Neopets

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Neopets (originally NeoPets) is a virtual pet website launched by Adam Powell and Donna Williams on 15 November 1999.[1] Two years after the web site was launched, Adam Powell and Donna Williams sold a majority share to a consortium of investors led by Doug Dohring. On June 20, 2005, Viacom bought Neopets, Inc. for US$160 million.[2]

Neopets is a website dedicated to the creation of virtual pets that inhabit the virtual world of Neopia. Visitors can create an account and take care of up to four virtual pets, buying them food, toys, clothes, and other accessories using the virtual currency called Neopoints, and Neocash. Neopoints can be earned through playing games, investing in the game's stock market, trading, and winning contests, while Neocash must be purchased with money, although certain events may allow users to earn Neocash for free. Users can explore the world of Neopia with their Neopets and interact with each other through the Neoboards, NeoMail, guilds, and Key Quest.

Neopets also operates a pay-to-play version known as Neopets Premium, which offers additional features and benefits for a monthly fee of US$7.99. Neopets, Inc. produces and sells a wide variety of Neopets merchandise, such as plushies, stickers, notebooks, three video games, and a trading card game.

Contents

History

Neopets was conceived in 1997 by Adam Powell while he was studying at the University of Nottingham. Powell had started UK-based advertising company Shout! Advertising in 1996, which grew to be the third largest click-through program on the Internet by 1999. He also co-founded Netmagic, an online banner advertising design and sales firm and Powlex Ltd., a web site design firm.[3] Donna Williams was a marketing manager for Shout! Advertising from September 1997 to July 1999 responsible for internet advertising, sales and services, graphic and web design.[3] Powell and Williams started creating the site in September 1999 and launched it two months later on 15 November 1999 from offices in Portsmouth Road, Guildford opposite Ye Olde Ship Inn Pub, still commemorated in the site in the form of a neolodge and a Pizzaroo producing the strangest pizzas.[1][4] Powell was responsible for the programming and database, and Williams the web design and art. The site grew by word of mouth and by Christmas of 1999, they received 600,000 page views daily and sought investment to cover the high cost of running the site.[5] The same month, Doug Dohring was introduced to the creators of the site[6] and, along with other investors, bought a majority share in January of the following year.[5] Neopets, Inc. was created in February 2000 and began business in April. The website made profit from the first paying customers for an advertising method trademarked as "immersive advertising",[6] touted as "an evolutionary step forward in the traditional marketing practice of product placement" in television and film.[7]

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