Despite the fact that I can’t read or speak a word of German, I can tell you that Smoodoos, a German social network and virtual world aimed at children, looks insane.
That does not mean, however, that the undisclosed sum that Earlybird recently invested in its parent company, Just Us & Friends GmbH, is crazy as well. First, I suspect that today’s children, jacked into the internet shortly after they can walk, find manic forms of madness immensely entertaining. Second, quite like the similar, U.S.-based Webkinz (which Silicon Alley Insider estimates to make $750 million in annual revenue), Smoodoos ties together the virtual and real worlds with plush toys available at retail stores. (These plush toys somehow grant access to premium features in the Smoodoos’ virtual setting, but the company could not be reached for comment and, again, I cannot read a word of German, so I have no idea how.) Finally, the kid-friendly virtual world Club Penguin sold to Disney for $700 million.
The site boasts security features guaranteed to keep adults out of the system, and the plan is to use the funds to expand beyond German borders.
If you go to the site, you are immediately barraged by an array of loud colors, an excited announcer who seems to say, in English, “Come by Smoodoos.com, the annoying community, new for kids” before plunging into indecipherable German. Meanwhile..ah, forget it.
Take a look at this video. It explains everything.