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How about Drudge Report? Gamespot?
For example, a friend of mine recently started a WarGaming site for a very popular computer game released last Christmas and he just sold the site for about 200K.
When Hotmail co-founders Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith approached the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson with their idea for a free email service in 1995, the firm praised the idea but wondered how they would attract members and build a company around it...
History of hotmail here:-
What about Google?
To be honest, there's thousands of them. That's the beauty of the web - for every succesful website that's been created by an enterprise with a mega-budget, you'll find a succesful website that was created by Joe Average in his living room.
[edited by: trillianjedi at 11:25 am (utc) on Dec. 15, 2004]
I guess there are heaps of others, but those which started of as hobbies, didn't do billions (like Yahoo! or Google; might in the future), but are now a full-time job/project may include Gigablast and FyberSearch?
Ran their site with gossamer links software, the free version, bought by QXL for $60 million a few years back.
QXL then went on to have a valuation of over £2 billion in 2000.
Sold last month to its own management for £12 million.
His main possession was a bunch of floppies.
Built a program to "vulnerability test" servers, got caught, busted, and as a result sold the software to a major tech security company (that will remain nameless) for 12 million.
He literaly went from homeless street punk to millionaire overnight.
Then went on to found a computer security news/website.
Sold it five years later for 30 million.
Bright kid. Social graces of a fetid slug, but bright kid.