20 Websites Making The Most MoneyBy: Josh DunlopTopics: Get Inspired More posts about: Business Inspiration, Fortune 500
Three years in a row, we have looked at how much each of the top websites in the world earns on an annual basis.
This year, we put a lot more time and effort into it, to find the most up-to-date information, most people wouldn’t even know!
Find out how many employees Amazon has, which sites Google has bought, who’s the most profitable, and much more!
We hope you enjoy the list and please let us know what you think in the comments.
How Much Money Does Amazon, Google, and Facebook Make?
Founded in 1994 and currently employing 33,700 people, Amazon.com remains the world’s largest online retailer, with the highest revenue of any company on this list. Selling an assortment of products across the world in countries as far as the UK, Austria, Japan, and China, Amazon is no longer just an online retailer, they’re the head of a very large family of companies such as IMDb, Lovefilm, Zappos, and Alexa. There’s no doubt that Amazon has made a huge difference with where we shop in the last 15 years, with the closest website runner-up in sales being Staples with less than a third of the sales of Amazon.
Google’s ability to come in and create instantly popular features such as Google+, makes it a force to be reckoned with for any website. The current leader in internet traffic is Facebook, so Google recently came out with their answer to that; ‘Google+’. Starting out in 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google grew into most users ‘go-to’ site for searching the internet, and their user-friendly mottos of ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ and perhaps more importantly ‘Don’t be evil’, has helped them to become the globally recognized brand that they are today.
Founded back in 1995 (beginning to see a pattern emerging here) by Pierre Omidyar, this is without a doubt the best and most successful alternative to traditional online shopping, where you can effectively cut out the retailer to buy and sell between user and user, cutting costs and raising money for unwanted goods. Founded in 1995, eBay has acquired 35 companies in the past 13 years including 6 online auction sites in the US, South Korea, India, France, and Sweden, ensuring that they’re the No.1 name in online auctions. They’ve even used some of the money that they’ve raised in the past to buy companies like Skype, before selling them for profit.
We often think of Yahoo! as the company that could never quite keep up with Google, even though it’s 2 years older, yet Yahoo! is so much more. At no.4 on this list, it has a mammoth revenue, and the site covers many similar areas to Google, only just not as well. Yahoo! was founded back in March of 1995 and they certainly have their fingers in a lot of pies, acquiring over 60 different companies in the last 16 years. As far as search engine traffic goes, I get 64 times the amount of traffic from Google, so it is in fact these acquisitions and ventures that make them a hell of a lot of money, not their search engine.
Alibaba is the ultimate business-to-business tool and brings together importers and exporters from more than 240 countries and regions, all in one place. Alibaba focuses on facilitating trade between users across the world, and AliExpress focuses on smaller transactions between buyers and sellers worldwide. With 65 million registered users in more than 240 countries and offices in more than 70 locations worldwide, they’re the market leader in the online world goods trade.
Founded in 1996 as a division of Microsoft, Expedia, Inc. owns a range of travel brands from Hotels.com to Tripadvisor, and their massive affiliate network has boosted their revenue to an all-time high in recent years. Back in 2008, Fortune labeled Expedia one of the top 3 most admired internet companies and one of the best-managed companies in the same year. In the 15 years that they’ve been around, they’ve become the 1-stop shop for booking a holiday, covering every aspect of travel, and making them no.1 in the online travel industry.
Priceline specializes in facilitating the sale of flights, hotels, cars, vacation, and cruises and are famous for their ‘name your own price’ system. In this system, travelers would name the price they wanted to pay, the service level they wanted, and the general location, but, the companies used, the exact location of hotels and flight itineraries were only revealed once the purchase had gone through and the customer had no right to cancel. It’s an unusual idea, but it seems to have done very well for them and their celebrity endorsers. William Shatner, who was hired as a spokesperson for the company, chose stock overpay and is rumored to have sold a large majority of it right before the dot-com bubble burst and has made approximately $600 million from it.
Founded all the way back in 1991 as America Online, and rebranded as AOL in 2006, AOL is best known for it’s online software suite, where, at its prime, 30 million members worldwide would access the internet through this community. Business may be good compared to some of the other companies on the list, but when you compare what they made in 2010, to what they made in 2006 (when the company went through its rebranding), they now make less than a third of what they did. The trouble was bloated and outdated software, overpriced services, and the fact that they were no longer keeping up with the pace of the fast-moving online world, or providing high-demand services anymore. Sure it’s making a lot of money, but we expect to see it lower on this list next year.
This is a relatively young company compared to some of the others on this list, founded back in 1997, NetFlix is a subscription-based, online streaming and postal DVD rental company that is expanding across the world. They’ve built their reputation on their business model on a flat fee subscription, without late fees or due dates, and the ability to rent more than one film at a time. They’ve excelled where Blockbuster has failed and that’s evident in their respective companies’ revenues over the last 5 years. NetFlix recognized what was wrong with the movie rental industry, and saw where the future was going, and then went there with it. They’re coming to the UK very soon…
So popular, they even made a movie about it. As the youngest company on this list so far, founded in only 2004, Facebook currently has more than 750 million active users on it and has blown other social networks such as Myspace and Bebo out of the water when it comes to popularity. Started by the world’s youngest billionaire – Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook is not without its problems, including considerable legal battles and rival companies. With a pattern of social networks losing their overinflated worth and a huge following, and the recent launch of Google+, who knows what’s in store for Facebook in the coming months.
