Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Top 10 Dumbest Online Business Ideas That Made It Big Time.


1. Million Dollar Homepage

1000000 pixels, charge a dollar per pixel – that’s perhaps the dumbest idea for online business anyone could have possible come up with. Still, Alex Tew, a 21-year-old who came up with the idea, is now a millionaire.

2. SantaMail

Ok, how’s that for a brilliant idea. Get a postal address at North Pole, Alaska, pretend you are Santa Claus and charge parents 10 bucks for every letter you send to their kids? Well, Byron Reese sent over 200000 letters since the start of the business in 2001, which makes him a couple million dollars richer.

3. Doggles

Create goggles for dogs and sell them online? Boy, this IS the dumbest idea for a business. How in the world did they manage to become millionaires and have shops all over the world with that one? Beyond me.

4. LaserMonks

LaserMonks.com is a for-profit subsidiary of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank, an eight-monk monastery in the hills of Monroe County, 90 miles northwest of Madison. Yeah, real monks refilling your cartridges. Hallelujah! Their 2005 sales were $2.5 million! Praise the Lord.

5. AntennaBalls

You can’t sell antenna ball online. There is no way. And surely it wouldn’t make you rich. But this is exactly what Jason Wall did, and now he is now a millionaire.

6. FitDeck

Create a deck of cards featuring exercise routines, and sell it online for $18.95. Sounds like a disaster idea to me. But former Navy SEAL and fitness instructor Phil Black reported last year sales of $4.7 million. Surely beats what military pays.

7. PositivesDating.Com

How would you like to go on a date with an HIV positive person? Paul Graves and Brandon Koechlin thought that someone would, so they created a dating site for HIV positive folks last year. Projected 2006 sales are $110,000, and the two hope to have 50,000 members by their two-year mark.

8. Designer Diaper Bags

Christie Rein was tired of carrying diapers around in a freezer bag. The 34-year-old mother of three found herself constantly stuffing diapers for her infant son into freezer bags to keep them from getting scrunched up in her purse. Rein wanted something that was compact, sleek and stylish, so in November 2004, she sat down with her husband, Marcus, who helped her design a custom diaper bag that's big enough to hold a travel pack of wipes and two to four diapers. With more than $180,000 in sales for 2005, Christie's company, Diapees & Wipees, has bags in 22 different styles, available online and in 120 boutiques across the globe for $14.99.

9. TruGamerz

Faux-suede padded covers for game controllers and gel thumb pads for analog joysticks? No one will buy that. Forget it. The product proved to be so popular, it got picked up by Target.com and Walmart.com and annual sales new exceed half a million dollars.

10. Lucky Wishbone Co.

Fake wishbones. Now, this stupid idea is just destined to flop. Who in the world needs FAKE PLASTIC wishbones? A lot of people, it turns out. Now producing 30,000 wishbones daily (they retail for 3 bucks a pop) Ken Ahroni, the company founder, expects 2006 sales to reach $1 million.

11. To see other businesses that have not made the top 10 list but came pretty close, visit Uncommon Business Blog

P.S. You might want to read these books about unusual business ideas as well

Startups That Work: Surprising Research on What Makes or Breaks a New Company

Start Your Own Business for $1,000 or Less

The 100 Best Businesses to Start When You Don't Want to Work Hard Anymore

The Toy and Game Inventor's Handbook

Getting Rich in Your Underwear: How to Start and Run a Profitable Home-Based Business

66 Comments:

Blogger Prophet Tenebrae said...

I wonder if the million dollar homepage really made a million dollars (the guy was actually in the UK, so he likely wasn't a de facto UK millionaire) but I assume that HMS Excise and Revenue might be wanting some kind of piece of that action.

Still, he'd still probably have around 70% of it for doing fuck all. A situation I'm sure we'd all like to find ourselves in.

5:58 AM  
Blogger IvanaNonymous said...

