Karyn Bosnak was originally a television producer and lived a life of luxury until she lost her high-paying job in New York. Her designer-loving lifestyle soon caught up with her, and she found herself wallowing in $20,000 worth of credit card debt. She started SaveKaryn.com in 2002, and requested donations from the public.
The result: The site was mentioned on CNN, The Today Show, and other prominent media outlets. She managed to meet her $20,000 goal and was then contracted to write a book called Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back. The book has been translated into over seven languages.
Kelli Space was drowning from her $200,000 student debt and was forced to live with her parents because of the excessive loan payments she had to make. Not before long, TwoHundredThou.com was born in 2010.
The site doesn't have any fancy gimmicky pixel space, it's just a blog about job search and money with a plain explanation of her predicament. Of course, there is also a button that'll take you to a page where you can donate.
The result: She's been interviewed by Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News, and featured in an MSN article. To date, she has raised $12,589. It's not $200,000 but the donations will definitely make a sizable dent!
Wiltshire, England-based Alex Tew wanted to graduate without debt and decided to take matters into his own hands. No, he didn't slave away at two jobs while juggling a full school load of classes. Instead, he launched the milliondollarhomepage.com in 2005.
His plan was to sell each one of the million pixels on his website for $1. The pixels were only available in 100 pixel blocks that consisted of 10 by 10 pixels. A URL was linked to the pixels, and if you hovered over one, a slogan from the buyer popped up. He promised to keep the website up for five years.
The result: He was receiving over 200,000 visits per week at one point and the final tally was $1,037,100.
The one red paperclip campaign is a unique twist on the traditional "give me money" sites. Basically, Kyle McDonald created the one red paperclip website in 2006 in hopes of being able to trade his way up to a house, starting from a red paperclip.
The result: He made 14 Internet trades starting with exchanging his paperclip for a fish pen to a house in Kipling in Saskatchewan province. Some of the more interesting trades include a recording contract, an afternoon with rock star Alice Cooper, and a snowmobile.
Perhaps one of the more infamous campaigns is the one held by Dustin Diamond, best known as Screech from Saved by the Bell, in 2006. Dustin set up a now-defunct website to raise $250,000 so he won't lose his house in Wisconsin to a foreclosure. He sold t-shirts that had pictures of him holding up a sign that said "Save My House" in front of his home. The back of the shirt had the words "I paid $15.00 to save Screech's house." The shirts sold for $15 and $20 for the autographed copies.
The result: There was a lot of media buzz and Dustin appeared on the Howard Stern radio show to promote his site. He managed to retain his house.