10 Dumb Ideas that Made A Lot of Money

by Michelle

People will buy anything, no matter how dumb. Pet rocks and singing fish sold out of the store and while no one will admit to owning one, someone has to be buying it.

Check out a bunch of  dumb ideas that made a lot of money. Maybe they’re not so dumb after all…

1. Pet Rock

pet rock







This was a simple, million dollar idea. Pick up a rock, throw it in a box with some hay and sell for $4.99. Who knew millions of people would prefer to buy a rock to collect dust in their junk drawers over going out and finding one of their own.

2. Billy the Big Mouth Bass

Billy the Big Mouth Bass







WalMart couldn’t keep Billy the Big Mouth Bass on the shelves as folks everywhere bought singing fish to adorn their trailers. I don’t know what would posses someone to make a singing fish…or maybe it was the fish that was possessed.

3. Antenna balls

Antenna Balls







It was bad enough every business gave this away as convention swag at one time, but people were actually buying these.

4. The Flowbee








If there was ever a product that scared kids and husbands alike, it was the Flowbee. Part clipper, part vacuum, the Flowbee supposedly gives a precision haircut with no mess. How so many of these sold is beyond me.

5.  Doggles








Someone thought it would be a good idea to sell sun glasses for dogs. Millions agree. I bet the dogs don’t agree though, mine would never wear these.

6. Santa Mail








I really dropped the ball with this one. For years I sent notes from Santa to nieces, nephews and friends’ kids. Everyone told me to start a website and I never did. Then someone comes out with SantaMail and is doing great. Who knew?

7. The Million Dollar Home Page










Wanna buy a piece of this blog? It’s only a dollar? Sounds like a silly idea but the owner of the Million Dollar Home Page sold pixels on his website for $1 per pixel – and he sold over a million of them.

8. Baby Wigs

bqby wig






When my kid is old enough I’m sure he’ll have enough reasons to hate me what with making him clean his room and go to school and all.  If I put him in one of these and he saw the pictures, it would no doubt seal the deal.

9. Tumbleweed Farm

prairie tumbleweed farm







The Prairie Tumbleweed Farm harvests and ships tumbleweeds world wide. We don’t know exactly why anyone would actually buy a tumbleweed, but apparently  they’re selling well.

10. Mood Rings

Mood ring









So they were supposed to change color according to mood except no one could seem to get theirs off blue. Oh and did I mention they were ugly?



What about those guys that sold pieces of the Berlin wall?

your mom

The falling of the Berlin Wall was one of the most significant historical events in the last 100 years. Owning a piece of the wall is owning a piece of history, and draws attention to its significance. You are an idiot.

Songboom's Dad

@my wife
Honey, don’t get at him because you bought a piece of the wall for an exorbitant price. By the way, all that history you’re talking about is collecting ‘historical dust’ in your drawer. Looking forward to your ribs and mash tatoes tonight. See you after work. :)

eat it

yes, but paying fifteen bucks for a chunk of unidentified concrete with no proof of its provenance makes you an idiot.

Your dad

Don’t forget to mention billy bob teeth?


Dude way better than any of these is the UCI graduate who invented “hot pockets”.


Bottled water?!


there is a certificate of authenticity


What about invading Iraq!..oh..wait.. you didn’tmake money off that..

Joe Don

Not idiocy necessarily. As with most things human — it is the illusion that matters longest.

Prairie Dawg

The tumbleweed idea just freaks me out. I live in Colorado where during a windstorm they go whipping across the highway and you smash into them. Those things are a pain. I guess they must be selling well outside of the Kansas and Colorado.


Each piece of the wall should have been signed by David Hasselhoff..

one more

I would like to add bottled water. If you had asked me 10 years ago if people would pay as much or more for water as soda, I would have laughed at you. Now they are laughing on the way to the bank.

mommy g

the so-called mood ring’s “performance” depended on the temperature of your skin, not your mood…if your skin was cooler, the color was different. (it’s still lame, and still made a TON o money)


Really nice idea! I remember a lot of this stuff. The Flowbee! Too Funny!!!

background into

Couple of things about two of your list items:

Doggles is a great idea, and is applied to the right set of dogs, service dogs. Military and Police dogs are getting doggles to protect them in the line of duty. People that get them for their purse dogs are idiots.

The Tumble weed farm is actually a little bit of a joke. The woman that created it did it to learn HTML. then she started getting orders …. So it wasn’t a dumb idea, just a learning experience.


Howzabout the star registry? Over 25 years of catering to stupid people that have nothing better to do with their money (like giving it to me or – as a second choice – to charity.)

chris w.

Whoever made the comment that pieces of the Berlin Wall should be equated with some of the crap listed above need to be thrown in the gulag.

Memarie Lane

truck balls


OMG… i used to have a moodring, i think i was 11, absolutely loved it….
The pet rock wasn’t a piece of the berlin wall btw….

$weet T

I don’t know why no one has said this yet… the FLOWBEE? Does no one remember the exact same thing in Wayne’s World, except it was called a suck-cut? “Well it certainly does suck!” LOL. Harriet Carter took a (bad?) joke and made it a reality

Eternal Flame

How could you not include bottled water in the top 10???


My Dad uses the Flowbee. It actually works pretty well for him. I don’t see why it’s beyond you that it sold well at one point. It works well for a lot of people ( and saves them $), and it is probably the most practical thing on your list.


Chia Pets


How about the guy profiled in “Richistan” who invented the collectible Christmas village?

Not only was he a billionaire, he invented a whole industry of useless crap.