He didn't exactly do "fuck all" for it. He had to put up with hackers trying to extort thousands of dollars from him. He ended up paying a bunch for security due to implied availability of the website. He couldn't afford to get sued by his customers if the site were unavailable.

6:09 AM  
Blogger brian culler said...

I think MySpace should have been #1. Hey lets make a poorly coded website that lets people write a website about themselves (something anyone can do at anytime on any site in anyway they want), then let them designate other users as their "friends".

Stupidest idea ever, it'd been done a million times over already, and it sold for half a billion dollars.

7:13 AM  
Blogger Greg Williams said...

SaveKaryn.com was pretty dumb but it did get her out of debt.

7:27 AM  
Blogger tina808 said...

Diapees & Wipees a bad idea? I'm buying one for myself and every new mom I know. Thanks!

7:48 AM  
Blogger Armine Tanzarian said...

What I find remarkable is that people are willing to pay for and charge for something that others do for free. Canada Post employees for years have been helping answer letters to Santa from children all over the world. And all it costs is the postage:
SANTA CLAUS
NORTH POLE H0H 0H0
CANADA

9:45 AM  
Blogger Tien said...

Actually you don't need postage..its free in Canada! Finally some return for my tax dollars.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Rikki said...

All you need is a bunny and a frying pan...

11:43 PM  
Blogger brian said...

as my sunday school teacher used to say, "you're going to hell for that!" (saying that HIV positive people trying to date is a 'dumb' idea).

12:36 AM  
Blogger mekin said...

neopets.com
I cant imagine that it would have been so successful.
Then on there have been lots of imitators ..

3:56 AM  
Blogger bERT! said...

HIV positive people are still very much alive and still very interested in dating, you imbecile!

6:26 AM  
Blogger JudeParish said...

The Navy SEAL greating playing cards with fitness routines is far from dumb :) Putting useful images on playing cards is a long standing military practice to allow the soliders every chance to see the information as well as provide a source of entertainment. Just ask how many soldiers had the cards depicting Al-Queda or Saddam's ranking officers... As for the other stuff, I'll remind you, there's always a market for something somewhere, you just have to figure out how to serve it :)

6:39 AM  
Blogger Jeremiah McNichols said...

I think you missed the point entirely with your slam on PositiveDating. I saw an article in TechCrunch about a similar dating site for people with herpes:

http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/07/17/prescription4love-fills-a-real-niche/

If a regular dating site can succeed, these seem like a viable service as well.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Column Meaney said...

Including a dating site for people who are HIV positive as a "dumb" idea is incredibly offensive. You make it seem like people who are HIV+ are somehow less than human. If I were HIV+, I'd think it's brilliant. Please re-think this entry.

8:48 AM  
Blogger brettotte1 said...

Trading a paper clip for a house!

10:42 AM  
Blogger Tasmania Devil said...

J'adore l'idée de la page à un million de pixels, franchement une bonne idée. En effet j'aimerais bien moi aussi avoir une idée tout à fait géniale comme ça.

En passant excellent site que vous avez, j'y viens régulièrement dans une semaine j'apprécie beaucoup votre travail.

It's a great site you have, i really appreciate it, i come here 3-5 times in a week, i add your site to my favorites. Don't want to miss anything...

11:14 AM  
Blogger mmgazer said...

The visceral, knee-jerk reaction by posters to the HIV-positive idea is simply incredible. Think about it. It's natural to assume that such a site would never work because of the assumptions that this community would be small, or unconnected, even if those assumptions are wrong. I believe that NO perjorative comment was made or implied regarding HIV positive individuals in the original Top 10 post.

So, lighten up. Brian, Bert, Column Meany: Try thinking rationally before posting.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

I agree with brian cullter - MySpace should have been number one, or at least on the list.

11:41 AM  
Blogger kn0thing said...

Congrats! You were the top story of the day on reddit (July18th). Not sure how much you care, though, just thought I'd let you know.

Thanks for the great content.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Fiona said...

