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8 Crazy Internet Schemers Chasing Fame and Fortune

On July 12 2005, Kyle MacDonald had the seemingly insane idea to trade a single red paperclip for a house. He documented the entire endeavor on his blog, OneRedPaperClip, and one year to the day, 14 trades, and a ton of media attention later, Kyle was handed the keys to a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan. He also got a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records for Most Successful Internet Trade. And a book deal from Random House. With Dreamworks optioning the movie rights. (Who's insane now?)

MacDonald's success has spawned a legion of other 'net-leveraging hopefuls, dreaming up their own schemes, and documenting their exploits on blogs and websites in an attempt to secure their 15 minutes of fame. And possibly fortune.

Here are eight other dreamers attempting to harness the power of the 'net to give them a shot at immortality. Some have already made an impact. Some are still pushing. Some might never make it.

Scheme: Sean Aiken couldn't decide what he wanted to do with his life, so he decided to try 52 different jobs in one year. So far he has been working a new job every week for 43 weeks. While documenting his experiences on video. And donating all of his wages to charity. Sean's resume now includes stints as a Fashion Buyer, Realtor, Vitner, Movie Producer, Martial Arts Instructor, Tattoo Parlor Assistant and Exterminator.
Result: $15, 881.60 to charity. Working with an agent on book/movie/tv deals.

Scheme: Guy has a Great Idea. Guy decides the most powerful company on the planet, Google, must hear his Great Idea. Guy (Aaron Stanton), sets out to make them listen. Produces a video presentation, sends it, posts it online, makes some noise.
Result: Google gives him a meeting. They listen. Like what they hear. Send him back to do more work. Others join to help. Time for another meeting. And a financial planner.


: 22 handicap golfer quits his day job to try to become a professional golfer. Golfs everyday, writing his experiences/stats/and everything else on his blog. Currently trying to get selected for a chance to play Torrey Pines the week before the US Open.
Result: 20 weeks. 33,375 balls hit. Handicap down to 8. Several sponsors. Still working on the PGA card.

Scheme: J.R. is an overweight guy from the midwest who wants to lose some of the extra pounds. After experiencing muscle soreness from playing with his new Wii for a few hours, he felt there could be some health benefits to spending hours in front of his TV, controller in hand. His goal? Lose 80 pounds off his 270 pound frame, document the entire process and become the Jarred of the Wii.
Result: 37 pounds gone. Three TV interviews. Two newspaper articles. No commercials. Working on a possible weightloss/self-help book.

Scheme: Justin wanted to travel, but didn't want to pay for hotels. So he started a blog and asked (very trusting) people to let him, and his (plastic) pet squirrel, Rice, stay in their homes. Over 2,300 photos document their experience.
Result: From Sep 8, 2006 to Sep 17, 2007 he and Rice traveled 29,403 miles, hit all 50 states, and crashed in over 100 homes. Rice now holds the distinction of being the first squirrel to travel to all 50 states. Justin is currently working on a children's book about the adventures of a small squirrel who travels to all 50 states.

Scheme: Two guys, Scotty and Fiddy, and their mustaches, hitchhiked to all 50 US states in 50 consecutive days. Never paying for transportation the entire time. Starting in Times Square and ending in Honolulu, they took some 200 free car rides and multiple free airline flights. And of course, captured the whole journey on video. A GPS unit let those following online see where they were in real time. (Advantageous, in case one of their rides turned out to be an escaped serial killer.)
Result: Free trip to all 50 states. Working on a book.

Scheme: Pete and Josh apparently like to take their time. Their first online "show" called "The Walk Stars" documented their 130 mile walk from Los Angeles to San Diego. Now reborn as "The Scoot Stars" they are riding their red, 49cc, 29 mph max, scooters across the United States. Slowly.
Result: Seeing lots of cornfields. Received the finger from a wide variety of frustrated motorists. No other deals yet.

Scheme: Produce the "biggest, shortest" film in history, while raising $1,000,000 for charity. Nirvan Mullick started the project while a student at CalArts which has grown into a worldwide collaboration. Hundreds of people will create 24 separate images, each becoming a single frame in the 24-frame-per-second final film. Donating as little $1 earns you Associate Producer credit on the film. $100 gets you Executive Producer credit. (Which makes for a great opening line in a bar.) Currently traveling across the country on a converted school bus to promote the project. Their final destination is Chicago to get Oprah to donate $1. Video and pics are posted on the site.
Result: Keifer Sutherland, Stephan Colbert, Kevin Bacon, Seth Green and 8,914 other celebs and regular people from 56 countries have donated $252,234.71 so far. A documentary on the making of the 1 Second Film is in the works.

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