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2012 Top 10 Online Business Ideas

2012 online business ideas

Working on online business ventures

As you might have known, I have involved in online business and make money online for 3 years. Still considering myself a newbie, I’ve seen thousands of business opportunities available online, waiting for someone creative and resilient to grab them and profit from them.

If you are passionate about online business and enjoying to work from home or from anywhere you want, anytime like I do, you gotta love these online business ideas that I think have a good chance to be turned into successful online business ventures that don’t require you plenty of startup capital (some of the ideas below can even be started with no money.)

Top 10 online business ideas for 2012

1. Copywriting
2011 is the year of Google Panda updates. As many big sites were hit by the updates, a website’s content quality is now even more important than ever. Freelance writers and copywriting companies are now on demand, despite the competition. In 2012, writers play even bigger roles in providing online businesses with fresh, quality content that actually pleases the search engines.

2. Social media management
Social media marketing is important, but social media management is very important today. Businesses seem to have a difficult time in managing their social media profiles. This is a huge gap in the market – you can start pitching businesses running multiple social media accounts to offer them your service in managing theirs, including updating and engaging friends and followers.

3. Search engine optimization/link building
The old, reliable service: SEO/link building services. As more businesses acknowledge the importance of web presence, there will be near-unlimited supply of websites that need your SEO/link building services to get them ranked well on search engines. You can offer vast array of SEO/link building services, such as social bookmarking, directory submissions, press release submissions, article submissions, link wheel creations, link exchanging, etc. – the list can go on and on; big opportunities.

4. Online/social reputation management
Did you know that businesses are now seeking partners and potential employees via their social media profiles? You need to get your social media profiles in shape – otherwise, you are missing big opportunities. In another case, your business was hit by an unhappy employee or customer who rants online, damaging your brand reputation. Those are the examples of how important managing your online/social reputation is today. Starting an online business offering services to manage clients’ online/social reputation would potentially achieve a big success.

5. Buy and sell websites
Buying old, abandoned sites and then redesign and rework to be sold later; starts a website, grows it and sells it for profits; both are the typical activities of buying and selling websites. It’s a classic, lucrative market, indeed.

6. Mobile apps marketing services
There are more than 500,000 mobile apps in Apple store alone; Android app counts are catching up – competition among apps is inevitable. That being said, there’s a huge opportunity for budding entrepreneurs in mobile apps marketing, offering app marketing and promotion services, such as press release services, blog posting, forum posting, and all other app promotion activities done online.

7. Video marketing services
Did you know that YouTube and other video sites get huge traffic and will be major sources of traffic in the near future? Video marketing is undeniably crucial in business marketing strategy. Video creation and promotion services are well sought after services – grab the opportunity today, not tomorrow!

8. Online talent search
Facebook, YouTube and other social sites is the place to discover new talents – Justin Bieber’s popularity today starts from his YouTube video. There are so many other talented people showcasing their skills on YouTube, DeviantArt, and other general and niche online communities. Filling in the gap by offering online talent search service can only mean profits.

9. Crowdsourcing/crowdfunding
Outsourcing is no longer that effective; enter crowdsourcing (and its powerful sister, crowdfunding.) Need a logo for your startup? You can get design ideas on, a design crowdsourcing site; need capital to launch your product? Try KickStarter, a popular crowdfunding site that can get people fund your project starting from $1; and many more examples. Starting a crowdsourcing site can be very lucrative, making money via membership fees or commissions.

10. Online brokerage
The Internet supposedly eliminates intermediaries/middlemen; but the facts today show the otherwise. With the exponential growth of new products and services online, businesses need someone/a company to recommend them what they need from the seemingly unlimited number of apps and solutions – thus born a new breed of intermediaries or brokerages. If a business need the right cloud services for them, just go to a cloud brokerage company and everything will be taken care of; need the right advertising partner? Just go to an ad brokerage agency to take care of your need. The opportunities are huge.

So, there you go –’s top 10 online business ideas for 2012. Do you have more unique and/or lucrative ideas to share? Please do so by leaving a comment on this post.

