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5 Insane Ways Your Favourite Sites Got Famous

So weird that they worked

Molly Holt
5 Insane Ways Your Favourite Sites Got Famous© 2017 Robert Scoble - Flickr

1. Recently valued at $1.3 billion, AirBnb (the popular site that rents out rooms to travellers), began its legacy by selling cereal. And not just any cereal. Obama cereal. As angel investors weren’t eager to invest in the unique site, the cofounders had to think of new ways to make money, so decided to make a special limited-edition brand of political cereal: Obama O's, Cap'n McCain and Breakfast of Change. They bulk-bought cheap cereal, pasted together cardboard boxes, and in two months they had sold 800 at $40 each, and earnt more than $300,000 USD. Although the Obama cereal was massively popular, their diet mainly consisted of the less-lusted after McCain version - apparently. That might not be true, but it probably is.

2. If you haven’t heard of Reddit, I’m not sure where you’ve been. Classed as ‘the front page of the internet’, the beginning of the site’s story isn’t on quite the same spectrum. When it was started in 2005, the site had barely any users (compared to its 731 million unique visitors in 2013), so the cofounders created hundreds of fake accounts, replying and arguing with themselves to make it look like the site had massive traffic. This also set up “spirited discussion” (see: abusive) tone of the site which continues today. They really did fake it until they made it.

3.Paypal handles $315.3 million worth of transactions daily, but when they first began, it was them that paid their users. Offering a free $10 to everyone that joined their e-commerce site, as well as extra dollar for recommending friends. Obviously this caused a massive loss, but generate huge traffic, hitting 1 million users just over a year after their launch. Genius, really. Who doesn’t want free money?!

4. Pinterest is growing rapidly and has more than 70 million users worldwide, but its massive user input stems back to the site’s early days. Co-founder Ben Silberman personally wrote to the first 7000 people that signed up asking them for their opinions, and believes it was this feedback that has resulted in the site’s mass popularity today. Oh stop it Ben, we don’t like to boast about our achievements.

5. If a global funding platform for medical treatments isn’t already the work of a saint, then the story behind how Grace Garey got there might just about convince you. Checking the scores in a bar in the last hour of a competition to win $10,000 worth of funding, Garey realised her site Watsi was head-to-head with its rival. So, she did what every passionate and determined human would do. Asked every single Tom, Dick and Harry in the bar with her to vote. Oh, and she persuaded the bouncer to ask every newcomer to vote Watsi as well. Winning by just a few percentage points, Garey has so far raised $3 million for patients in 20 countries, just a year and a half since the site’s launch. And there’s us. Thinking our drunken donation to the tramp outside the pub is a godly deed. One day..

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