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Look back in time. Read up on other things that had a massive userbase, but were unsustainable.

Checkup alladvantage - they paid people to surf. Had millions of users, but ultimately failed because their "business model" was idiotic.

Getting millions of users is pretty easy if you pay them to be a user. Someday though, it's only worthwhile if you can build a sustainable business which at least doesn't lose money hand over fist.

If Reddit hadn't got bought and supported by other profitable businesses, I doubt it would have survived.

AllAdvantage was great for free money as a teenager. It only took a few minutes to slap together a VB application to move the mouse a few pixels every minute. I made a few hundred dollars from them while I slept.

I guess I didn't have my act together enough as a teenager to commit fraud over the Internet while I slept.

It wasn't really fraud. The terms of use etc weren't really clear enough or lets face it enforceable.

Was it fraud if you got a dog to play with the mouse, and never looked at the screen? The dog might have still been looking at the adverts!

That was more of a general statement than a comment specifically on reddit's position.

I can make millions of dollars selling condom wrappers, but just because I have made millions of dollars does not mean that I have done something important. I may catch quite a bit of hate for this, but a large portion of HN's content is on things that make money, but are not truly important.

I think the mantra from the startup community is often:

1. Make money doing whatever it takes. eg come up with some crappy website, sell it to google, then shut it down. 2. The money problem is solved! 3. Spend money solving world hunger, diseases, philanthropy.

Which IMHO is pretentious BS.

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