A HIV+ dating site is great for both people infected and people who aren't. If HIV+ people were dating each other instead of those who aren't infected, the site may be instrumental in curbing the spread of disease! I only wonder how many people are infected needlessly just because their infected partners could not find someone who wasn't at risk.

12:32 PM  
Blogger michael j pastor said...

please tell me how trying to curb the spread of a pandemic is a bad idea? highly insensitive and poorly thought out to include that in this list, when it should be listed as one of the top most innovative ideas on the net, not the stupidest.

let's replace it on the list with 'ignorant people spouting their opinions every day to millions of people' - i.e. blogs and columnists.

1:00 PM  
Blogger kderby2000 said...

Several of these ideas are actually clever.

The US Postal Service doesn't 'reply to Santa letters' for free, nor from a North Pole address. My children have loved these letters each season for the last few years.

How about "blogging"? It's nothing more than templated web pages, for posting ramblings from anyone.

In fact, dumb ideas like people posting 'Top 10' lists has made it big time.

Right?

1:08 PM  
Blogger Michael Safrin said...

Yes, I agree that these make the grade for being ten of the dumbest Online Busienss Ideas to have made it big time. But despite all the internet hoopla that spawned such insanity none of them can come close to being as dumb as the offline Pet Rock craze. Now that WAS dumb.

2:09 PM  
Blogger efishant said...

Let's not forget the hillarious success story of MyFreeImplants.com, that is the MySpace of plastic surgery. Social networking for boob jobs. So stupid that it just works.

2:23 PM  
Blogger jodymits said...

This goes out to "Prophet Tenebrae".

The person who made million dollar hompage sold the last few pixels for $30,000 or something along those lines, so he made a little MORE than $1millionUSD.

Also, he had to pay $15,000/month to keep the site up and running, or something alongs those lines as well, so he didn't really make $1millionUSD at all, but maybe closer to $900 thousand.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Luke said...

You really did miss the point of the HIV dating website. You assume that people who aren't positive would be looking to date someone who is positive, when the real goal of the site is to help two positives find each other.

I doubt you are so ignorant to think that HIV positive people don't retain human emotions, so some of the comments here are unduly harsh, but don't try to backpedal by saying it's natural to assume that the HIV community is "small" and "unconnected." After being subjected to HIV awareness campaigns for the past 20 years, the natural assumption is that a great number of people are positive. Most people actually overestimate the number of HIV cases in the US.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Apple said...

Hi, Guys I have not see anyone to check those sites form a SEO point of view. That may can proof their huge success.

My question is how this sites made Million without a significant SE traffic or they have another form of promotion method -- PPC, CPA...???

12:01 AM  
Blogger pammy said...

I just checked it out. Actually they only cost $0.50 - $1.00 pop.

8:52 AM  
Blogger happyballs said...

I created www.HappyBalls.com from Jason Wall's Antenna Ball idea and became a "Thousandaire".

Jason now has an even better idea. He created GlassTatz.com.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Kathleen Criddle said...

Sounds like an urban myth who could fall for it?

8:02 PM  
Blogger fashionflumasks said...

I wish my site was on this list. I think it will be next year, especially if the bird flu strikes--- www.fashionflumasks.com

5:32 PM  
Blogger Debt Consolidation Refinance said...

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11:53 AM  
Blogger David said...

I have an idea, it's called a Jump To Conclusions Mat...

4:39 PM  
Blogger creative_concept said...

even a cheap idea can make you big through internet business. MY GOSH!!!! Only Smart ideas works out.....

5:40 AM  
Blogger shadow20002 said...

Well, this isn't lucky but you can tell that they have all what they deserve, a richer.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Phil2008 said...

another idea... it caught my attention and i have ordered... ;) ballbra.com

2:01 AM  
Blogger partygirljessica said...

At least webdate.com isn't like the rest of them.

6:39 AM  
Anonymous me said...

The one thing that most of these "businesses" have in common is that their primary customers are complete and utter idiots.

That last link in the above post will cost you $39.99.

And people wonder why I have no respect for humanity.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous me said...

