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Webkinz is Gold for Toy Retailers

“Webkinz are a line of plush toys made by Ganz Inc. a toy maker from Toronto. Each Webkinz comes with a secret code that gives its owner access to the vast online Webkinz World where users can create an avatar, or online identity, for their pet and adopt it. The toys comes in around 40 varieties and retail for under $20.00 at specialty retailers only. The need for children to have whatever their friends have, their interest in interactive digital products and the word of mouth publicity amoung switched-on net kids, has made Webkinz possibly the most sought-after toy ever. It’s the first toy that’s essentially just a key to an interactive website. And it has likely created panic at toy companies the world over as they try to replicate Ganz’s success. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, Webkinz.com had 2.85 million unique visitors in February and more than 72 million page views. Around 2 million pets have been registered already. In Webkinz World, each pet commmences with it’s own bedroom, and some Kinzcash to spend at the W Shop, where they can buy food and clothing for their avatar, plus furniture, accessories, games, and craft and room decorations. There is also a chat function that allows visitors to talk to each other with a list of 900 or so fixed phrases. Visitors can earn Kinzcash by playing games in Webkinz or even getting a job through the employment agency, as a hamburger cook, or fence painter etc. Ganz Inc. was started in 1950, by Samuel Ganz distributing a doll. He began sourcing products from Asia well before any of his competitors. The business is now run by his grandson Howard.”

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