6 Unlikely Internet Millionaires

By Mack Mikelon | February 05, 2013 AAA
6 Unlikely Internet Millionaires

I'm sure many of us would like to earn seven figure salaries from the comfort of our own homes. Internet avenues such as YouTube and various blogs are allowing relatively average people to make executive-level salaries by simply writing blog posts or uploading their own videos.

Bloggers
Pete Cashmore
Like it or not, blogging has become big business, and Pete Cashmore is just one example of many showcasing its true potential. Cashmore founded Mashable, a blog devoted to social media news, when he was 19 years old. Earning his income from an assortment of ads and pay-per-click links, Cashmore makes almost $600,000 per month - about $7.2 million a year. According to the website itself, Mashable receives over 50 million monthly page views. Mashable was named one of the 25 best blogs by Time in 2009.

Perez Hilton
Perez Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, is a celebrity blogger who reports gossip and news on celebrities ranging from famous musicians and Hollywood actors to professional athletes. He's also notorious for posting tabloid photographs and writing captions for them that poke fun at the celebrities in the pictures, earning his site a reputation as one of the most hated in Hollywood. In April 2009, PerezHilton.com was the 143rd most-visited site in the United States. Lavandeira reportedly makes between $200,000 and $400,000 per month, which is as much or more than some of the celebrities that he writes about.

Photo Courtesy Mary Hodder

Gina Trapani
Gina Trapani is another example of how blogging can be the perfect stay-at-home career. In fact, she has made millions from blogging. Her claim to e-fame and fortune is being the co-founder of the personal improvement blog LifeHacker, which offers practical knowledge to make everyday tasks easier to accomplish. The site also offers downloadable software. Trapani was the editor of the website until 2009 and still writes for LifeHacker on a regular basis. Trapani also writes for such websites as Fast Company and Harvard Business Online. She is believed to be making about $110,000 a month.

Collis Ta'eed
Collis Ta'eed, founder of TutsPlus, is a tech savvy blogger who helps people understand how to use various software applications. His blog lets novice and intermediate software users access tutorials for programs related to graphic design, music production and video editing, just to name a few. Ta'eed rakes in somewhere between $55,000 and $120,000 per month from advertising revenue and membership fees for his various online properties.

YouTube Vloggers
Although YouTube has launched many careers, in 2007 YouTube launched its partnership program, opening up the doors for income to millions more. The YouTube partnership program enables YouTube's most successful contributors (that is, those with the most hits for their videos) to receive a share of YouTube's advertising revenue. With Google paying up to $9,000 for every 2 million views, YouTube vlogging is quickly becoming a lucrative endeavor. YouTube channels that receive a few million hits may even rival second- and third-tier cable networks in terms of total content views. Google reported that "several hundred" YouTube vloggers made over $100,000 per year in 2011. Furthermore, YouTube has a global audience of 780 million people, which blows away the audience for American television.

Marina Orlova
As a YouTube partner, Marina Orlova became the first YouTube video blogger to make $1 million from the popularity of her videos. Taking advantage of her two degrees in philology and her beauty (Wired.com voted her the "Sexiest Geek in the World"), Orlova hosts a YouTube channel titled "HotForWords," in which she makes videos about topics such as the origins of English words and idioms. Orlova's videos have received more than 470 million views and her channel has over 400,000 subscribers. Her channel has been mentioned in publications such as the New York Times and Cosmopolitan and she's a recurring guest on Fox Television's show "The O'Reilly Factor."

Ray William Johnson
Ray William Johnson is another YouTube partner success story. After dropping out of Columbia University, where he was studying history, Johnson went on to make video sketches that ridicule YouTube video tropes and clichés. With 1.5 billion total views, an average of about 5 million per week, Johnson is estimated to make over $1 million per year. However, Johnson claims that the production costs for his videos, including animation, eat up most of his earnings, and that he runs advertisements and sells T-shirts to cover overhead costs and to pay his collaborators.

The Bottom Line
The above examples show that the Internet can be an effective and comfortable way to earn a fortune, and to create careers that didn't exist a decade ago. There is clearly a market for skilled wordsmiths and engaging online personalities as more and more bloggers and vloggers enter the millionaires club with each passing year.

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