How One Man Makes Serious Money From Funny Products One year after buying a site that everyone said would fail, Peter Boychuk has no regrets.
Viral websites typically follow the same life cycle: They spend a week flying around social media, make it into a late-night comedian's monologue and then that's it. Everyone's had a laugh, and the site is forgotten. There was no reason to expect anything different of Ship Your Enemies Glitter, which, for about 10 bucks, would mail an envelope full of glitter to some unfortunate recipient. The site went viral last January. But then it veered off script: After a week, its creator put the site up for sale -- and someone bought it for $85,000, which digital denizens treated as its own punchline. "It's an internet fad that will die out quickly," wrote one Reddit commenter. "The person who bought it for $85K is going to hate themselves."
But here's the thing: "It was the best investment of my life," says the buyer, Peter Boychuk, who very much doesn't hate himself. More than a year later, the site has done sales "in the high six figures." And he beat the odds by thinking differently -- not as the owner of a viral site, but as the owner of a startup with lots of potential.
Boychuk is 28 and lives in a tiny Georgia town called Buford. He dropped out of college six years ago, then set up a business in his house selling car parts online. Now he has a 12,000-square-foot warehouse and three to five employees. He follows his gut. When he saw Ship Your Enemies Glitter, he thought: If people are buying this, what else might they buy? So once the site became his, he rounded up his auto-parts employees to brainstorm new gags. "They thought I was crazy," he says.