Not every idea is a good idea, but crowdfunding campaigns like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe allow anybody with an idea to make it happen—if the Internet thinks it's cool, that is. Many campaigns don't reach their goals, but some are just weird, funny, or relatable enough to be successful, sometimes wildly so. Check out these eight crazy crowdfunding campaigns that actually worked.
1. $65,000 to make a giant, rideable, six-legged spider robot named Stompy
When a bunch of robotics nerds get together, cool things happen. In this particular case, a team of instructors and students united on Project Hexapod to build an 18-foot-wide, 4,000-pound, 6-legged hydraulic robot that you can ride. Yeah. Of course, building a giant, steel robot can be costly, so they created a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project—and succeeded in raising $97,817. Stompy isn't up and running yet, but you can bet we'll be keeping up with its creators on their Facebook page.
2. $4,000 to write "How Do I Land?" in the sky
Comedian and actor Kurt Braunohler created a Kickstarter campaign in 2013 to "hire a man in a plane to write stupid things with clouds in the sky." It seems silly, but it actually worked! Braunohler raised $6,820 to write "How do I land?" over Los Angeles. He talks all about it in his comedy album perfectly titled "How Do I Land?"
3. $200,000 to release a video of Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack
In 2013, it came to light that mayor Rob Ford of Toronto smoked crack cocaine. This fact was confirmed to Gawker editor John Cook, who was sent a video of Ford seated with a pipe in one hand and a lighter in the other. The mayor struggles to light the pipe—he was overcome with laughter—but eventually succeeds. Unfortunately, the people who had custody of the video wanted $200,000 to release it to the press. Not deterred by their demands, Gawker created an Indiegogo or Crackstarter, as Gawker called it. They succeeded in raising the funds, but the video owners did not hold up their end of the bargain and the video remains unreleased.
4. $3,400 to fix a broken, infected tooth
When YouTube personality Jeffery Self broke off half of his front tooth, he was worried. He was worried that, without dental insurance and with a very broken tooth, he'd be forced to guest-star on The Beverly Hillbillies. Luckily, his YouTube and Twitter followers, friends, and family came to his rescue, helping him raise $3,650 on Indiegogo for a root canal and a new tooth.
5. $15,000 to produce a mini shotgun for killing flies
Bothered by the incessant buzzing of the common housefly, Santa Monica artist Lorenzo Maggiore got an idea and brought it to life: the Bug-a-Salt. It's essentially a mini plastic shotgun that kills flies with table salt. That may seem like a crazy idea to you, but more than 10,500 people got on board. Maggiore raised over half a million dollars with his Indiegogo campaign in 2012.
6. $10 to make potato salad
You may have heard about it; you might not believe it, but it's all true. Zack "Danger" Brown created a Kickstarter campaign to make potato salad. "Basically I'm just making potato salad. I haven't decided what kind yet," he posted. Then the world gave him $55,492. With the extra money, Brown threw a pizza party and invited the whole Internet, but we're willing to bet he had some money left over.
7. $25,000 to make a turkey menorah
In 2013, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlapped for the first time and 9-year-old Asher Weintraub had an idea. One Kickstarter campaign and $48,345 later, the Menurkey was born. Needless to say, the world went crazy for the nine-feathered turkey-shaped menorah, featuring it in countless media outlets.
8. $7,500 to take a squirrel census
Why one would need or want a squirrel census is beyond us, but Jamie Allen of Atlanta, Georgia, thought differently. In 2012, Allen started a Kickstarter campaign that asked for $7,500—hoping to gather data on and stories about the eastern gray squirrels in Inman Park—and the world obliged. Allen raised $8,982 and completed his "part science project, part storytelling experiment" in September of 2012. He posted all his squirrelly findings here.