Heard the one about the guy who traded a paperclip for a house? Mary Riekert looks at the flourishing online world of trades, social experiments … and scams.

THEY’VE always been around, the sharp-eyed entrepreneurs who come up with a brilliant idea that has us all asking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” The ideas are often ridiculous, such as Pet Rocks, a 1975 fad started by Californian salesman Gary Dahl.

Who in their right mind would have believed that the world would go crazy to own a pebble? But once Mr Dahl had been written up in Newsweek and appeared twice on The Tonight Show, he sold 1 million rocks for $US3.95 ($4.31) each in just a few months – and became an instant millionaire.

As Mary says, now the Greatest Show on Earth – the internet – is a dazzling fairground open to anyone with a sharp eye for a profit and a good dose of chutzpah willing to tap into a global audience to make money, exploit the community’s goodwill or just to see how far they can push a social experiment….

What with entrepreneurial mothers who can create something out of nothing, something like the internet might be just the place to concentrate to get that idea of yours off the ground, and the beauty being that it can be done from any PC anywhere.

I would really like to know of entreprenurial mothers using the internet and are kicking goals! please share
Lets start sharing our own stories and supporting each other.