Top 12 Internet Memes That Made The Most Money

12. Kyle Craven – Bad Luck Brian

That hilarious photo of the awkward looking kid making a weird smile with captions depicting the worst luck in the history of man is number twelve, starting off our list. Kyle Craven originally dressed up and smiled that way as a gag, but years later, his friend posted the picture online and it went viral. At the time of the picture, he was actually forced by his principal to retake the photo.
12. Kyle Craven – Bad Luck Brian

11. Rick Astley – Rick Roll

The song came out back in 1987, and just a few years later, Astley retired from music. After over a decade out of music, his song gained notoriety with a new generation when its video was used by online pranksters. While some have reported that because he was not the writer of the lyrics, nor played the music, and was just the performer, he made less than twenty dollars, Astley himself indicated to metro.co.uk that he had earned “quite a bit of money from it”. As he never discussed details, there is no sure number.
11. Rick Astley – Rick Roll

10. Antoine Dodson – Hide Yo’ Kids, Hide Yo’ Wife!

For one young man and his family, a nice little pile of money results from a near tragedy. An intruder had broken into their home, and attempted to sexually assault his sister but when a news crew arrived on scene, an on-air tirade earned then 24-year old Antoine Dodson national renown. His catch-phrase, “hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife” was auto-tuned by the Gregory Brothers, selling over 200,000 copies on iTunes. A video of his rant was the most watched video of 2010. Through his own fundraising, ad sales and products having to do with his notoriety, Dodson claimed to have been able to move his family out of their former neighborhood. His total earnings from his video and related products is estimated around $50,000.
10. Antoine Dodson – Hide Yo’ Kids, Hide Yo’ Wife!

9. Keyboard Cat/Nyan Cat

Love them or hate them, cats own the internet. Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat are two very different memes, but both have and continue to earn money. For some background, Keyboard Cat is an old video of a feline playing a keyboard, with his arms controlled by his owner; Charles Schmidt. Nyan Cat is an animated cat who floats through space with a pop tart body with a (subjectively) catchy song in the background.
9. Keyboard Cat/Nyan Cat

8. Samwell – What What (In the Butt)

The highly suggestive video from back in 2007, “What What (In the Butt)”, earned singer Samwell some interesting recognition as an internet celebrity. The video (along with a couple more on our list) was referenced in a brilliant South Park Episode, “Canada on Strike”. The notoriety has reportedly earned Samwell a steady stream of money since 2007, with numerous talk show appearances and interviews, a few other songs and videos and a couple of film appearances.
8. Samwell – What What (In the Butt)

7. Paul Vasquez – Double Rainbow

Back in 2010, Paul Vasquez, who also goes by the name “Bear”and “Yosemite Bear” posted a video of his reaction to seeing a double rainbow. He didn’t go completely berserk, but Vasquez was clearly in some higher level of awe. His video results in over forty million views on YouTube and a couple of television appearances. He was also contacted by Microsoft for an ad a couple of years ago. While the amounts he was paid for these deals was not made entirely clear, Vasquez’ video certainly earned him some fairly easy money.
7. Paul Vasquez – Double Rainbow

6. Gary Brolsma – Numa Numa

After uploading a video to YouTube as part of a Justin Bieber related contest, in which she pretended to be a possessive, near-stalker girlfriend, Laina Morris achieved internet stardom in the form of an advice animal type meme on top of her YouTube channel. When she isn’t wide eyed and making jokes about GPS devices, Morris is actually a fairly normal girl, apart from being the face of unhealthy relationships.
6. Gary Brolsma – Numa Numa

5. Laina Morris – Overly Attached Girlfriend

After a trip to the dentist, young David Devore acted a bit (okay, maybe a lot) silly from the drugs, and since early 2009, the video taken by his father has practically been the basis for the Devore family’s second income. While they already made plenty of money through YouTube, there have also been plenty of licensing deals for the family, which have reportedly earned them over $150,000. Not too shabby for just taking their kid to a regular dentist visit.
5. Laina Morris – Overly Attached Girlfriend

4. David After Dentist

A baby bit a toddler’s finger and the internet completely lost it. The video started slow but gradually built up several million views. The family has since earned a ton of money, and not just from the video and ad revenue itself, but also from ad campaigns with companies such as Google and Sprint, not to mention shirt sales, other products, more videos their own YouTube channel and cameos on other channels. Wow. It is estimated that the Davies-Carr family have earned over half a million dollars since the video first hit the web.
4. David After Dentist

3. Charlie Bit Me

Way back in 2007, the Tay Zonday’s video “Chocolate Rain”was extremely popular and went viral, earning him instant recognition, despite a lack of formal singing training and a simple recording system. Zonday’s song dealt with racial issues in the United States, but his celebrity career since has been much more lighthearted. For the last eight years, Zonday has been included in many commercials, on numerous talk shows and is estimated to have earned well over half a million dollars.
3. Charlie Bit Me

2. Tay Zonday – Chocolate Rain

Remember when I said something to the effect that “cats rule the internet”? Well, Tardar Sauce (Grumpy Cat) is their queen. Over the past couple of years, her delightful frowny face has become the go-to meme for anyone trying to express any negative emotion from slight displeasure to absolute rage. Her owner, Tabetha Bundesen, has been able to quit her day job, as ad campaigns for pet foods and a list of other companies have rolled in, along with book and movie deals.
2. Tay Zonday – Chocolate Rain