June 5th, 2009

Huzzah and much cheer. My feature on profitable web phenomena, “Cash In on Internet Memes,” is finally up over at PCWorld.com. Go read!

“Gone are the days of hamster dance and Star Wars kid, of Leeroy Jenkins and Peanut Butter Jelly Time. In their place a new generation of Internet memes is emerging. They’re just as much fun as ever, but they’re also smarter, more respected, and positioned to make a heck of a lot more money than their predecessors.

That’s right: From its murky origins in anonymously authored minor distractions, the Internet phenomenon we know as the meme has become a mighty engine of commerce. LOLcats have invaded bookstores. Cute Overload bunnies adorn day-by-day calendars that sell for $13 a pop. Remember the blogger who mocked us at StuffWhitePeopleLike.com? He reportedly was offered not only a book deal, but also a $350,000 advance.

Is it too late for you to strike gold with a money-making meme? Not at all. But you’ll find your way to affluence more quickly with the aid of some practical tips. Here is your guide to cashing in on Web fads…”

Ah, self-quoting. Interviewed in the article are such kings of meme-land as Mat Honan from Barach Obama Is Your New Bicycle, Tim Hwang of ROFLcon, and Ben Huh of I Can Haz Cheezburger, who talks about the secrets and longevity of LOLcat success. I also chatted with fellow Wired reporter Brian Raftery, and internet culture expert Alex Halavais, who has been making me swoon with comparisons between the spread of memes and plague. Of course, the question of whether the meme gold rush will continue is actually quite up in the air — but before you decide call it a fad or for keeps you should read for yourself!

Tags: business, LOL cats, memes, my articles

One Response to “‘Cash In on Internet Memes’”

  1. halfassured Says:

    What’s interesting is that, for a few years now, you’ve had companies deliberately trying to trigger viral fads to exploit the free PR. A lot of people have natural resistance to that (I’m reminded of when a company did a pre-vandalized billboard), so memes are becoming a cultural battlefield with a lot of money at stake.

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