Ivan Widjaya
Lucrative online business ideas for 2012
Image: Rob Pearce/Flickr

About author

Ivan Widjaya
Ivan Widjaya 2650 posts

Ivan Widjaya is the Owner/Editor of, as well as several other blogs. He is a business blogger, web publisher and content marketer for SMEs.

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  • Sonia,

    You are correct. Those ideas are not cutting edge. The busineess ideas are there to spark creativity, but those are not ideas with a guarantee of success. Success depends on many factors, and you are correct about VC. I have written about how endorsement can impact your business. is also benefiting from such strategy, getting content and buzz from CEOs and business leaders.

    However, again, success depends on many factors. Getting proper funding is one. Getting endorsed is another one. But there are other things you need to do right, and that’s challenging. That’s why we need the right business mentors – who in my case, is much more crucial than funding, ideas, etc.

    I’ve also failed numerous times. But one or two success is what I need to kickstart everything – just like what Alfred Noble have said.

  • Sonia Klemore

    I have thought of all of the above probably before ivan did. I also have thought of many more that you will not find on the net. I have done all of them! No success! And i am better funded than the average joe :)

    Here is the secret: ni list of ideas regardless of how brilliant will save you unless you have the backing of a renowed VC, period. Thats not money or expertise….thats marketing which only the top names on the net can provide for you..not some seo, banner ad bs.
    Study those who made it big…it wasnt the idea or even the money…its the backing of credible people who can push the oencpt/idea of the business down to the masses….so the masses can blog and discuss that mr so and so leader in xyz has said that your business is the next something and you are the tech startup to watch for the next 5 years or something like that…then you make it…regardless of the idea.

  • That’s good to hear, Lucy :)

  • Lucy

    Will be treating this list as my year’s to-do list. Thanks :)

  • Shweta,

    Let’s discuss it here :) What do you have in mind?

  • Shweta

    Hi Ivan, i am interested in eCommerce business.. It would be great if we could discuss.. Thanks

  • Cheers, Mukesh!

  • Hi, this is an excellent post! I really liked the idea of online talent search…..a new one to me. Thanks for sharing!

  • Pandeg,

    Free consulting – Just contact me and have a chat :)

  • yes sir,has long been true, now I want to focus, please share and guidance

  • Pandeg,

    Apa kabar? Akhirnya nyemplung ke business blogging? Sukses ya!

  • Hi Mr Ivan. Thank you for this post. I like it. I wish to apprentice even as you amend your site

  • Cheers, Jeff!

  • I have tried buying and selling website, it was more of an impulsive decision. But yes, i have trying hard the maximize the use to social medias and learning bits and pieces fo link building.

    Thank you for the list, bookmarking it and definitely will try to cover as much as i can this year! thank you for sharing

  • Hi Ivan,
    Great post! I have seen a recent increase in the demand for copywriters. And as Allena stated, a lot of people in the field are newbies and working for cheap. I do not mind much with some of the cheaper articles when I get them as they are usually quite simple and quick to write up so it evens out really.
    You have some great ideas for online business start-ups and I like the fact that you are offering real ideas not “sign up under me” ideas. I never would have thought of social media reputation management! Thank you for the list.
    I hope you have a wonderful week :)

  • Allena,

    I understand what you are saying – I have acquaintances who are also copywriters like you, and they stories are pretty similar.

    The issue you mentioned is actually an opportunity in itself. I know someone who is establishing an online business offering copywriting services employing freelancers. What her online company does is screening freelancers and group them by their work quality, and articles can be ordered based on the level of quality demanded by clients (of course, high quality articles will cost more – can be $30-60/article – even more.) This is a solution for both copywriters and clients to find common ground with regard to price vs. quality.

    I hope this can inspire you somehow :)

  • I’ve been a copywriter for many, many years and it continues to be a struggle. Although we are in demand, the field’s been absolutely saturated with newbs and those who work for peanuts. I usually end up having to clean up their messes and dropped projects, but it’s definitely making it difficult to drum up high-quality, high-end clients.