Starting a Business

The Worst Ideas That Made Tons of Money

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than smart.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the May 2009 . Subscribe »

Selling property on the moon: Real estate on Earth might be undergoing a major price correction, but property on the moon still has many shelling out the dough.

Fake wishbones: These plastic wishbones serve no purpose, but consumers purchased them hoping for a lucky break.

The Million Dollar Homepage: The idea of owning a piece of internet history convinced many to buy up Alex Tew's million-pixel homepage at $1 per pixel.

Pet Rock: Never mind that consumers could find one on the ground for free. Paying $3.95 for a rock that came with eyes and a training manual was much more appealing-and transformed its creator into a millionaire.

Garbage Pail Kids: Perhaps the grossest trading cards ever, they created quite a stir in the '80s.

Prairie Tumbleweed Farm: Who knew that Kansas' specialty--tumbleweeds--could be a hot commodity in other parts of the world?

Mood Ring: Though wildly popular in the '70s, facial expressions served as a much better indicator of mood than the colors of this ring.

Chia Pets: These animal-shaped clay figures grew popular by growing sprouts that closely resemble animal fur. While they're not nearly as popular now as they were in the '80s, the new Chia Obama might just bring about a rebirth.

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It Started As a Joke and Turned Into a Startup That Raised $1 Million in Funding