1. Million Dollar Homepage
This has to be THE craziest idea for making money online. Alex Tew, then 21 year old , decided to raise money for college by selling pixels on his website, $1 each. The rest is history – Alex got his million in less than a year, he got interviewed by all major television stations, hackers arranged a major DDoS attack on his site and hundreds of copycats followed. Alas, none of Alex’s new project enjoyed same success. Still, all he wanted for someone else to pay for his books and tuition.
This is another one that makes you go WHAT? An unemployed writer (Justin Halpern) had to move in back with his parents. His sarcastic father just couldn’t stop cracking jokes, so Justin decided to start a Twitter account just for those. In less than a month Justin’s microblog was mentioned by The Daily Show, with sitcom and book deal following soon after.
Dmitry Davydov was good at naming things. This is when he thought that he might make a career out of it. So he started approaching people who could not come up domain name own their own with a simple offer – I’ll think of cool domain for you, if you like it, you pay me $50, if you don’t – pay nothing. No risk involved. The idea caught on and soon he was unable to complete all the orders on his own, so a risk-free crowdsourcing service called PickyDomains.com came into existence, where anyone could try a hand at naming and get paid for it. The San Francisco Chronicle picked up the story and other’s joined soon.
Like many others, Guy King was upset with websites that required users to register in order to get full access (like NYTimes.com). Unlike others, Guy decided to do something about it, so he started BugMeNot.com in 2003, a site that would instantly provide logins and passwords for free sites to folks who did not want to waste their time on registration and expose their e-mail addresses to possible spam. BugMeNot got really popular after 2004, when Wired magazine reported on efforts to get the site shut down. BugMeNot has since branched out into similar niches, like RetailMeNot.com.
Sunglasses for dogs? That’s crazy. Yet this invention made Ken and Roni di Lullo millions. Doggles are now sold in 16 different countries in 4500 different shops. The trick was to market doggles not as a fashion accessory, but a protective device that shields dogs eyes from harmful UV radiation. Despite being mocked as most useless invention ever, you’ve got to admit – dogs look cool in doggles.
Stictly speaking, Geese Police isn’t online business, but it proves the point – there is money in anything. David Marcks makes $2 million dollar a year chasing geese away. It’s not a metaphor, it’s the essence of his business. David worked at a golf course that attracted too many wild geese that were causing troubles. He could not kill them, but he noticed that his dog, a border collie, was successful at chasing them away. So he started offering his services to other golf courses, municipal parks and land owners. He now owns 27 trucks and 32 dogs that do just that – chase geese away.
How’s this for a hobby – visiting graves of famous people? This is how Jim Tipton liked to spend his weekends. When he ran out of dead celebrities nearby, he founded FindAGrave.Com, a site that helps you locate a grave of any person in US. This site has turned into a big business, providing multiple paid services, like genealogy research. Oh and that creepy hobby Jim has? Apparently it’s so popular, there is a special term for it – ‘tombstone tourism’.
This one is impossible to explain. So here is a description the site provides – “The Center for Prevention of Shopping Cart Abuse is an organization dedicated to preventing the pervasiveness of Shopping Cart abuse”. Keep in mind that this is a successful commercial project with online ads and t-shirt store.
Money makes money and Where’s George makes money on tracking where your used-to-be-my money is now. Here is how it works. Take all the bills out of your wallet, log onto WheresGeorge.com and enter your zip and bill serial numbers. Then spend your money and hopefully some other person will do the same – enter bills serial numbers into the database. This way you can see online how your money travels. As of this month, Where’s George is tracking 190,623,138 bills totalingUS$1,028,594,634