What about ” Original Mt St Helen’s ash” from the eruption…Everyone was selling this crap, and most was probably from their fireplace or BBQ…


Those mood rings work! Just ask Larry the Cable Guy. He bought one for his girlfriend. It turns blue when she is sad, green when she is happy, yellow when she is excited, and it puts a red mark on his forehead when she is mad!


Flowbees were actually a pretty good idea, *if* the operator knew what they were doing. My wife cuts our family’s hair and the Flowbee sucked up all the hair clippings and made the process much less messy. I would never use one to cut one’s own hair though.

Mood rings were cool, but I was in 5th grade when they made their first appearance…


How about the guys who “invented” the annoying yellow smile button logo? Did they clean up or what?

David Byrden

What about the so-called “Name a Star” certificates? Or does this list include products that don’t do what they imply?
see: http://www.space.com/spacewatch/mystery_monday_030915.html


Seemingly ever shop near where the Wall was still sells pieces of The Wall.


There are a couple of guys who sell organic “trees” online.
So, people around the world get the small tree for $500 USD and that’s it!!!
(He can sell the same tree for more than one time) Good Idea :P

Your mom's pet hamster

Skylab Helmets. Man, I feel old . . .


How about anything that Ron Popeil sells.

The Pocketfisherman?

Remember the infomercials for the Hair Spray paint?


Don’t forget “Pool Noodles”


You forgot Cat Wigs.


A friend of mine bought a “mood watch” — the dial changes color — just a couple of years ago. At the time I commented that if she needs a mechanical device to tell her how she’s feeling, she must find the world in general a very baffling place.

Hey, on the crazy, pointless products: What about ethanol? A fuel that takes more energy to produce than you get out of it, causes more pollution, and damages the engines it’s used in.

Ricky Boy

The fact that so many people were willing put out cash makes these Great Ideas not dumb ones.


My wife and I bought a tumbleweed (medium sized, guaranteed to tumble in the gentlest of breezes). Living in New Jersey, we thought it would be interesting to have. I read that the website does fairly well, and sells a good amount to Japanese who want the ‘wild west’ atmosphere.


About the berlin wall thing, to the person who said its a piece of history, you are the type of person who falls for the bullshit, its not history, its a piece of wall, even if it is from the berlin wall, which might as well be from any other wall, who cares, its the crap of collector items, its famous rubble, seriously


Carbon credits….
Send me $30 and I’ll plant a $2 walnut sapling on some land no one is going to use anyway. In 50 years, we’ll cut it down for lumber ($$$$) and sell another carbon credit for $60.


What about this scam with owning a plot of the moon. lol

I mean, who owns the moon anyway


Hey, I have a piece of th London Bridge. Uhhh, Lake Havasu, Az, desert, lots of granite……ok, I’m an idiot.


At everyone saying ‘bottled water’, the tap water tastes like absolute crap in Arizona, it’s not such a stupid idea.

This one is the best

This guy has made tons of cash selling origami boulders. Yes wadded up pieces of paper. Amazing huh. Check it out here. http://origamiboulder.com/


You can sale just about anything on ebay and people will buy it, I might start my own stupid stuff for sale site, who know I might end up rich or end up paying the bill to the hosting service.

80s Child

Slap bracelets. The coolest thing ever…when you’re 10.

Oh, and Jelly Shoes, which every girl had to have, even though they are the most uncomfortable type of footwear you could ever wear, especially on hot sweaty days.

And Pogs. They made an absolute fortune off of cardboard disks with pictures on them. Americans are suckers. (Other countries are probably suckers, too, but I don’t live in any of them, so I don’t know, haha)


I remember a few silly ones, but not as successful:

Canned air from hawaii

1 sq. In. of somewhere by purchasing a T-shirt. (I have a sq. in of Hawaii, so it says…) I am sure my deed has “expired”. ;-)

Holy water/dirt from Israel

My favorite has to be:

Carbon Credits!

Its the biggest novelty gag ever, has succeeded in making algore a billionaire, does absolutely nothing productive, and makes people who should know better feel like they are doing good.

(You get virtual “carbon credits” for things like someone hopefully planting a tree that which supposedly will x amount of carbon dioxide over 30 years, assuming it lives that long, and ignoring the resultant carbon “debt” when the tree dies. But you feel good, just like the name a star scam!)

There are a million ways to sell carbon credits, and most all of them are scams. (they count burned carbon against theoretical absorbed carbon, without any evidence that it helps do anything in the first place.)

Carbon Credits is the best gag idea, ever, in my opinion.

We just won’t acknowledge the scam of carbon credits for a few more years, when it becomes obvious what a scam they are.

Recycling plastic is a close second, though. It lets me throw an extra garbage can of trash away every week for “free”.



Where do you think they get bottled water? It sure as hell isn’t purified.


Al, carbon credits are not to be lumped into this category. Buying carbon credits can do one of two things for you:

1: take those credits out of circulation so that polluting factories can’t use them

2: buy enough and then there is the chance you can sell them back at a higher price when the market becomes scarce. It’s like buying stock.

Hardly useless.


In some countries the tap water can be very sub-standard, bottled water there is not a bad idea at all (they does however over price it)
Berlin wall, well, its just as useless as autographs, collecting stamps or anything you collect for other reasons than to use.


The tumbleweed farm was originally a joke, but then they got actually got a few orders. Hollywood and NASA are apparently particularly interested in buying tumbleweeds.


Bottled water is NOT BAD AT ALL. Over 2 billion people a year die from drinking dirty water. Bottled water is clean and safe for those people to drink.


i think The Million Dollar Homepage is an amazing idea