As the largest and most popular search engine in China, Baidu is responsible for 56.6% of all searches. Think of them like a Chinese Google, they index over 740 million web pages, 80 million images, and 10 million multimedia files, and their services range from your standard search, maps, images, and videos, to their own version of Wikipedia, games, and internet TV streaming. And they’re still growing, business in 2010 was almost double what it was in 2009, making them a very safe bet when it comes to investment.
2010 was a good year for Overstock, it was their first billion-dollar one and their most successful year yet. Their business model, as their name would suggest, is to sell overstocked surplus goods, as well liquidating the inventories of failed companies and selling their goods at below wholesale prices. Overstock has branched out though, they also offer a small online auction site to the website and sell handmade products from workers in developing nations. Their accolades include being voted no.2 in the U.S. for best customer service and a Forbes study found them to be one of the top 10 best places to work in America. Overstock.com (or O.co for short) had their first annual profit in April of 2010 and things are looking up from there.
With a total of 663 million registered users in 2010, Skype is the largest voice and video service on the internet and has recently been bought by Microsoft for US$8.5 billion. Skype was founded back in 2003 as a peer-to-peer network, where users can call each other for free over the internet and make discount calls to local numbers all over the world. Originally developed by the same guys who created Kazaa, the massive ‘Napster-like’ peer-to-peer program, Skype has consistently added new features and changed hands twice in the last 6 years. Originally bought by eBay for $2.6 billion in 2005, there weren’t even a 100million users onboard, but they soon started picking up when broadband speeds increased and they started rolling out features like video calling. A couple of months ago in May, Microsoft made their deal to buy Skype, so it’s anyone’s guess what exciting new features we have ahead of us.
Founded just 4 years ago in 2007, this website has become shockingly successful from its social networking games such as FarmVille and Zynga Poker with over 270 million monthly users. These browser-based games are primarily played through social networks such as Myspace and Facebook where users can interact with their friends and see how each other are doing. They make their money in an unusual way of limiting certain parts of the game to users who will buy credits to do certain activities, with payments amounts even exceeding $500. They’ve recently signed an agreement with Facebook for users to only use Facebook credits for these purchases, and in turn, Facebook will help them to reach targets that they set. For people who don’t wish to pay for credits, there are options of taking out offers and surveys from Zynga’s numerous partners, which is helping them to make more money and drive more traffic. An unusual, but wildly successful business model, that seems to have grown very rapidly over the past 4 years.
Taobao is a Chinese language online retailer similar, to Amazon or eBay, where retailers and users can sell directly to other users, with a large majority of products sold being new. Founded 8 years ago, they had more than 370 million registered users by the end of 2010, currently host more than 800 million product listings and are raked at number 15 overall in the Alexa rank. Due to the different nature in the ways shopping is done in China, Taobao has integrated an instant chat feature where buyers and sellers can talk directly to each other to find out more information on a product, but more importantly, barter on price. The majority of their income comes not from commission, like Amazon and eBay, but from advertising revenue produced by sellers trying to market a product to sell on their site.
Groupon, a deal-of-the-day website, launched just 3 years ago in 2008 in just one city, is now in 150 markets in North America and 100 markets in Europe, Asia, and South America with a following of more than 35 million registered users. The hugely rapid growth has had the Wall Street Journal report that the company is on pace to make $1 billion in sales faster than any other business, ever. The idea is simple, you sign up for a daily newsletter for the city that you live in and you’ll receive daily deals for stuff that you may be interested in. You find stuff for cheap, the seller makes loads of money, and Groupon makes a fat commission. They’ve come a long way in a sea of over 500 tough competitors, but only 1 has really come close, and that’s LivingSocial, but even that hasn’t made much of a dent. There is 1 reason to be worried though, and that’s Google, which, having failed to buy Groupon for US$6billion, are planning to launch their own competing product called Google Offers, and we all know what a force Google can be…
Orbitz revenue is actually a little bit down in the past couple of years, but they’re still one of the most popular places to look for travel information with 1.5 million flight searches and 1 million hotel searches made through their website every day. Founded in 2001, Orbitz was established through a partnership of major airlines as a way to get in on the action that sites like Expedia and Travelocity were having, and it’s done so very successfully with 5 of the 6 major airlines combining to make this happen.
Yet another search engine has made it onto the list, this time from the largest country in the world – Russia, where it’s the largest search engine in the country. The majority of Yandex’s income comes from advertising, but like all good search engines, they don’t just do your bog-standard searches. Yandex index over 10 billion pages, owns a road traffic monitoring agency which they use for their maps, offers photo sharing service similar to Flickr, and runs an e-commerce payment system which is the second most popular in Russia. When you consider that Russia has declining a population of less than 142 million, and China has a population of over 1.3 billion, Yandex has done very well for itself compared to Baidu.
If you’ve been blogging for much time at all, you’ll be familiar with ClickBank; it’s an online marketplace for digital information products. If you were to create a digital product such as an ebook for sale, this is where you’d come to find affiliate markets in your niche that would sell it for you. You have to give away a large commission, but the beauty of a digital product means that once it’s been made, it doesn’t cost you any money to reproduce so you can continue to sell it at whatever price you’d like. Voted the no.1 affiliate network in America, the website has attracted over 1 million affiliate marketers, with around 10% of them being active at any one time.
Launched back in May 2003, LinkedIn is like a business version of Facebook with more than 100 million users in over 200 countries across the world. With the slogan ‘Relationships Matter’, LinkedIn realizes the importance of business networking in helping to build a company and so do their users, which is why they currently get 33.9 million unique visitors a month, surpassing Myspace in traffic. By the end of 2010, LinkedIn was valued at $1.575 billion and has earned a lot of respect from critics, with Silicon Valley Insider ranking the company No.10 on its Top 100 List of most valuable start-ups at the end of 2010.
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