Whether it’s pawning off invisible friends on eBay or becoming a Chinese gun smuggler, here are some creative avenues students are taking to make a quick buck
The financial fate of youngsters wanting a uni degree looks increasingly bleak, but if there’s one thing that young people can excel at without an academic education, it’s the internet. As the popularity of the sugar daddy website Seeking Arrangement soars, it seems students aren’t too fussed about how they pay off their crippling loans. Ways to milk the virtual cash-cow are as diverse as the internet itself; we uncover some cyberspace solutions for students trying to back-up their dwindling bank balances.
The domain name Porno.com just sold for $8,888,888 million. “Domain King” Rick Schwartz was chuffed when he completed the all-cash transaction, having bought the domain from a college student for just $5,000 the week before. If only the student had Schwartz’s business acumen – Schwartz said he “earned well in excess of over $10million via parking and redirects without ever providing actual adult content”.
It must be hard to let go of the your fantasy friend, but advertising student Georgia Horrocks was determined to come top of her class in an assignment to flog something worth under £10 for as much as possible. She turned to eBay to prove that lonely web-surfers will spend money on any promise of companionship. She’s no corporate sell-out though, saying that although she would like some money for Bernard, “it is more important that he finds a good home”.
Now we’re bored of quinoa, foodies are hunting for the next quirky super-food. Insects could well be our new source of ethical protein, and University of Oregon students are tapping into the growing market. Charles Wilson and Omar Ellis promise some good grub with their online business that sells flour made of ground crickets. They’ve done their homework and they’re convinced they’re onto a winner. “Eighty percent of the world eats bugs,” Ellis said. “It’s just Westerners who don’t”.
TWEET FOR YOUR COUNTRY
Not fussed about being a propaganda vehicle? Consider tweeting for the Israeli government. Cash-strapped students are relieving their financial burden by liking and tweeting pro-Israeli messages online. Authorities even thought of offering scholarships for people using the web to fight anti-Semitism and support the “digital democracy”.
Ok, so you’d probably have to be a genius to pull this off, but Ph.D student Carlos Aguayo Gonzalez is set to win big for helping to develop technology detecting hacks, which normally take over 200 days to detect, in milliseconds. The company, PFP Cybersecurity, has raised $1million in venture funding so far, and is attracting heavyweight clients, including the U.S Army, Air Force and Department of Homeland Security.
If you’re not smart enough to catch criminals, maybe you could become one instead – cyber gun selling can be pretty lucrative. College students in Shenzhen met a shady gun dealer called Li online and agreed to buy some air pistols and pellets for him in Hong Kong. Li planned to trade the weapons on the internet when they returned, but they were arrested, so he’s probably seeking new cash-hungry business partners.
New app “Pocket Points” promises food for students who resist the urge to fiddle with their iPones in the classroom. It knows you’re in a lecture by tracking your location, and then times how long you can keep your phone locked. Participating restaurants then reward students who rack up points by resisting their Snapchat-cravings during class.
Vandals who painted swastikas on a Jewish frat house at the University of California, Davis, became the target of an online petition demanding “immediate condemnation” from the authorities. The Anti-Defamation League is willing to fork out $2,500 for help catching the hate-crime culprits, so if you’re looking for profitable procrastination, this task could pay off.
Teen-genius Ben Pasternak wowed tech giants Facebook and Google when his game Impossible Rush clocked up 500,000 downloads in the first six weeks after its launch. Pasternak sold the game for just $200 to his friend Carlos Fajardo, who marketed it and made it famous, but 15-year-old Pasternak isn’t bothered. “My biggest motivation is knowing that my apps make people’s lives just a little bit easier,” he said. Cute.