Saturday, April 07, 2012

Weird Sells - Strange Online Business Ideas That Worked.



Selling pixels on a website is a ridiculous idea but when it comes to the internet, ridiculous ideas have always been the the key to getting ridiculous amounts of money. For Alex Tew selling pixels on a website was simply supposed to be something to help him pay for college. Little did he know it would do more than that and that it would in fact help him get a head start on life and now the young man is already worth over a million dollars. Interviews on major News networks and more publicity than a 21 year old would know what to do with would follow and soon enough other people even tried to piggyback on his idea. Now that is ridiculous, ridiculously successful.


Each year it gets harder to convince kids that there is a real Santa Claus somewhere in the North pole. But no kid would argue if they got a reply directly from Santa himself and armed with this idea Byron Reese set out to become a real live Santa Claus for kids all over the world. Through the website, kids got the chance to send their letters to ‘Santa’ at the ‘North Pole’. To get a personalized reply from Santa would cost the kids parents $9.95. This may not seem like much until you multiply it by the 300 000 responses that ‘Santa’ sent last year alone.

3. ShitMyDadSays

What do you get when you put together an unemployed writer living with his parents, a father with enough sarcastic remarks to make a grown up cry and a twitter account? In Justin Halpern’s experience, you get mentioned on The Daily show, a book deal and last but not least a sitcom deal. A mere 30 days after the writer started posting his father’s ‘wisdom’ on a twitter account, Justin Halpern was well on his way to a successful life without even trying.


We are always being told to wash our hands after touching money because we don’t know where the money has been. Now possible for you to know exactly where your money has been just by logging into This website tracks your money by allowing users to enter their zip codes and currency serial numbers. If the person who had the bill before you had already done the same, you will get to see just where your money has been. You will also be able to see where the bill is if the next owner does the same thing. The website is currently tracking nearly 200 million bills worth over a billion U.S. dollars.


At the beginning of the ‘dot com’ era you could get paid thousands of dollars for a single domain name if it caught the attention of the right people. Dmitry Davydov’s success online went something like this, except he charged a measly fifty dollars for each domain name that he came up with. The buyers liked it since it was risk free and they didn’t have to pay anything if they didn’t like the name. Dmitry liked the idea because every single domain name he sold meant fifty dollars gotten doing something that he enjoyed. Soon enough The San Francisco Chronicle got wind of his story and with the fame came more customers. Crowd sourcing became the next step for Dmitry and the rest is history.

6. FindAGrave.Com

Visiting famous people is a creepy hobby. Visiting them after they have passed on is the idea that Jim Tipton used to achieve success. When Jim’s ‘tombstone tourism’ came to a sudden halt after he ran out of dead celebrities to visit in his native Utah, he started; a site that was dedicated to locating the graves of people buried anywhere inside the U.S. More than enough people were happy to make use of the site and soon enough genealogy research and other paid services were being offered as well on the website.


It may have been the world’s most worthless invention ever but to Ken and Roni di Lullo, this crazy idea turned out to be worth millions. Most dog owners would never have thought to buy sunglasses for their dogs but the moment ‘Doggles’ started to be marketed as an anti UV radiation shield, thousands of dog owners rushed to get a pair for their dogs. The result? Cool looking dogs and two new members in the millionaires club with a chain of shops in 16 countries around the world.


It may not be an online business but it was with the help of the internet that David Marcks managed to change a relatively simple idea into a 2 million dollar a year business. In the 1980s, David noticed two things as he worked on the golf course. First, the wild geese were proving to be quite irritating and second, his border collie was unusually effective when it came to chasing away these birds. Putting these two together, David Marcks started his very own business that now comprises 27 trucks and 32 dogs with the mission of ridding any place of wild geese.


Most internet users would agree that there is nothing more irritating than having to register to access a site that is already free. However, nobody would agree more to this fact than Guy King and that is why he decided to do something about it. is a free web service that was started by King to provide instant logins to free sites (like or and the site was a major success since many users were tired of having to waste time on pointless registration processes and having to expose their email addresses to spamming. In an ironic twist, got publicity simply because they tried to shut it down in 2004. After a simple mention of this fact in Wired magazine, the website got even more attention and was soon expanding to other niches such as

10. ShoppingCartAbuse.Com

Only a crazy person would fall in love with an idea such as this one. Luckily for the owner of there are plenty of crazy people out there. According to the website description, “The Center for Prevention of Shopping Cart Abuse is an organization dedicated to preventing the pervasiveness of Shopping Cart abuse”. With T-shirts and other commercial interests, the website became an instant hit and even a few Hollywood celebrities could not resist being part of this ‘campaign’.

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