The website that allowed a teenager to auction her virginity gained around $1.5m in free publicity from the scandal, an advertising industry expert says. earned worldwide notoriety after a 19-year-old Northland girl called "Unigirl" apparently sold her virginity for $45,000 to pay her university fees.

Nigel Keats, managing director of advertising agency ODM, said: "The New Zealand exposure for the site is worth over $100,000.

"Certainly there are a lot of people who hadn't heard of a fortnight ago who have now.

"The massive overseas coverage could be worth a lot more as there are millions of viewers, easily one million plus," he added.

A Google search reveals a staggering 1.46 billion results for the site.

And Ineed co-founder Murray Arnesen said the site had been receiving "phenomenal" interest from all around the world including the United States, India and the United Kingdom.

"I'm told it's the biggest story in New Zealand for years," he said.

"But as far as I'm concerned it's a dead duck. We hope it goes away."

He was adamant that "Unigirl" did exist and the auction was legitimate.

Arnesen said the site received 100,000 hits in 24 hours.