Pixelotto Has Arrived, But Is It Legal?

Thanks to Leonard of 9tin20.com for the email head ups on this. Alex Tew, the 21-year-old student from a small town in England who created the Million Dollar Homepage, has launched Pixelotto. The site started on Tuesday, December 5th and has already sold $124,300 of pixel advertising. The big selling point about Pixelotto is you get a chance to win $1 million.

With 10 clicks per day, the more days you play, the more chances you will have. You will be accumulating entries from your clicks right up until the draw takes place.

A month after all the ad space is sold, one ad is selected at random and a winner is chosen from all those people who clicked that correct ad. A millionaire is made! The winner will also get to nominate a charity of their choice to receive $100,000.

Sounds all well and good but I’m wondering if this is legal? For it won’t be in Canada because lotteries are controlled by the government. On the site’s FAQ, Alex states:

Pixelotto is legal in the UK, where Pixelotto Ltd. is registered. If you are from a country other than the UK, it is your responsibility to know if it is unlawful in your jurisdiction.

The problem with the above statement is it’s misleading. Pixelotto Ltd. is a legal company but it doesn’t answer the question whether a private company can hold a lottery. Of course, Tew can argue that this is a contest and not a lottery. However, the name chosen for the site may cause some problems. It will be interesting to see what the UK government thinks about this.

I’m going to assume that Tew did his homework and Pixelotto will have no problems. I’m also going to assume that Tew will work the same marketing magic on this site as he did on the Million Dollar Homepage. Judging by how fast the pixels are selling, I say Tew has another winner on his hands.

29 thoughts on “Pixelotto Has Arrived, But Is It Legal?”

  1. Also a good question is.

    What says Adsense to Pixelotto.com if you have it on youtr blog, because of it will increase the traffic artificially.

  2. Ed Lau says:

    It’s a pretty damned awesome idea. Simple as hell and very lucrative.

  3. Stephen says:

    I tried to buy a square. Guess how many pixels are in each square? 100 pixels! That’s 200 per advertiser. That’s brilliant!

    I’m still humming and hawwing on that one.

  4. Shane says:

    This is better than the million dollar homepage because it’s repeatable again and again.

    You probably have to pay tax on the winnings as income if you’re not in the UK

  5. Carl says:

    I’m going to assume that the whole thing is a scam, and there is no $1 million prize.

  6. Richard says:

    Contest or lotto, interesting. I see that he is taking Paypal for his payments. I guess they feel that it’s a contest?

  7. HMTKSteve says:

    I’m going to guess that pixel “11” will be the winner.

    Does anyone out there know the reference?

  8. mad4 says:

    In the UK something is defined as a lottery if you have to pay to enter. Hence the “no purchase necessary” disclaimer he has.

  9. engtech says:

    The problem is that it’s completely useless traffic. You can get lots of clicks, but it does nothing for your long term numbers. Zero of the people would visit your site again.

  10. skipintro says:

    I don’t think this idea is repeatable again and again, it will work once though. Look at the advertisers he is getting: to 90 percent getting-rich-whilst-picking-your-nose schemes. That is not an enviroment serious companies want to advertise in, in the long run.

  11. Mayo says:

    engtech, not so certain — if you live in UK, from where are most advertisers you can receive new customers, just been playing and found some interesting sites, though i will not buy anything from them, but alas — do you buy anything that is advertised on soccer or football billboards on the sports field?? — oh did you see that right in the center lastminute.com??? aren’t you going to go to New York new years eve party if you have money to buy a vacation?

  12. ian says:

    I think, John, you would find that here in Canada it would be legal as long as you call it a contest not a lottery, people don’t have to pay (or purchase anything) to enter, and potentially it might require a “skill-testing-question” to win. Thats what I see from the many many “contests” companies tend to offer here.

    I’ve had an idea for a while about running an online 50/50 draw, where people would buy a ticket online for $1, then there would be a random draw and the winner would receive 50%, the other 50% going to a charity of their choice, minus a small “administration fee” of course. Unfortunatly, to do that legally here in Canada requires applying for a license for each draw, and probably miles of red tape.

  13. ian says:

    Oh, and he doesn’t call it a lottery, the side deals in pixels, and the name of the site is pixelotto….

    pixel otto 🙂

  14. Yeah, so long as there’s a skill testing question, it would be fine in Canada.

  15. Hello John sorry for giving up another ceomment, but i wanted to thank you for this amazing article, I have written about your article in german!

    And it is amazing blogs from the whole world coming to myblog and also linking to it very cool, thanx a lot for this hint!

  16. Shane says:

    pixelottopool.com is available if anyone wants to start a side business

  17. I’m a skeptic..this is a scam…no way i’m doing it.

  18. Yan says:

    How could this be a scam? The guy’s pretty famous and he already stands to make a pretty big profit from this…

  19. Also the money is from TechCrunch isn’t it?

  20. Stephen says:

    They run 50/50 draws and bars and pubs all the time. When I was still working, our staff parties had 50/50 draws. How do they get around the legality?

  21. John Chow says:

    Stephen – They don’t tell anyone or try to get tier 1 press to talk about them.

    You people are right. I did some checking and as long as they don’t have to pay to enter, it’s a contest and not a lottery.

  22. Jack says:

    i feel he will not give 1million dollar to other people. he might give it to his family. so, he still get 2 million dollar. he said he will give out 1 million dollar is a trick to make people click on those advertisement and go to those websites, i do not think it will bring any clicks to the adsense on ur site. because people click it and then leave the site. it just bring the traffict and eat your bandwidth.

  23. Far to believe that this new website is a Scam.Seeing how fast his milliondollarhomepage did so well.I also was one of the original Pixel Advertiser to help promote his well thought out site.Yes I did purchase some pixels and yes it did provide an amazing amount of traffic to my site.I hope to get in on this next band wagon too.

  24. Aaron says:

    Yup interesting. So creative…NOT…Any ways please check out my Christmas Tag website at http://www.christmastag.co.nr

  25. Pixels and Presents are giving away free gifts ( Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, TV’s, laptops, DVD’s, and much more) to EVERY advertiser. That’s right: EVERYONE who purchases pixels will get a gift.

    We are also randomly selecting visitors…who will also get some of the above gifts! Not one, not just a few…a SLEW of people!


  26. gavin simpson says:

    It would be interesting to find out how much additional traffic the advertisers actually get. He doesn’t seem to be filling up the pixels as fast as i’d have thought given that his previous venture was a big media hit.

    Has anyone here advertised with him? if so, have you gained extra traffic?


  27. Phil says:

    The initial fast sales were due to a backlog of orders for the original MDHP.

    Pixelotto is dead, and I am going to bury it:


    Come and let us unhappy Pixelotto advertisers know what YOU think!

  28. Luv says:

    Well the future of Pixelotto maybe dark….

    But i stumbled across some good analysis and ideas at another guys website…


    Its different but its good, unfortunately I can only click.

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