The Marketing Empire of Neopets
"Neopets has a staggering 25 million members worldwide. It has been translated into 10 languages and gets more than 2.2 billion pageviews per month. These dedicated Neopians spend an average of 6 hours and 15 minutes per month on the site. What's more, its demographics are the stuff of marketers' dreams: Four out of five Neopians are under age 18, and two out of five are under 13.
Neopets collapses the boundaries between content and commercials. Many zones in the vast make-believe world, like the Firefly Mobile Phone Zone, are sponsored by companies, and there are branded games like Nestlé Ice Cream Frozen Flights and Pepperidge Farms Goldfish Sandwich Snackers. Neopets calls its model "immersive advertising" and hypes it in a press kit as an evolutionary step forward in the traditional marketing practice of product placement."