Tiny tots introduced to Web 2.0
Social networking has already taken the Internet by storm, with virtually everyone these days having their own MySpace and Friendster accounts. I suppose this is but a natural evolution of our friends list on instant messaging programs back in the mid 90s, but to see social networking move away from computers and enter the corporeal world can be a pretty unnerving experience. Ganz has manufactured these plush toys which aim to usher elementary-level children into the world of Web 2.0 in a cute and non-invasive manner.
Known as the Webkinz, these stuff animals exist in both the real and virtual world, where the latter is shown as an avatar that is capable of interacting with others in an online community. Just like Beanie Babies, the Webkinz are up for grabs only for a limited amount of time before being retired, increasing the desirability. A quick check with eBay show that the retired Webkinz Cheeky Pet Dog and Cat are at a whopping starting bid of $3,000. In order not to miss out on this craze, the Love Puppy as shown on the right retails for a mere $99. They’re apparently pretty hot stuff at events where kids get together, such as Easter celebrations, church functions, and birthday parties.
While this is a noble idea, I can’t help but wonder whether there will be sufficient security measures put up in lieu of the many sexual predators who prey on the young and innocent these days. In any case, if you’re in for a spot of investing that does not involve power players on Wall Street, the Webkinz is a pretty cool place to start.