can’t ever see myself paying for a wiki page.

If you’ve bought a page from any of these sites and have managed to recoup your initial investment, please let me know. I’m dying to know why anybody would find them desirable.

EDIT 12-14-07: Alright, I dropped a zero somewhere and seriously screwed up my math. Million Euro Wiki’s revenue at 75 pages sold would be $7,500 (5,625 Euro) because they too sell their pages for $100 (75 Euro) per page. I have corrected the article and I apologize for the error.

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You Won’t Ever Be As Lucky As This Guy

One Red Paperclip

It’s embarrassing to admit, but One Red Paperclip flew right under my radar. I first heard about it a couple of weeks ago while reading The Something Store’s blog, over a year after the whole thing was finished. After reading the wiki article and website, I’m ready to crown this guy the King of lucky bastards.

What he did

As the title suggests, he started with one red paperclip. Then he traded the paperclip for a pen. Then he traded the pen for a door knob. He kept trading, up and up, until he finally traded a movie role for a two-story farmhouse. Then he got his paperclip back and used it to propose to his girlfriend. He went from paperclip to house in 14 trades. That’s pretty amazing.

Why you want it

Who wouldn’t want to trade a paperclip for a house? Ignoring the inevitable tax nightmare, that’s a pretty good deal. Plus, he got to travel all over North America while trading. On top of all that, he was famous, he got a book deal, and he got engaged. He is the very definition of creative success.

Why you’ll never get it

I noticed that his site has a forum encouraging other people to start their own paperclip adventures. Anybody who believes that they can copy his success is just fooling themselves. People just can’t seem to grasp the value of novelty. Not only was this guy creative, he was a marketing genius. He sold his unique idea to the Internet, and the only reason he was successful was because the people he traded with knew that they were part of something big. Really, some of those trades were just ridiculous (a keg for a snowmobile?). He wasn’t just trading items, he was trading fame and publicity.

The bottom line

The guy behind One Red Paperclip is probably the luckiest bastard on the entire Internet. He took an idea and ran with it, and it paid off a million times over. If you want to make it big like him, do what he did: Think of something new.

My $100 Apple gift certificate contest is still going! Go enter!

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You Won’t Make Any Money From Pixel Ads

Some of you may remember the Pixel Ad craze from a couple of years ago. In my opinion, the concept of per-pixel advertisement is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of Internet marketing (and that’s saying a lot), but it worked pretty well for one guy.

The original

Million Dollar Homepage

Remember the Million Dollar Homepage? Back in late 2005, some broke British guy created a 1000×1000 grid of gray pixels on his home page. Shortly after doing that, he decided to try selling those pixels for $1 a piece. Surprisingly enough, his idea worked and on January 11th 2006, he sold his final 1,000 pixels, becoming a millionaire. Pretty smart.

Then what happened?

Even before the original was sold out, the copycats went to work. Thousands upon thousands of imitators were created, seemingly unable to grasp the value of originality. Here’s one example. This guy has SLASHED PRICES by selling each pixel for 10 cents! Awesome, huh? Guess we’ll be hearing another success story soon, right?

Why you should care

That’s all ancient history though, right? I mean, it’s been over a year since the original sold out. That little fact hasn’t stopped the imitators, though. This web directory lists over 2,500 pixel ad sites. 2,500. Why are people still making these? They’re not successful, and they never will be.

The bottom line

The Million Dollar Homepage did it, and they’re the only ones that ever will. Pixel ads are old news and a waste of space.

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The Something Store

The Something Store

Here’s an interesting new site. SomethingStore.com is an online store that sells you…something. For just $10, you get something completely random. It might be an iPod, it might be a paper clip. Who knows? At the time of this writing, they’ve sold nearly 400 somethings, or $4,000. Whether they have turned a profit or not is unknown.

Why they’ll probably be successful

Everybody loves being surprised, and if you look at the something tracker, you’ll notice that some of these surprise gifts are very nice indeed. Even more than being surprised, everybody loves to get something for nothing, or at least something for very little. Look at the something tracker. Right now, I see an MP3 player, a camcorder, and Halo 3. All of those items cost over $50, so spending only $10 seems like a great deal, right? Actually, this site seems more like a lottery than a store. Not necessarily a bad thing, as the lottery is very successful.

Sound familiar?

You may remember a certain fad that swept eBay a few years ago. Someone auctioned a ‘mystery envelope’, which was said to contain some valuable object. It doesn’t really matter what was in there, because the copycats took notice and suddenly eBay was flooded with mystery envelopes, boxes, and other such containers. Doing a search right now for ‘Mystery Envelope’ pulls up 309 auctions, so the fad still hasn’t died down.

The bottom line

Everybody loves to get something for nothing, and the creators of The Something Store are banking on that fact. Best of luck to you guys, and I’ll bet the rest of you wish you’d thought of that.

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