Ever now and then something hits the Internet and spreads like wildfire.  Below are four such phenomena I've come across recently that I figured I'd share.

(1) Million Dollar Homepage

On August 26, 2005, English college student Alex Tew launched the Million Dollar Homepage as a way to fund his education. The site's homepage consists of a 1000 by 1000 pixel grid (one million pixels). Tew sold mini banner ads on his homepage for $1 per pixel with a minimum buy of a ten by ten pixel block (100 pixels = $100). The site quickly became an Internet phenomenon, getting passed around from person to person. On January 1, 2006, Tew sold the last of his site's pixels on eBay. The site grossed a total of $1,037,100.

View the Wikipedia entry for the full story on the Million Dollar Homepage.

(2) One Red Paperclip

In July 12. 2005, Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald launched a blog with the goal of bartering his way from one red paperclip to a house. Over the course of his journey, MacDonald came into possession of items such as a snowmobile, an afternoon with singer Alice Cooper, a role in a Corbin Bernson film and a KISS snowglobe. On July 6, 2006, he reached his goal and acquired a two story farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan.

View the Wikipedia entry for the full story.

(3) One Thousand Paintings

On February 12, 2006, an artist from Zurich, Switzerland launched an art project called One Thousand Paintings. Each painting consists of a hand drawn number from 1-1,000 on a blank white canvas. Site visitors get to buy the number of their choice with pricing based on availability and the number you choose (prices appear to range from $40 to $1,000 per painting). So far, Sala has sold 583 of the thousand paintings. Guessing at an average price thus far of $100 per painting, we can assume Sala has made somewhere around $58,000 so far off of her idea.

View One Thousand Paintings FAQ for more information.

(4) Where the Hell is Matt?

In February 2003, Matt, a self described "deadbeat" from Connecticut, quit his job and began traveling the world with the money he had saved up. At this suggestion of a friend, he began making videos of himself doing a goofy dance in all the countries he visited. Videos of Matt dancing were then posted on the Internet and spread like wildfire. The folks at Stride Gum saw Matt's first video and have underwritten two of Matt's subsequent trips around the world.

View Where the Hell is Matt website for more information.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.