The Nintendo Wii may be getting a lot of attention. But the have you heard of WeeWorld and its WeeMee’s? They’re the kind of things that make you smile. Especially for teens and young adults.
A WeeMee is a virtual avatar that you can use as your identity in the WeeWorld virtual world (unrelated to Nintendo) or while you’re chatting with someone on an instant-messenger platform. More than 21 million WeeMees have been created in the past three years and about 600,000 a month are being created, says Lauren Bieglow, general manager of the London-based company’s North American division.
That has the company looking around for funding to expand its business, she said. Today, the company is announcing that RCA is doing a repeat promotional campaign with a musical artist, Alicia Keyes. Earlier, the music company tested a WeeMee-based ad campaign for singer Avril Lavigne. Keyes will release a new video which can be used as a background in the WeeWorld virtual world, where players can create their own rooms.
Beyond the WeeWorld site, users can use WeeMees as cutesy avatars on AIM, Skype, and Windows Live Messenger. They can use them on email signatures, blogs, or as their Facebook avatars as well. The company has been funded in the past by Accel in a $15.5 million round in 2006 and Benchmark Capital in a $5.5 million round in 2005.
The company started with avatars on the message systems and then created its own social network about a year ago. The service competes with other cute avatar virtual worlds such as Habbo Hotel or Gaia Online. The average age is 19 and the largest age group of users is 16. The company makes its money through advertising deals with companies such as Procter & Gamble. You can, for instance, use Cover Girl make-up on your avatars.
The company also makes money through virtual object sales. That will shortly include the purchase of Alicia Keyes pianos, T-shirts, or CDs. In the past two months, more than 400,000 items were downloaded in the Avril Lavigne promotion. The company has 55 employees. If the company raises money, Bigelow says that it will be used for a number of different avenues of expansion.