Just found this interesting tidbit on eMarketer:
Even preteens have social networks now. Sites like Club Penguin, Whyville.net, Habbo Hotel, Imbee.com and Nickelodeon’s Nicktropolis offer tweens a MySpace of their own. The sites offer either fantasy worlds (members at Club Penguin have tuxedoed birds as avatars) or more standard fare like blogging and music sharing. Club Penguin had four million unique visitors in January 2007, according to comScore Media Metrix.
Parents like the sites’ security (no random chat offers here), but they are still cautioned to monitor for cyber-bullying and the amount of time their childen spend playing online. There’s also the question of ads. Ad-free sites make money strictly through membership subscriptions and promotional tie-ins. Whyville and Disney Xtreme Digital (DXD) have plenty of third-party advertising, and DXD also has Disney branding in spades.
For more information on these sites:
“Virtual penguin world: Social sites such as ClubPenguin allow kids to safely emulate teen trends.” (via KansasCity.com)
“Why is Whyville a hit? It’s safe, fun” (via Seattle Times)
“Safer cyber-playrooms” (DXD & Nicktropolis) (via USA Today)
Habbo Hotel’s entry in Wikipedia
“Imbee Launches MySpace for Kids” via Mashable
What it means: always interesting to see a detailed list of competing sites, in this case, social networks for tweens.