I came across the most amazing phenomenon recently and it’s called Webkinz. It’s a fuzzy little stuffed pet that has a virtual life. Each fuzzy being comes with a unique code that can be used only once and allows you access to the pet’s home on the Internet ie. webkinz site for 12months. You can renew your access for additional fees. Each pet has a unique name and personality. Moreover, it can interact and compete against other pets in online tournaments.
You start off with 1500 webkinz money or kinzcash, which you can use to buy clothes, food, and even additional rooms for your pet in the Webkinz world. You can win more kinzcash by playing trivia and other arcade games (fun!). Although, this site is geared towards children 5years and above, it’s just as addictive as for kids of all ages (like myself).
I think it’s a brilliant concept where you are extending the life of a plain-vanilla stuffed animal by giving it a virtual second-life. The parent company Ganz generates revenue from sale of the toy itself and fees for extending the life of your pet. Another source of revenue could potentially be tie-ups with large CPG companies, so pet owners can buy branded products for their virtual pets. Hmm..my bunny would really look cute in a Juicy Couture tee.