A lot of adults in life would have you think you can’t have fun for a living. If you’re a jokester, a prankster, or just have an especially strong sense of humor, you’re told you need to get your act together unless you want to spend the rest of your life cleaning toilets.
But laughter is almost as big a physiological need as food and water. All of us need a good laugh to stay sane. And in this modern world in which anything can be given value and a price tag (eg. the Pet Rock), a genuinely funny person can command an admirable salary just for doing what comes naturally.
So if someone says you can’t make a living making people laugh, just turn their attention to this list. These are websites that make millions of dollars in revenue by providing people an outlet to mindlessly waste a few minutes of time every day.
Worth: $340 million
Cracked is one of the most popular humor sites on the web, best known for its pop culture-based list articles (like 7 Disturbing Details in Back to the Future You Never Noticed). The brand has actually been around since 1958, originally as a print magazine. Eventually in 2005, investors decided to revive Cracked with both the magazine and a new website.
After being purchased by Demand Media in 2007, Cracked went through a rapid growth period. It currently brings in around $1.68 million a month. The bulk of the articles are made by freelance contributors, who earn $100-$300 per article. Site revenue comes from ads.
Worth: $86.5 million
Based in L.A. and renowned for its inventive sketch video content, CollegeHumor is the brainchild of Josh Abramson and Ricky Van Veen, two high school friends who decided to make an advertisement-based website in 1999 after they’d seen similar sites become successful.
People tune-in to CollegeHumor for the original videos, many of which feature celebrities from TV and film. For a great taste of what CollegeHumor is about, check out their Troopers series (a spoof of Star Wars storm troopers).
Most of the money comes from ads (including both on-site and Youtube Ads).
Worth: $90 million
The Onion has a very particular brand of humor. They satirize the news. And not just current events. A lot of their humor comes from the fact that they present every-day occurrences as worthy of breaking news.
The Onion began as a publication by Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson, students at the University of Wisconsin. Reception was so good that they soon began distributing throughout the region. The website launched in 1996 with massive success and has been on a roll ever since.
The staff at the Onion find lots of creative ways to make money, including ads, memorabilia (mugs, shirts, etc.), and anthologies.
Worth: $75.75 million
eBaum’s World features a hodgepodge of funny videos, cartoons, and games. A lot of the content comes from around the web.
The site began in 2001 with Eric Bauman, who started the site as a project while in college. It grew so well that eventually dropped out and hired a staff to help him run things. Eventually, Eric sold the site in a $15 million deal that included $2.5 in stock.
The main source of cash flow is advertising.
Worth: $93 million
Originally I Can Has Cheezburger, this immensely popular site began as a place to find funny cat pictures. It launched in 2007. That same year, it was acquired by investors for $2 million. It currently gets as many as 1.5 million unique visitors a day.
Although Cheezburger has moved beyond cat, memes are still the basis of the site. What makes it so appealing to users is that it allows them to create their own memes by adding text to pictures. With a click, users can share their self-made memes on social media. Memes made on the site feature the Cheezburger logo, which promotes branding.
As these sites show, making millions may not be easy, but it doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, you can have plenty of laughs along the way.