The 6 Dumbest Ways People Tried To Turn Memes Into Money
The internet can pervert even the most mundane subjects, and at the end of the day, that quality is the very heart of our greatest memes. These can reach millions of bored people, and sometimes bored people have money and are just bored enough to spend it. So it was only a matter of time before memes became big money-makers, and in some cases literal currency ... in the dumbest ways possible, of course. This is the internet we're talking about here.
Rare Pepes And PepeCash
If you don't know what Pepe the Frog is, close this article now and enjoy the rest of your life. If you do, there's no gentle way to say this: Pepe has become a meme-based form of cryptocurrency, and that's just where we're at now.
Like most of the worst things, it started as a joke. Artists created designs they started calling "rare Pepes." Get it? Because everything online is infinitely copy-pastable. But then, by using blockchain tech, they found a way to actually make such creations rare, producing a set number of copies with a digital signature. We're not going to pretend to understand how that works -- you could replace "blockchain" with "wizard magic" in most contexts and it would make about as much sense -- but it worked, and now it's a thriving economy. So if that world-ending meteor could hurry it up, that would be great.
Seriously, these digital trading cards regularly sell for thousands of dollars in PepeCash, the cryptocurrency developed alongside the concept. If you need to take a break to really absorb every word of that sentence, we understand. There are even people employed as quality control experts, who authenticate each Rare Pepe. So if only one good thing comes of this, it's giving a lot of middle-schoolers nice summer jobs.
The Nut Button Bros.
A few years ago, Staples came up with a promotion to convey the ease of access to their products and services: Simply put a red button on your desk, and whenever you need a new office supplies, you slap the button and your request appears as if out of thin air. Naturally, the internet had to make it weird, and thus the Nut Button meme was born.
It could have ended there and everyone would have been happy, or at least wearily resigned, but there's always someone willing to get weirder. In this case, it was a college kid named Davis Harari, who decided he wanted to own a physical nut button. Dismayed by his stunning lack of options, he pitched the idea of manufacturing and selling them online to a finance buddy of his. With no formal e-commerce experience, they decided to "figure it out along the way," which is ironically how most of us learn to do the thing the button purports to do.
By the next year, their buttons -- retailing for $11.99 a pop -- had raked in $200,000. Don't try to do the math there. It'll only depress you. To be clear, the buttons don't do anything. You hit one and a robotic voice says "Nut." If anyone ever figures out how to manufacture a button that induces orgasm, it'll clear way more than six figures.
The Grumpy Cat Fine Art Auction
Messed-up pets are also the cutest, so Grumpy Cat mania surprised no one. The owners of a fluffball with facial deformities that gave her a permanent scowl made a fortune from products bearing the cat's image, before she tragically departed this world in 2019. But even people with no connection to the cat got in on the action.
The Grumpy Cat Art Project was an exhibition produced by a studio in Alaska, showing work from dozens of resident artists inspired by Grumpy Cat. "Inspired" is truly the right word. Alongside traditional media, Grumpy Cat appeared as jewelry, sculpture, and even chain mail, a water tower, a rock, and the heir to the Iron Throne.
These masterpieces were displayed in the museum and later put up for auction online, with the proceeds going toward facility renovations and other benefits for the resident artists, who were by then presumably deep in the throes of an artistic existential crisis.
Meme Run: The Game Based On Stealing Memes
Only particularly unenlightened grandmas still argue that video games can't be art, but the boom has definitely resulted in a flood of questionable products. (We're looking at you, Flappy Bird.) Trying to jump in on the fun and definitely grab some gold, Ninja Pig Studios released Meme Run, a supposed "game" that looks like it was created by those aforementioned grandmas. All they know is that their grandsons are really into their StationPlays and "dank memes," so obviously they would snap up a game in which you dodge Reddit monstrosities until you die, right? As if that wasn't depressingly close to real life.
We didn't buy this game and still feel like we deserve a refund.
Initially, the game was a free download, so no one cared, but after Nintendo started selling it for $4.99, people started paying attention, and not in the way they wanted. Since it's filled with all the amazingness of the internet, it's basically one big orgy of piracy. No official statement was given, but that's probably why Nintendo quietly dropped the game.
Related: Area 51 Meme-Inspired Porn
Someecards Entered The Wine Industry
Think back to the early 2010s -- a more innocent time, when you were only mildly concerned about the fate of Ned Stark and your friends obsessively shared those snarky e-card memes. The cards were by a website called Someecards, and they swiftly became yet another victim of Mark Zuckerberg's algorithms. Of the many schemes they've used to try to stay afloat in the aftermath, possibly the most ill-conceived was their decision to enter the booze business with themed wines that would appeal to the middle-aged moms sharing their posts.
Surprisingly, the wine was a success. It's apparently not bad for cheap, meme-based stuff. Their chardonnay was a labeled a "top pick" by The Tasting Panel, and their red blend was a medal winner at the Cincinnati International WIne Festival. We're not even going to make fun of that, because you know what? Good for them. Far be it from us to belittle anybody's success in the post-Facebook apocalypse.
You Can Now Buy Ad Space On Goatse.cx
If you don't know what Goatse is, well, we would link you, but our advertisers would send us to our room. It was basically the original Rickroll, except instead of tricking your friends into listening to a delightful '80s jam, you tricked them into looking at a man's severely dilated anus. Oh, like you were never 14.
Apparently, Goatse has turned a new leaf and completely removed the N in NSFW. Its website, Goatse.cx, has made a comeback as a terrible digital billboard. This isn't the first attempt to monetize all the anus-driven traffic to the site. Back in 2012, its owner tried selling email leads to anyone who was willing to pay them for it, but that idea went down the toilet. They then created a million-pixel board and sold each pixel for 0.001 Etherium, which was worth around $100 in early 2019. By that time they had successfully sold 6,000 pixels, so around 994,000 to go. This is what you see right now if you go to Goatse.cx:
There are untold numbers of teenagers following that link, expecting to see injured buttholes, and only finding weird tiny ads. If that doesn't honor the spirit of Goatse, we don't know what does.
RG Jordan is not big on social media, but he is big on working and eating food, so you can contact him at RGJordan4@gmail.com if you think his words are funny or insightful. Christian Markle loves memes and money. So go send him either or both on Facebook.
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