Not every website can be a Facebook, an Amazon, or a Stuff On My Cat. Some sites come tantalisingly close to mega-bucks glory, onto to trip, fall, and land face-first into a still-warm doggy-plop with a fag-end in it.

For some priceless advice - from the directors of Soundcloud, Moshi Monsters and more - on how to make Zuckerberg-style bazillions on the internet while avoiding the pitfalls that befell these poor sods, pick up the August issue of FHM, hitting shelves this Thursday!

BEBO

Along with the once-mighty MySpace, Bebo was one of the earliest sites to ride the social-media boom. Set up in 2005 in the San Francisco home of a husband-and-wife team, by 2008 Bebo had become so popular that AOL agreed to pay a whopping $850million for it – shortly before its users all began deserting it for Facebook.

In 2010, AOL quickly flogged Bebo off for less than $10million. Oops.

MEGAUPLOAD

Providing people with a fast, easy way to ‘share’ music, movies and software online was always going to be a shady, hugely profitable business. Even though Megaupload mastermind Kim Dotcom (yep, that's his real name) didn’t infringe any copyright laws himself – he merely provided the means to do so – sustained legal pressure led to his site being shut down by the US Department of Justice in January of this year.

The large-living Dotcom is currently awaiting extradition to the US, to face copyright-infringement and money-laundering charges.


Megaupload's Kim Dotcom in court, January 2012

COLOR


Much like Instagram, Color lets you share pictures – but rather than sharing pics with friends, you share them with everybody around you within a 150ft radius. Bizarre and invasive? Massively.

After inventor Bill Nguyen somehow secured a mahoossive $41million in funding last year, the app went and sold precisely tits-all, and promptly disappeared off the map.

GOOGLE BUZZ


Every time Google try to jam social networking into your Gmail account, it seems to go wrong. Google Buzz launched in 2009 in an attempt to knock an increasingly powerful Facebook off the top spot, but folded soon after, as few people could work out what the hell it was actually for.

With Google+ fast becoming a sparsely populated wasteland, it looks like history could be repeating itself...
 

Words: Grant Howitt