The Internet has changed the lives of countless people. Every day, we see at least a few memes on social media, and they became part of the way we communicate online. However, people hardly think that memes can also create internet celebrities and become a source of income.
Although becoming a meme might hurt some people, others know how to capitalize the moment and make thousands of dollars. Some classic memes became companies, and the owner of the image became millionaires. Others left their regular jobs to dedicate to the Internet and manage their social media account.
10 Grumpy Cat
We have all seen at least a few memes with the Grumpy Cat. He was one of the first famous pets on the Internet and has over 3 million followers on his social media. He also made his owner, the former waitress Thabata Bundsen, a millionaire. She created the company Grumpy Cat Limited which made a total of $100.000.000, according to Business Insider.
"I was able to quit my job as a waitress within days of her first appearance on social media, and the phone simply hasn't stopped ringing since," Thabata Bundsen told The Telegraph in 2014. Sadly, the Grumpy cat died this year, but the meme is still alive.
9 Charlie Bit My Finger
Charlie bit my finger was one of the first viral videos on the Internet. In case you don't remember, the home video shows a baby biting the finger of his older brother. The video made over $1.3000.000 in royalties and made the family members millionaires. It is impressive if you think the family posted it without the intention of profits. The video has over 850 million views on YouTube.
"It was only meant for family members", the father told Mirror. "In 2007, sharing video files—about 50 megabytes —was hard. It was too big for email, so YouTube stood out as a great vehicle to share videos."
8 David After Dentist
In 2009, David DeVore posted a video of his son after the dentist. The boy was under medication effects, and it went viral. According to the father, they made $150.000 in one year. Celebrity net worth estimates that the video made up to $500.000 in the last decade. It sounds like an incredible amount, but the father already said that he is unsure if he gets as much money as the video deserves.
Social media became the primary income of the family. David left his previous job as a realtor and started to work with the Internet. The video appeared on several commercials, including during the Super Bowl with Beyonce.
Gretchen was a famous singer and dancer in Brazil during the 80s. She made a reputation as the " Brazilian Butt Queen," and her fame would come back years later thanks to the internet.
Many pictures of her became a meme with funny reactions. She didn't like it at first, but, after a while, she realized it could bring her an extra income.
The memes went overseas, and she gained some celebrity fans. In 2017, Kate Perry invited Gretchen to be part of her music video for Swish Swish.
6 Chloe and Lily Go To Disney
In 2013, the video of an emotion Lily going to Disney went viral. However, she was not the only star on the video. The expression of her little sister Chloe was crowned as one of the most lasting memes on the Internet. The sisters became a sensation in other countries, and Chloe has a faithful fan base in Brazil.
In 2017, the sisters went to visit the South American country. They attended several TV shows, met other internet celebrities, and also made some commercials. The net worth of the family is unclear, but they seem to be making a living of it.
5 Keyboard Cat
His name is Bento, but you might know him as the keyboard cat, one of the classic memes on the Internet. He became famous in 2009 after Ashton Kutcher posted the meme on Twitter, and the image is still popular.
Sadly, he died in 2018, but he made a fortune during his lifetime. And, since the memes are still around, he might be still an income source for his family. According to The Sun, he makes approximately $90.000 per year. That means he's garnered somewhere around a million dollars so far!
4 Numa Numa
Gary Brolsma had just graduated from High School when the Numa Numa dancing video went viral. "Someone once described it to me that it's kind of like one of those moments when you're singing in the shower," he told Business Insider.
He made $50.000 with the video, and he also appeared on some events and TV shows in the following months. Brolsma tried to create a company based on his internet sensation, but it did not become as successful as the other internet celebrities on this list.
3 Success Kid
We have all seen the picture of this ten months baby clenching his first and pressing his lips together. Sammy Griner, who is now a 13 years old teenager, became famous as the Success Kid. The meme is still around.
The family did not make much money on the meme at first. However, in 2016, they used it for a noble cause. Justin Griner, Sam's father, needed a kidney transplant, and the family had to find a way to raise money. They created a page on GoFundMe, and, when people realized it was the father of the successful baby, he made $100.000 in just a few days.
2 Salt Bae
Another person who got under the spotlight thanks to memes was Nusret Gökçe, a Turkish chef who has a unique way to throw salt on the meat. He was copied by several people around the world, including some celebrities.
It helped him to bring it more visibility to his restaurant chain, which is now estimated to be worth $1.5 billion. After that, he expanded his business to the United States. However, according to Business Insider, he is starting to have financial problems due to the Turkish economy.
1 Bad Luck Brian
Like most names on this list, Kyle Craven did not intend to become a phenomenon on the Internet. However, the image from his yearbook went viral after a friend posted it on Reddit.
Craven used the joke on his favor, and he made $20.000 in royalties, according to the Daily Mail. Although it is the humblest amount on this list, it is incredible money for a random yearbook photo. Craven doesn't make a living from his meme, and he currently works in construction. However, he could undoubtedly have made some millions of it.