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“We’re kind of like an e Bay for virtual goods,” Rosenzweig said.
IMVU also recently started inserting advertisements into the site and spending some of its profits on online marketing.
Revenue has been growing each month for the last 13 months, even with the downturn. Users engage in 770,000 chat sessions per day, with the average chat session lasting 60 minutes.
That represents a level of engagement that is enviable among entertainment sites.
Rosenzweig says he admires companies such as China’s Changyou and hopes to duplicate their success.
He’s speaking up about the success now because IMVU hopes to land partners that can drive more traffic to the site.
But IMVU’s virtual spaces are limited to rooms or scenes (like the beach or an estate), and its content is user-generated.
IMVU grew its revenue primarily by increasing the sale of virtual currency to its members, who use that currency to purchase virtual goods ranging from clothing for their avatars to furniture for their rooms.Developers can get training on 3-D artistry and within a very short time upload their creations for a nominal credit fee.They keep the vast majority of the credits proceeds from sales of their virtual goods.It accommodates younger users (who don’t have credit cards) with the sale of prepaid cards in 24,000 outlets, and it also lets users buy credits by filling out surveys or special offers from Offerpal.With all of these changes, revenue has grown from roughly .5 million in the first quarter of 2008 to an expected million-plus in the third quarter of 2009.