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Students link up to raise fortune
Jonathan Westley hopes his venture will get him on the property ladder. Picture 17A1410: SIMON JACOBS
  • Jonathan Westley hopes his venture will get him on the property ladder. Picture 17A1410: SIMON JACOBS

WHEN 24-year-old Jonathan Westley was declared bankrupt last year he knew he had to find a way to make some money fast.

Now, one month after becoming solvent, the unemployed business graduate from Roundwood Lane, Harpenden, has launched a website which he hopes will fund his first home.

He has created a website with 1,000 links which can be purchased by advertisers from as little as $1 or as much as $1,000.

Registering his site as www.startingwithadollar.com, he hopes to attract low-budget advertisers in the first instance and then bigger players as interest in the venture grows.

The links become progressively more expensive as each one is sold and could potentially eventually earn the website owner $500,500.

Mr Westley said: "I think the links will give good value for money if people are interested in the idea and want to follow my progress to see whether I can achieve my aim.

"Hopefully the more people buy links the more the link values will rise and this will create more interest in the site."

The former pupil of Roundwood Park School has an HND in business management from the University of North London and a degree in international business administration from Bournemouth University but a self-confessed habit of "not being able to hold jobs down for very long".

He hopes his latest initiative, which only cost £50 to set up, will lead him onto the property ladder without the burden of mortgage repayments.

The idea was inspired by the similar Million Dollar Homepage website set up by 21-year-old Alex Tew in a bid to fund his way through university.

However, unlike its predecessor, the value of the links on startingwithadollar.com depends on the amount of interest generated by the site, not the amount of allocated screen space.

To get things rolling one free link was made available to the first buyer on the site. A blogger from Massachusetts purchased it on April 15, within days of the website being launched.

The site has since attracted more than 2,000 visitors, with links sold to businesses, websites and bloggers from Australia, the USA and Vietnam. Links are currently selling for $9.

Mr Westley said: "It was really cool to see an article appear about my site on various Vietnamese websites and it attracted loads of new visitors to my site, many of which continue to check back to see my progress.

"This was the first website I have set up so it has been a learning process.

"I just thought it would be a bit of fun and worth pursuing to see what happens."

10:12am Thursday 27th April 2006

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