The curious case of a $500K puzzle

Hi there! I'm Jose E. Ruano, the founder of The New Gazette. You are receiving this email because you signed up for it, a weekly newsletter about all things digital. Each time, a new case study about a brand or person that is doing an amazing job on the internet. Thank you for being here. If this email was forwarded to you, subscribe by clicking the button below.

This story was written before the scandal related to David Dobrik’s other activities, I will not turn it down as it tells a good work related to one venture but I do not accept any bad behaviour he did or show on his videos.

This week, someone told me the story of a guy who made $500K dollars in 1 hour by selling a puzzle online

I couldn’t believe it 

How it can be possible?

To find out I decided to search online for answers, as I got really curious,

I searched everywhere, and found on Twitter the name of who was behind all of this

The guy who pulled this off was David Dobrik

When I read his name, I understand how it became true

If you're not into youtube, it's possible you've never heard of him but He's a celebrity that's risen to fame thanks to social media,

Currently, in my opinion, the biggest youtuber in the world

He migrated from Slovakia to the US when he was 6 years old, then got launched into the spotlight after sharing small videos on the now dead video-sharing app Vine, receiving a lot of attention

In 2015, he turned to YouTube, where he is known for his elaborate stunts, pranks and vlogs, celebrities cameos, which help him gain more than 18.6 million subscribers

Thanks to this, Dobrik has turned his empire into a net worth estimated at $7 million, movie roles, a gig hosting the Teen Choice Awards, and a loyal fanbase

He understand how to grab everyone’s attention with every single idea he has.

The most famous ideas and giveaways I have seen in his channel are this:

  • Giving away T-shirt’s with lots of money to fans,

  • Giving a Tesla to five lucky followers who registered to vote in this year’s elections. He’s not even from the country but 100,000 people registered to vote in a single day through his challenge

  • Surprising fans with Kylie Jenner and Justin Bieber, and more.

Now, as he cannot make vlogs due to the pandemic, he decided to do a puzzle to give more to his following. A creative challenge to be completed.

The challenge, It’s named "The Hundred Thousand Dollar Puzzle," and each completed puzzle reveals a QR code that, when scanned, will direct the puzzle-owner to a link showing how much money they've won.

According to the website, that could be anywhere from $0.25 to $100,000. Crazy right?!

The idea came after he saw a trend on TikTok of the comments people wrote:

"One of the most common comments I see is you guys asking me for money,"

"So I finally figured out a way to get all of you guys money. I sound like a scam, but this isn't a scam, listen."

Dobrik describe the puzzle as something that"takes a while" to do but it give the possibility to everyone of winning.

The Hundred Thousand Dollar Puzzle is a five on a difficulty scale from one to ten.

There isn't a reference for the puzzle itself as "that would be cheating," according to the website's FAQ but it’s actually a giant QR code to solve.

To participate, you must be over 18, and a legal resident of the United States, which can be paid out via Paypal, Venmo, or "any other available payment processors on the site

Here are some stats of this challenge, in just a few days of being launched

I love when someone uses the internet as leverage for his ideas,

At The New Gazette, I like to share brands or people that are doing an amazing job on the internet and I consider David as an expert on this.

If you want to participate on this challenge, go check out the website here

I can’t wait to see the results

Until next week,


Do you think it was a good idea?

If you enjoy The New Gazette, support the newsletter for just $5. Still more stories to come. Partnered with Buy Me a Coffee.


The New Gazette presents

  • Yesterday was Airbnb’s opening at the stock exchange. After the IPO started the company is worth almost $100 billion, but not always was this good. Here a story of Brian Chesky, current CEO, who shared when the company wanted to raise some money and were rejected by 7 investors, 5 said no, 2 didn’t even answered.
    A true statement of never give up on your dreams.

  • Ilaria Urbinati, who is one of Hollywood’s top stylists launched a new men’s lifestyle website called Leo, in there you can learn incredible advice given by experts, go check it out here