HACKERS THWART LAST GUY ON MILLION DOLLAR HOMEPAGE

Pays $38,000 for Last 1,000 Pixels for PR Value, but Site Crashes

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The Million Dollar Homepage, which has already come under attack by cyberterrorists, may next be socked with $1 million lawsuit, if the last guy to buy space on the Web site doesn’t get satisfaction, his lawyer said.
Elijah Kliger, owner of vitamin company Netnutri.com, a Web site based in Brooklyn, N.Y., paid $38,000 to buy the remaining 1,000 pixels of space on Million Dollar Homepage, hoping to get press coverage.

MillionDollarHomepage.com was started by Alex Tew, a British college student who notoriously hit it rich by selling pixels on a Web site to advertisers to raise $1 million. His site, now wallpapered with logos and ads from brands, sparked a flurry of publicity. Elijah Kliger, owner of vitamin company Netnutri.com, a Web site based in Brooklyn, N.Y., paid the Web site’s proprietor $38,000 to buy the remaining 1,000 pixels of space on the site.

'A million dollars worth of PR'
Mr. Tew auctioned the last pixels off on eBay, and Mr. Kliger won the auction. Because of the media spotlight on the site, Mr. Tew said the buyer of the last bit of space would get “a million dollars worth of PR,” said Scott J. Fields, Mr. Kliger’s attorney. Instead, soon after Mr. Kliger wired the money to England, the site’s servers crashed as it became the victim of hackers, according to numerous reports. Any possible news stories Netnutri would have received as the last buyer was obscured.

“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,” Mr. Fields said. “The whole benefit of what they had paid for was gone. For a small company, the goal was not to spend $38,000 for essentially a square millimeter of space -- it was to spend the money for the publicity.”

Mr. Tew did not respond to requests for comment.

Search yields no results
Yesterday, a search through a built-in search engine on the site showed no evidence of a Netnutri.com ad having been posted. The site, though having crashed several times, is up and visible at times.

Mr. Fields, of trademark and patent firm National IP Rights Center, said he had demanded Mr. Tew hand back the $38,000, plus damages for breach of contract and negligence, and planned to file a lawsuit in federal court if his client was not satisfied. “My clients’ [damages] could be assessed at $1 million.”

At press time, he had not received an answer from Mr. Tew.

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