If he's a billionaire, why is he continueing to waste his time attempting to sell more crap instead of out enjoying his billionaire lifestyle?

His "information" is probably along the lines of "offer people ideas on how to make money (for a fee of course) and then when they send you money, tell them to post messages on blogs offering other people ideas on how they too can get rich quick."

He's an asshole.

11:55 AM  
Blogger dianne_lone said...

the only online service I use is webdate*com.. and it is not as stupid than any of these sites...

1:53 AM  
Blogger Jarcened said...

I guess webdate*dot*com is soon to be next on the list. But I'm positive its not a dumb site. Check it out!

4:06 AM  
Anonymous Pinky said...

I think it is funny how people can easily make money with such silly ideas, though I feel you are a bit insensitive on the positivedating idea.

12:39 AM  
Anonymous ShopNewsBank said...

Some of the ideas listed may be unconventional, but they also might not deserve to be called dumb because they were examples of "out-of-the-box" thinking.

1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

let me tell you whats stupid. To list 10 dumbest by going from 1-10. You go from 10-1, idiots.

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh you guys are seriously irriating. Stop insulting his post. I found it really funny, I hadn't heard of most of them, and really enjoyed it.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Magnus A said...

We have a swede here who selling ads on his body, ...tatues (is it the word for permanent body art?) of course!

1:03 PM  
Anonymous DIO said...

The correct spelling would be "tattoos"

Anyway, that is quite an interesting idea... Selling body space for advertising... Hahaha

9:08 AM  
Anonymous ShopNewsBank said...

Wonder what are the rates that the Swede guy charges for different body parts. Maybe he should have a web site similar to the million dollar homepage where he has a picture of himself and a price overlaid over each body part!

9:30 AM  
Blogger Marco said...

Hilarous and I can't me a dime from my very interesing blogs!!!

1:24 AM  
Blogger virtualbeas said...

I agree that including the HIV dating site is rude and not really valid. I think the people responsible for this start-up recognized the burden that people with HIV face when attempting to date.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous brigitta said...

as above link says. This is also something you would not imagine, but also hitting the streets in Toronto. Selling in the Global market is becoming an interesting business.

btw: www.BALLBRA.com as you mentioned above, is actually interesting, but only to a nich market. Well, i did get it for my boyfriend.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably should add Borrow a Dollar to that list. It will be making millions soon.

1:58 AM  
Anonymous Prast said...

Thanks for your information, Nice Article.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Terry Kyle said...

Thanks. The craziest ideas are often more likely to succeed than the ultra-safe ones!

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Donald said...

I share the same views. Liked your blog very much.

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Diane said...

Great list. Funny, I saw an ad for santa letters yesterday so I guess that business is still going on strong.

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Del said...

I am all about out-of-the-box thinking.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous PAW1300T 7V said...

The million dollar homepage experiment was my favorite case study. It shows the amazing possibility of the internet where an idea when put into action can make unlimited amount of money.

Prophet Tenebrae - I believe it to be real. It got a lot of media attention. You can't fake something like that when the whole world is watching.

5:59 AM  
Anonymous Project Management Team said...

I am wondering about these ideas. i have never seen before.

1:45 AM  
Anonymous gary said...

I like your ideas and your blog very much. Thank you.

5:11 AM  
Anonymous Annie's Online Store said...

well, the ideas are good and they will sell too, online business do well if they are executed the right way and planned ahead, people love to buy online as it saves them time as well as money and offers the opportunity to see hundreds of things at once, all you need is to market products the best way to sell them

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Nike Shox Pas cher said...

thanks for sharing

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Ecommerce said...

Since it became big time we should not call in a dumb business after all. I don't know if it is a talent, making lots of money through online.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Coach Outlet Stores said...

i think it is right...>

8:29 PM  
Blogger Trendy said...

thanks

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Trade Stock Online said...

What I find remarkable is that people are willing to pay for and charge for something that others do for free. Canada Post employees for years have been helping answer letters to Santa from children all over the world.

1:17 AM  

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