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Internet Startups: How 15 of the Best Began

internet business

Everyone has heard some of the amazing rags-to-riches stories that circulate the internet. How some young kid started up a multi-million dollar business in his dorm room or his parents’ basement. The stories seem to be endless, but there are definitely some that are more worthy of retelling than others. The dream of becoming a millionaire is one that is shared by many. Those who become millionaires are usually the ones who have done something about realizing their dreams, and taken the steps to see their dreams come true.

Here is a list of some of the biggest internet businesses that came from nothing more than a great idea, some hard work, and, perhaps a little luck.

  1. Facebook: Nobody can hear this kind of story anymore and not immediately think of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook coming out of his dorm room at Harvard. Originally a skilled computer hacker, Zuckerberg eventually sold his revolutionary idea for hundreds of millions of dollars.
  2. Google: There are few people on the planet who are not familiar with Google, and who do not use it on a regular basis. As a clearinghouse for nearly all of the information in the world, it is more than a household name. Creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin came up with this idea in a garage.
  3. YouTube: At first, Chad Hurley merely wanted to find a way to share videos with his friends. Ultimately, the idea turned into one of the biggest internet sensations of all time, one that most people online interact with on a nearly daily basis. Within the first year of starting up, YouTube was showing over 3 million videos a day.
  4. Ebay: Who could live without Ebay these days? Just think, this site started small by Pierre Omidyar in his home, and has become the number one place to buy and sell online.
  5. Digg: Creator Kevin Rose came up with this brainchild in his apartment, wanting to develop a site that was filled with all kinds of different information for people to “dig” up. Needless to say, Kevin is no longer living in a dinky apartment and people use the site frequently to find what they need.
  6. LinkedIn: Reid Hoffman thought that a site that was socially connected but professionally based would be a great idea, and he was right. Started at home in 2003, it has turned out to be the main spot for online business and professional networking.
  7. PlentyOfFish: Some would have thought that the internet was flooded with dating sites, and that there was really no more room in this niche. But, Markus Frind was discouraged by having to pay for meeting people on dating sites, and developed one that was free, right in his office. The immense popularity made him very successful.
  8. Runescape: Andrew Gower began as a gamer who enjoyed his hobby. But, from a bedroom in his parents’ home, he eventually created this dungeon game that took off. After monetizing the site, he became quite wealthy.
  9. Threadless: Jack Nickell and Jacob Dehart created something from nothing in a studio apartment, now running a huge website that makes them a pretty penny focusing on development of t-shirt designs. Initially investing about $50 each, the site is now worth millions.
  10. PopCapGames: Another niche that was seemingly full found room for one more when John Vechey and his buddies came up with the idea of “Bejeweled,” which became an internet phenomenon very quickly. With so many addicted to this game, this little creation was well worth the effort.
  11. Mashable: Pete Cashmore had a brilliant idea about “mashing” together the information that people wanted, and created Mashable to be a news site that was socially driven. After deciding he was bored with schoolwork, he created this site which quickly started earning him money and ultimately became extremely profitable and popular.
  12. BizChair: With $500 bucks and a spare bedroom in his parents’ home, Sean Belnick started off by selling 50 different products related to school and office supplies. Today, he runs a company selling more than 25,000 products and staffed by over 75 employees. With Microsoft and Google being two of his biggest customers, this internet startup can prove tremendous success is possible.
  13. Voltage:  What began as a summer research project for two business students, Rishi Kacker and Matt Pauker, turned into a huge internet business selling many different business software products. After winning a business plan contest at Stanford University, the two have gone on to find their way to the top.
  14. FastHost: The bedrooms of teenagers are often the birthplace of many genius ideas when it comes to internet startups. Andrew Michael is a perfect example of this type of success, after creating an internet business dedicated to improving hosting capabilities for anyone wishing to create a great website. Selling the site made him a multimillionaire as a teen.
  15. WhatEverLife: All it took for Ashley Qualls to begin this huge internet business is a domain name purchased for $8 and a home computer. Although she initially intended to create a way to share her personal MySpace with her friends, WhatEverLife turned into an internet phenomenon that helped people share their own backgrounds and themes with their friends.

What this list represents is a number of great ideas that turned out to be megahits online. These are certainly not the only examples! There are thousands of internet sites like these that started small, often in a bedroom or basement, and with a little persistence, changed the face of the internet forever!

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