5 hilariously bad startup ideas

- August 16, 2013 3 MIN READ

It’s Feel Good Friday and time to chuckle at some crazy startup ideas!

Browsing through the glorious mess we call the internet, I stumble upon startup ideas that are so bad, that they’re…no, they’re actually just bad. But I love it!

Here’s the thing: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, iOS and PayPal were all terrible ideas at the time of their conception. And where are they now? Drowning in a sea of moolah, that’s where – while the rest of the world struggle to conceive of a time when these brands didn’t exist.

Have a read of how Michael Wolfe puts it (via Quora):

  • Google – we are building the world’s 20th search engine at a time when most of the others have been abandoned as being commoditised money losers. We’ll strip out all of the ad-supported news and portal features so you won’t be distracted from using the free search stuff.
  • Facebook – the world needs yet another Myspace or Friendster except several years late. We’ll only open it up to a few thousand overworked, anti-social, Ivy Leaguers. Everyone else will then join since Harvard students are so cool.
  • Twitter – it is like email, SMS, or RSS. Except it does a lot less. It will be used mostly by geeks at first, followed by Britney Spears and Charlie Sheen.
  • Craigslist – it will be ugly. It will be free. Except for the hookers.
  • iOS – a brand new operating system that doesn’t run a single one of the millions of applications that have been developed for Mac OS, Windows, or Linux. Only Apple can build apps for it. It won’t have cut and paste.
  • PayPal – people will use their insecure AOL and Yahoo email addresses to pay each other real money, backed by a non-bank with a cute name run by 20-somethings.

So the following ideas may actually have potential, if you think really really hard about it.

1. Blackmail: “The social threat network where you can share your friends’ secrets, revealing it little by little until they pay you to stop.”

While this is obviously a parody, it could be a great motivation for people to not cheat on their spouses. Just looking on the bright side!

2. Looney: “A social network for your imaginary friends so you never lose touch with the voices in your head.”

I have imaginary friends. In fact, my two BFFs are Garfield and the Cookie Monster. What of it?

This one is also a parody, but it could work.

3. Layoffspace: While it was meant to be a job site (launched in 2007) it ended up as a social network for the unemployed. The site is currently static. I guess people weren’t comfortable with being openly unemployed? Besides, who needs Layoffspace when you have the never-ending Centrelink queue? Duh!

4. Blippy: Remember this multimillion-dollar trainwreck? Blippy was all about linking your credit to your social media accounts, so that every purchase you make is broadcast to the world.

While it received $13 million in funding, people realised how narcissistic it was. For the filthy rich, it was a bragging tool. For those of us who shop at dollar stores for cheap garden pots and still require a bargain, it could be a little embarrassing.

Blippy while it lasted

Blippy while it lasted


5. Sickr: The social networking tool (that plugs into Facebook) telling you who the ‘most-infected’ individuals in your network of friends are. The app helps you avoid pesky colds and flus by tracking which of your friends are sick.

This is actually a fake idea that was presented at the Texas SXSW competition for “worst business ideas”. But if you think about it, it actually has potential. For someone with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), this would be a dream come true.