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After the success of Alex Tew’s MillionDollarHomepage we’ve seen innumerable clones and a smattering of twists-on-a-theme. Now, we’ve spotted a new site that is gathering online and offline buzz. It allows you to buy one word as a link to your website, for a period of five years.

So how does it work, and will it work?

The site, called 1000wordpage.com, was launched this month by two students from London. It consists of – you guessed – 1,000 randomly chosen words, which are displayed on the homepage. Some are more random than others.

Advertisers can buy a word, turn it into a link (to their website), then sit back and watch the traffic roll in. Or at least that’s the theory.

It might just work, depending on how much buzz the two founders can create. Check out the homepage, which looks like one big-ass tag cloud.

Pricing starts at EU150 for a minimum five-year link, with the word displayed in 12pt Verdana. Prices increase in line with font size and weighting... big spenders can buy a bigger, bolder font size (up to 20pt, for EU1,500).

There’s a charitable element too, so your money won’t all be spent in the student union.

Here’s the lowdown from the 1000wordpage website:

- Advertisers get a new and original way of advertising their products on the web for cheap.

- Web surfers get a new entertaining and useful website.

- We, at the 1000-Word Page, make a few bucks for this crazy idea.

- Specific charities and community projects will receive financial help if we make this happen.

So what do we think? Well, it probably beats offline advertising, in terms of ROI. Probably...

My immediate concern is that the page looks spammy.

It remains to be seen how it does in Google, but 1,000+ links on one page with no other text of note is not something I’d file under ‘a good idea’. Not if I were wearing my SEO hat. The rule of thumb is 100 links or less, depending on what else is happening on the page (some links appear more spammy than others).

That might spell possible trouble, since SEO-savvy advertisers won’t want to be buying links from what might be considered ‘bad neighbourhoods’. Still, if the founders get the right sort of press and links from the likes of the BBC then maybe the pros will outweigh the cons.

In summary, I don’t think this is any kind of SEO play.

Remember that there’s always the option of throwing in a no-follow tag on your purchased link if you’re worried about Google ethics (assuming the owners will accomodate such a request).

As a traffic-generator it remains to be seen whether it will work or not. Fingers crossed for the founders...

Chris Lake

Published 23 June, 2006 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

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