This Is How People Make Money out of Thin Air Thanks to the Internet

The Internet has removed borders between people of the world thus incredibly expanding their communication and commercial opportunities. Ecommerce has become a new thing these days. It allows selling and buying with the maximum comfort for both the merchant and the buyer. Since eCommerce provides the widest possible exposure in the market, lots of online entrepreneurs enjoy success with selling absolutely weird, seemingly worthless things. They attract prospects with their smart and original selling proposition that triggers the desire to purchase what is offered no matter how useless and quirky it might seem.

With so many people using the Internet all over the world today, an entrepreneur can find a paying audience for almost anything. Having a website, a clever idea and a few online outreach tools, such as social networks, one has all the chances to create a thriving eCommerce business offering some amazingly wacky products and services.

Here is a short list of businesses that can serve as great examples of out-of-the-box ideas that generate money thanks to the World Wide Web and the global outreach.

Popularizing Your Idea

The key to success in making money online is popularizing your idea. It is not that hard if you sell weird things or services as in this case your idea might be deemed as cool and creative. Just start selling unexpected products or services and you may attract press and win free publicity. The more unique and unusual your selling proposition is, the easier it would be to get your business in the spotlight. And this is exactly what helps you sell ice to Eskimos.

The Million Dollar Homepage
The Million Dollar Homepage

When Alex Tew was a student in 2005, he desperately needed money to pay for his education. After a night brainstorming he decided to sell one million pixels of advertising space on his website for $1 per pixel. After friends and family had purchased the first 1000 pixels, Alex sent press releases to local media. It helped spread the word, and the guy earned one million dollars in just five months thanks to his idea, a website and the huge audience in 35 countries he had managed to reach out to.

A Popular Concept with a Twist

By adding a creative or wacky twist to the business, one can tap into any niche no matter how fierce the competition is. The Internet provides you with an unlimited number of prospects, so you are sure to have sales as long as you make your selling proposition attention-worthy.

There are some great examples of successful businesses with a twist I would like to mention.

Postcards from Timbuktu online business
Postcards from Timbuktu

Postcards from Timbuktu: A few former tourist guides from Mali organized a small business that sends out postcards from the city of Timbuktu to anywhere in the world. The name of the city is well known in the English-speaking world due to idioms and expressions where this name is used to refer to any extremely distant or outlandish place. Many people who use these expressions do not even realize Timbuktu is a real place. That is why customers enjoy sending and receiving cards from such a well-known place that many consider imaginary. This peculiarity helped the business get noticed by BBC that had published an article about postcards from Timbuktu.

Ship glitter to enemies online business
Ship your enemies glitter

Nasty parcels for your enemies: Have a grudge against someone and want revenge? There are businesses out there that can do it for you anonymously and not in a very harmful way for the victim. They just mail some unpleasant stuff to the person you hate such as glitter, a bag of dirt, a bag of gummy dicks, and even bull shit (literary) artfully incorporated into a postcard. These new startups make money by tapping into one of the strongest emotions a human being can experience and helping people let off steam by arranging a mildly innocuous revenge on their enemies. Well, nothing makes people want to part with their money so willingly like love and hatred.

Potato parcel online business
Potato parcel

Unusual messages: Add something unusual to a normal service, and you will have people’s attention as they start talking and writing about your business because of its fun and out-of-the-box concept. A good example here could be a company that sends custom messages on potatoes. This service is an alternative to postcards your friends definitely do not expect to get. So customers readily pay to surprise message recipients and give them some laughs.

NoPhone phone online business
NoPhone Air

Help people overcome their addictions and bad habits: The easiest way to overcome addictions is to replace them with less harmful alternatives. The NoPhone phone was created for this exact purpose. It is a technology-free alternative to a smartphone. In fact, it is simply a piece of plastic that looks like a smartphone. This fake phone is designed to help those who are addicted to real phones. The NoPhone received an award as one of top 10 useless products in 2015. NoPhone LLC. even sells NoPhone Air which is nothing other than an empty phone packaging with only air inside. Such a weird business could not go unnoticed by some major media outlets. Besides their online store, the company also sells NoPhones on Amazon and apparently people buy their products.

Selling Something you Have Plenty of to Someone Who Lacks It

It is not a secret that people get attracted to exotic and rare things. Not many of us realize that trees, flowers, fruits, animals that we encounter every day may be exotic for someone living in a distant place. And if it is exotic, it is deemed attractive and thus can be sold. Here is a couple of businesses that succeeded at selling stuff that is ordinary in their places to buyers who have no access to such things.

Vitality Air online business
Vitality Air

Selling canned air: Vitality Air, a Canadian company, launched their sales of bottled Rocky Mountains air as a joke that turned into a profitable business when people in China started buying it. When looking at pictures of smog-covered Beijing, I do not wonder why pure air would be in demand in China. Even with the price of $20+ per a can, the market seems to be huge. Vitality Air’s official says their Chinese websites keep crashing because Chinese people just can’t get enough of pure air.

Snow selling online store
Ship Snow, Yo!

Selling snow and fall foliage: People who live in places where the seasons do not change must be bored with permanent colors that surround them. No wonder a bunch of blazing leaves or snow can look like an exotic attraction to them. Even those who see snow and yellow, red and brown foliage every year love contemplating those wonders of nature. It is easy to imagine how excited people from the warmer parts of the planet might be if they get snow or fall leaves shipped to their homes. Undoubtedly this could be an offbeat gift idea for anybody over there. Knowing it and having the power of the Internet, Frederic Tudor, a New England entrepreneur, launched a startup exporting the historic Boston snow. As we can see it is not some simple snow, but the snow produced by the record snowfall in Boston. Another motivation to purchase it. The startup is called Shipsnowyo and it promises to deliver the Boston snow overnight in the USA for just $13. And the business proved to be profitable enough for the owner to invest in its growing. Inspired by Frederic’s success, another Boston entrepreneur Kyle Waring launched a startup that ships foliage. With the lowest price of $19.99 for three autumn maple leaves, the startup received 30 orders shortly after the launch.

The Internet has brought people closer. It has crushed lots of barriers and made distances much less significant for socializing and trade. With millions of websites in the World Wide Web, even socially awkward and physically handicapped persons can feel the joy of communication, education and earning money from the comfort of their homes.

As a team of web designers and developers, we are proud of being a part of the global workforce that helps companies and individuals wield the power of the Internet to bring their ideas to life, showcase their products and tap into their market all over the world.