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In Pictures: Money-Making-Memes

Not all Memes are silly, you know. Some of them make money, a lot of money.

May 26, 2011 4:23 by

  • Internet memes, for those unsavvy Kippers, refer to "Internet phenomena: viral videos, image macros, catchphrases and web celebs" to quote It is a strange phenomenon, and Kipp having been an avid observer of memes cannot, to date, specify any particular trend between the various memes. What makes a meme popular we do not know, but that memes can make people pretty rich is pretty evident. Take a look at our list of the various internet memes that has made several people rather rich owners of internet memes.

  • Do you remember the awful monstrosity that was living on top of Princess Beatrice's head during the course of the royal wedding? And do you remember the numerous internet spin-offs that were inspired by the hat? Well put the two and two together and what do you get? An auction for said hat for no less than $130,000! Princess Beatrice, for her part, seems rather pleased by the attention she's got from the hat: "I’ve been amazed by the amount of attention the hat has attracted. It’s a wonderful opportunity to raise as much money as possible for two fantastic charities. I hope whoever wins the auction has as much fun with the hat as I have."

  • Back Dorm Boys aka Two Chinese Guys. Do you remember these two Chinese art students from Guangzhou who took videos of themselves lip syncing to the Backstreet Boys in front of their webcam as early as 2005? Well what just some silly fun turned out to be the turning point for the boys’ life. Shortly before they graduated from college they signed deals with a talent company in Beijing and now endorse several products including Motorola and Pepsi.

  • Remember LOLcats? Well did you know that the "I Can Has Cheezburger" website was bought in September of 2007 for $2 million by Ben Huh. Not such a bad business decision, considering the fact that after two years the I Can Has Cheezburger network was receiving 10 million unique visitors a month.

  • Kipp is rather impressed by the story of one business savvy father who saw a business opportunity in a video he took of his not-so-lucid son that went viral. He created a website called which allowed several visitors to buy merchandise including t-shirts and stickers. According to our sources, the profits from the website in addition to licensing deals and an ad partnership with YouTube have already surpassed $100,000.

  • Rebecca Black's mother may have paid $2,000 for a production company to produce her daughter's, ahem, interesting song "Friday" but the gamble has paid off. According to the Globe and Mail, the video has been downloaded on iTunes over 2 million times with a payout rate of 70 cents per song. Add the two together and that probably means Black is looking at a lump sum of no less than $1.4 million.

  • When Aretha Franklin wore a rather special hat to Obama's inauguration, when she sang “My Country ’Tis of Thee” the internet went crazy with the hat placing it on several of history's most significant characters (quite like Princess Beatrice's fascinator). But unlike Princess B's monstrosity, many people wanted to have a replica of the hat causing Luke Song, the creator of Aretha's hat, to receive more than 5,000 orders for the $179 hat no more than 2 months after Franklin herself wore it. What’s with the obsession with hats, you say? Well you tell us since you internet trolls made them so famous.

  • Justin Bieber was discovered on YouTube at the young age of 12 when his videos went viral. Apart from the millions of viewers who discovered the boy, Bieber was also spotted by RnB sensation Usher. Speaking to "Good Morning America Weekend" Usher says he was mesmerised by the young Justin Bieber's talent:

    "It was truly his talent, his ability to, on the spot, produce that magic. "There was something really eager and something so poised to be something. I didn't know what he would be but I knew 9 wanted to be involved. And when I finally got the chance to hear him sing, I knew that this was a kid that was going to go very far. And I felt like I could offer him a lot. (...) This kid is really like once in a lifetime glimpse at a prodigy or something incredible."

  • This is the kind of Meme that companies are desperately trying to replicate. Skittles, for example, has been making great headway. tGranted this Meme was funded by Old Spice and so isn't quite like the rest on the list. Yet when the video of former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa standing in a bathroom and answering questions and comments went viral, Old Spice did get a lot of attention. Good for the company, which banked on the hype by rolling out different versions of the towel-clad Mustafa, even making short clips where he answered people’s Tweets and Youtube comments.


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