Wired writes about “a virtual animal kingdom that has become a product placement paradise:”

Neopets has a staggering 25 million members worldwide. It has been translated into 10 languages and gets more than 2.2 billion pageviews per month. These dedicated Neopians spend an average of 6 hours and 15 minutes per month on the site. That makes Neopets the second-stickiest site on the Internet – ahead of Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, and eBay, according to Media Metrix. What’s more, its demographics are the stuff of marketers’ dreams: Four out of five Neopians are under age 18, and two out of five are under 13.

It’s these numbers that have captured everyone’s attention – Madison Avenue, Hollywood, and toy companies, all desperately trying to grab younger and younger audiences. The Neopets characters now appear as stuffed animals and action figures and on board games and trading cards. Warner Bros. is developing a Neopets feature film. A PlayStation 2 version hit the market in October, and a PSP version is due out next year. And then there’s perhaps the biggest deal of all: In June, Viacom – which owns CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Pictures – bought Neopets for $160 million. “We want to be wherever kids are,” says Jeff Dunn, president of Nickelodeon, who took charge of the Neopets brand. “And there are plenty of kids at Neopets.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.