Apr 292008

The SIA 25 Live (a snapshot from CNet)

The SAI 25 Live is this new index that is trying to track the hottest startups based on an estimated valuation figure. As you look at the chart, realize these figures are in thousands, so the top of the chart is valued in the billions.

Several of the top 25 are familiar names to readers of this blog and folks who hang around the virtual worlds space:

  • Webkinz
  • Habbo (why it’s not listed as Sulake, I don’t know)
  • Linden Lab
  • Stardoll

Of course, if you are on the Metaverse Roadmap bandwagon, then the stuff like Twitter also fits into the eventual metaverse picture, via the “lifelogging” quadrant. And Meebo, which many think of as just a chat app, has had great success with Meebo Rooms, which is basically am embeddable chat room that you can put on any website — another step towards web-wide synchronous interaction.

The table is intended only to show privately held companies, so many of the big players are absent. And many of these valuations are purely hypothetical — there isn’t necessarily a buyer at that price, and the markets aren’t exactly hot for IPOs right now either. But it does serve to demonstrate the attraction of virtual worlds as a category.

It’s also interesting to me how many of the others are ones I have never heard of. Tudou is a video-sharing site in China. Ozon and Yandex are Russian. There’s a bunch of job-seeking sites, and a bunch of ad networks.

Webkinz & kin: yet more mammals

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Jan 222007

Continuing on the theme of massively multiplayer worlds that people don’t pay attention to, here’s a nice Boston Globe article about Webkinz. The gimmick here is that you buy a plush toy, and it comes with a login code for your virtual apartment, complete with a virtual pet version of the toy you bought. In fact, the toy is actually your subscription fee: each one you buy gives you access for a year.

Enough with the hype, you say. How about figures? Try 2.5m uniques in December.

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