Monday, July 14, 2008

Cartoon Doll Emporium recently surveyed over 10,000 of its members on how they consumed different Kidsbig
media. 64% said they spent more time "playing on CDE" than watching TV
and 89% said they spent more time on CDE than reading magazines. That
has some implications for advertising placement, but the survey also
points to a cultural shift for virtual goods and socializing: When
asked if users would rather "buy a pretty dress for yourself or a
pretty dress for your avatar," 54% chose their avatars; in another
question, over half the surveyed users said they felt closer to their
CDE friends than real-life friends. CDE is more of a dress-up
site/social network than a proper virtual world, but CEO Evan Bailyn
says he's definitely in the space.

As far as CDE's own numbers go, Bailyn reports that the site will
have 4.2 million unique visitors in July. And while the social network
only really kicked off in mid-March, one dress has been purchased over
453,000 + times since then. Overall 5.6 million items have been
purchased since the site came out of beta 5 months ago, with 2.3
million avatars creates since then.

"We average a new registered user every 10 seconds, and a new blog
is written every 93 seconds," said Bailyn. "As of this writing,
145,000 user-generated blogs have been written since the CDE community
came out of Beta 5 months ago."

All this engagement--and shifting attention--has already been making
marketers take notice. As Bailyn points out, our generation (he's 27
and I'm 25) took in most of our media, and ads, through the television.
That's increasingly not the case. Advertisers are looking online, but
Bailyn says they're also looking for something that really engages
their audience.

"I hear the following sentence from pretty much every single
prospective advertiser: 'We are looking for a more immersive
experience, something beyond banner ads,'" he said. "GoFish
[which handles all of CDE's advertising] sends us tons of requests for
integrated games, and that is what we sell most of. Since we are a
dress-up site, creating virtual environments and dress-up games of
movie characters is a top seller. We also just sold a very substantial
campaign to a major U.S. retailer, where we are creating a virtual
version of their store on CDE and the kids are buying their branded
virtual clothing for their avatars. This is not groundbreaking, since
Second life did it a while ago, but specifically in terms of the kids
virtual world / social networking space, it does show that there is
huge potential for large advertising spends around immersive

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