5 ideas that have become online money makers

Hobbies have always been an inspiration for many successful people. While most of us attempt to pursue “safe careers” by going for occupations that may bring us monetary benefits, pretty often we lose sight of our hobbies in our busy lives.

A light bulb momentHowever, with the internet boom many people can now change that. There are many success stories, from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates who ruthlessly pursued their goals and didn’t follow the bandwagon. But in this article I am going to explore a few more down to earth examples.

What is to follow is a list of five e-businesses that started as a hobby or a small idea that brought immense success to their owners. While the below examples might not contain websites as famous as YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, they are examples that we can all relate to, and maybe borrow a few ideas from!

The Million Dollar Homepage

I still remember watching a report about the guy who set up The Million Dollar Homepage on the news (can’t remember if it was BBC or CNN). The founder of The Million Dollar Homepage (Alex Tew) sold pixels of his website for $1, to raise money for his University expense. The site was such a success that it turned out to become a website that is nothing more than several pixels of small ads. I hope by now you would understand what I meant when I said, “examples that we can all relate to”.

The Million Dollar Homepage


When it comes to novel ideas that made people money, this website takes the cake. It provides a service that I wouldn’t have comprehended, had I not learned about this website.

Unknown GraveFind A Grave is a website that helps people locate the graves of a famous people. It turns out that Jim Tipton liked to visit the graves of famous personalities and used this idea to create a kind of search engine that helps people locate graves of famous people.

So if you have a hobby of visiting famous places or areas that can help, say vacationers, then you might be the next big success story.


PickyDomains is another idea that got me scratching my head. The founder of the site was good at coming up with interesting names, so he started a crowdsourcing service that allowed people to seek help in finding interesting domain names and slogans.

The idea was to let a community of people provide novel names and not to rely on bots, which arguably lack imagination. If you have been looking for vacant domain names in a domain search engine, then you will know what I mean.

Picky Domains - Risk-Free Naming Service

So if your friends, family and bots have failed you, then it might be time to seek advice from a community of people, who just like coming up with cool names and slogans.

Gawker Media

While the Gawker Media website itself is successful enough, it is worth pointing out that this media groups is perhaps the world’s most famous blogging network.

The reason I have included the Gawker example is because one thing that most of us can do easily is blogging (something I’m doing right now).

Gawker — Today's gossip is tomorrow's news

Gawker Media has the world’s most successful blogs ranging from Lifehacker, Gizmodo to many others. The Gawker network was started by Nick Denton who is a journalist and an entrepreneur. While he claims that blogging isn’t that profitable, he has still made millions from his successful line of blogs.


I know I said there will be down to earth examples in this post, but I have to add this one. I have been following Amazon since I was a child and have seen the company grow beyond belief.

What started as an online book store was soon to become one of the first e-stores in the world. But it was not just a good idea that made Jeff Bezos the world most successful e-retailer, but the fact that he took risks when it mattered.

It is said that the company did not expect any profit for five years, which also made shareholders a bit edgy. Nonetheless, the internet gold rush paid off and Amazon, which diversified, became one of the most successful companies in the world.

Amazon's Logo

The above mentioned examples are just a few of many success stories that made people successful because they dared to use their ideas to materialize them into something successful (even if someone enjoyed visiting graves).

The point is that it might not be too late for any of you try out something that may allow you to turn your abilities into something successful, and to let you in on a secret, I’m already trying out something myself, guess I don’t want to regret not trying my hands at the internet gold rush either.