It's safe to assume that when Tim Berners-Lee was inventing what we now know as the world wide web, he couldn’t fathom how far it would go. Today, not only is the Internet a great place to find valuable information, but it's also a great place to make money. Over the decades, entrepreneurs have continuously found new ways to earn an income online. Some ideas were fads, while others evolved with the changing times. Then there are those instances when a single idea sets the standard for others to follow. That’s the case for these 10 website owners who make the most money.
10 Jimmy Wales, Larry Sanger - Wikipedia.com (Annual Rev: $2.735M)
This inclusion may come as a surprise! Your response to seeing it on the list was probably, “Oh wow!” A non-profit website, Wikipedia is an online library that puts well-founded data at the world’s fingertips. Its information is donated by unnamed, online sources. Wikipedia is mainly funded with monetary gifts from its readers around the world.
In addition to this, it uses the proceeds from its online store. Ironically, sales make up a small percentage of revenue for the online encyclopedia, which is hosted by Wikimedia. Its host company puts a lot of effort into its fundraising programs to keep the free site operating.
9 Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Evan Williams, Biz Stone - Twitter.com (Annual Rev: $140M)
The introduction of Twitter as a social networking platform took the world by storm in 2006. The microblogging site was different from the onset because it only allowed users 140 characters to say what they needed to say. Since then, the character allotment has doubled. The bulk of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising and information licensing.
Persons or business can promote their tweets, accounts and/or hashtags, for a price. Advertisers are charged per-click or by the retweet. Twitter also sells its public information for companies to use in their consumer analyzing reports. The website also owns other companies that generate income by securing subscribers.
8 Reid Hoffman - LinkedIn.com (Annual Rev: $972M)
The founder of LinkedIn isn’t new to the world of social networking. In 1997, he created SocialNet.com. It can be considered as that decade’s FB or Myspace. His time employed with PayPal encouraged him to create the original social networking website for professionals. Owned by Microsoft, LinkedIn makes its revenue primarily through its marketing and talent solutions, and its prime subscribers. The site sells advertising space, recruiting services and offers special privileges to its premier members, such as improving their search results, being able to send emails within the system and the ability to communicate with members outside of their connections.
7 Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim - Youtube.com (Annual Rev: $1.7B)
Before YouTube, what we watched was controlled by the powers that be. YouTube is owned by the masses, allowing us to search the strangest, most hilarious, terrifying, or the most heart-tugging videos that give us a true glimpse into the scope of life today. Since it started, anyone with a video camera can upload what they want others to see.
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One of many Google properties, it earns its revenue the same as many other websites; via advertising. The difference is that by using Youtube Red and Adwords, YouTube can implant its ads into the uploaded videos. The ads are usually relevant to the content of the video.
6 Robin Li, Eric Xu - Baidu.com (Annual Rev: $2.36B)
Baidu shows off the most expressive creations of all the most lucrative websites. The moniker was taken from a traditional Chinese verse called Green Jade Table in the Lantern Festival. The poem is about locating a person in a crown, after looking so many times and for so long. For Robin Li, this determined hunt for perfection should be the thought of a search engine. This may explain why search engines in the Chinese language are so successful. Baidu makes most of its money through online marketing services. Known as the “Google of China,” it modeled itself after the Internet honcho’s blueprint.
5 Ma Huateng, Zhang Zhidong - QQ.com (Annual Revenue: $4.6B)
Launched in 1999, another China-based website, QQ isn’t popular in the United States. Owned by Chinese tech wiz, Tencent, QQ is an IM software service and web portal. It makes shopping, microblogging and online gaming available to its users. It profits come from various aspects; selling advertising space, online gaming, and mobile payment. Billions flock to QQ because the company made a smart move by appealing to the habits of younger users. That traffic, along with the traffic brought in by Tencent’s two other popular apps, makes QQ prime real estate for advertisers seeking to reach a broader range of clientele.
4 Jerry Yang And David Filo - Yahoo.com (Annual Rev: $4.98B)
Yahoo was among the initial online “portals.” The term “portal” refers to a site a name for websites that gathers data from a variety of sources. The goal of the portal, maybe, was to build a smaller version of the Internet, so that you could locate all of the information you were looking for in one place. This may have been too enthusiastic and may have resulted in Yahoo.com being surpassed by Google’s simplicity. Again, advertising is the means of bulk revenue, with advertisers paying for either a cost-per-click or cost-per-mile campaign. Unfortunately, the revenue of the website has been on the decline for some years.
3 Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes - Facebook.com (Annual Rev: $5.1B)
Facebook’s story is a different one. It also has had an obvious, yet the bizarre peculiar impact on how we speak. All of the things that we do on the website have found a place in our everyday talk. We “friend” people and “like” posts and pictures on peoples’ “wall. To say this some years ago would have had people looking at you a bit strangely.
Proof that advertising is where the money is, standing in the fact that with billions of users, advertising still makes up for more than 85 percent of the website revenue. This includes self-serve ads, targeted ads, and ads that run its messenger service.
2 Larry Page, Sergey Brin - Google.com (Annual Rev. $50.2 billion)
The greatest instance of a website becoming “omnipresent” maybe the weird case of Google. The name alone, makes it stand out. We use Google to look for things, which happens to be the definition assigned to the word in the dictionary. It has been a leader in search engines for more than a decade. The use of another engine was a clear sign that you were behind in the times. Google’s revenue comes from its Adwords. It is a CPC (cost-per-click) service. If the link isn’t clicked, Google doesn’t get paid. This accounts for close to 70 percent of the earnings of the website.
1 Jeff Bezos - (Annual Rev. $61B)
It comes as no surprise that this would be number one on the list. With Amazon.com around, there’s no need to leave the comfort of your home to buy anything that you need. It is the largest online retailer in existence. The website earns its revenue through its retail endeavors, cloud service, and digital ad services. In 2018, Amazon had a domestic gross of more than $7B. Its e-commerce business makes up close to half of online sales in the United States. Amazon has purchased more than 125 companies. Of course, it's safe to assume that many of those companies will soon be making their contributions to the website’s revenue stream.