Given the glorious uncertainty of the Internet, one can never tell what will and won’t take off. Here are some absolutely ridiculous business ideas that defied logic, common sense and market expectations and made it big.
1) The Pet Rock
Founder: Gary Dahl
Gary Dahl was at a bar listening to his friends whine about their pets when he struck gold. What could make a more perfect house pet than a ROCK? It’s low maintenance, doesn’t bite, adapts to any diet and basically just lets you get away with being a terrible pet owner. All of these “virtues” must have struck a chord with aspiring pet owners and the Pet Rock became something of a phenomenon. Your pet rock comes delivered with an instruction manual of the proper way to care for your rock, and instructions on how to make your rock sit, stand, bite or play dead. It was incredibly cheap to produce and Dahl ended up with $ 15 million dollars in the bank.
Founder: Craig Newmark
Controversy’s favourite child since the day it launched (given the privacy and safety concerns it throws up), this hasn’t stopped Craigslist from everybody’s favourite online jumble sale. You can get almost anything here, be it a job, cat, boyfriend or girlfriend. And with its god-awful website design, Craigslist basically couldn’t care less about classy, elegant layouts. It’s plain, it’s ugly and it works.
Founder: Jeff Bezos
The Amazon founders were quick to understand the appeal of being lazy. Why make a trip to your local Barnes and Noble when you could just have your book delivered to your doorstep. And that’s essentially how Amazon started, delivering books door-to-door.
4) Ashley Madison
Founder: Noel Biderman
“Life is short. Have an affair.” The site’s slogan is all you need to know about ashleymadison.com. While we’re unsure of where exactly it falls on the dating site spectrum, it’s been a massive hit despite the outpour of criticism, raking in upto 1,800,00 visitors per month. Oh, and the site’s founder, Noel Biderman is happily married. How’s that for irony?
5) The Yo App
Founder: Or Arbel
Launched by Arbel on April Fools’ Day, 2014, this absurd app initially allowed users to only send the word “yo” to their friends in text form or as an audio notification. Within two months of its launch, the app was valued between $5 to $10 million dollars.
Founders: Dave Hampton and Caleb Jung
Another ridiculous business idea that’s turned into a million-dollar business, this funky eye gear for your dog has got the attention of the who’s who of the world; right from CNN, People magazine, Animal Planet and National Geographic. Now, you and your pooch can look cool together.
The next time anybody tells you your business idea is too wacky to work, just go do your thing and prove them wrong.