If you do something extraordinarily clever on the Internet — or if you simply do something stupid involving some kind of furry animal — and it catches fire online, you may have yourself a meme. And if you play your cards right, that meme could earn you some extra cash. Take Grumpy Cat, for example. After pictures and video of the curmudgeonly looking kitty — actual name, Tarder Sauce — went viral, Grumpy Cat’s likeness was used for stuffed toys, apparel, stickers, cat food, etc. His latest capitalistic endeavor: Grumppuccino iced coffee.
While Grumpy Cat certainly wasn’t the first to make a buck from a meme, he also won’t be the last. Here are some of the web’s least likely to succeed, who ended up succeeding. Sorta.
Before Grumpy Cat sported his first frown — we’re talking all the way back in, like, 2007 — a guy named Ben Huh bought I Can Haz Cheezburger, which was pioneering the exciting field of LOLCats — pictures of cats with grammatically incorrect writing on them. (Geez, when you explain it in very simple terms it really does sound mind-bendingly stupid.) Huh has since created a multimillion-dollar LOLCats empire featuring 50 sites, best-selling books, T-shirts, and much more.