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IAC Gives Teenagers a Virtual World for their Zwinky

Unless you’re a teen reader of Marketing Pilgrim, or happen to have a teenager in the house, you may not know anything about Zwinky. The IAC owned site allows you to create custom avatars, give them a wardrobe, hair, accessories and then add them to MySpace and interact with others.

Up until today, your Zwinky had a limited existence and didn’t get out much – probably too much homework. Now, thanks to the launch of Zwinktopia, your avatar can grab its iPod, skateboard etc, and head out into the real virtual world.

As TechCrunch explains

Today Zwinky will add a virtual world to the site called Zwinktopia – users can use their avatars to roam around the world, chat with other users and engage in activities to earn Zbucks, the virtual currency of Zwinktopia. Zbucks can be used to buy virtual clothing and other goods.

As Social Networking Rises, TV Watching Decreases

A new study from Marketing Evolution (commissioned by MySpace, Isobar & Carat) suggests social networking users between 14 and 40 years old are increasing their internet, email and instant messaging usage, while decreasing the amount of time they spend watching TV and playing video games.

Ok, which genius thought it would be a good idea to measure the habits of teenagers, and those approaching their mid-life crisis, in the same data set? How many 40 year olds do you know that play video games? (go ahead “out” them in the comments section). ;-)

MySpace News Gets Reality Show?

Less than a week after the launch of MySpace News, Reuters reports on a planned political show, “Independent,” for the social news site.

The goal for the show is to engage young adults in politics. “Independent” is slated to “air” on MySpace News next year, after MySpace’s presidential primaries.

Fortunately, this news doesn’t end there. The producer is Mark Burnett, aka the father of reality TV. What does that mean for “Independent”? From what I’ve pieced together, viewers will vote on the best campaigners—not the candidates themselves, but MySpacers who upload videos about their campaign efforts on behalf of one of the candidates, but I’m not sure. Deduce for yourself:

MySpace users and TV viewers will select from a pool of candidates who have uploaded audition videos to the site.

1/3 Adults Consult Wikipedia; CD Version Out

The Washington Post reports today on a Pew Internet study that states that Wikipedia receives around 70% of its traffic from search engines (citing Hitwise), and one in three adults consults Wikipedia—39% of men and 34% of women. The full study also notes that 50% of those consulting Wikipedia are college graduates. One hopes they take the information they find with the appropriate grain of salt.

The Washington Post also notes the role of SEO in Wikipedia’s search engine traffic:

Most Influential People of the Year? Time Magazine Wants You to Decide

Time magazine wants your help in determining the most influential people of the year. They’ve posted a short-list of 200 potential candidates, and guess who’s currently topping the list?

Stephen Colbert!

Could the mischievous Comedy Central host possibly add “most influential” person of the year, to his “greatest living American” title?

You decide!

MySpace and Photobucket Make Up

Last week, as Andy mentioned, MySpace blocked Photobucket videos and remixes from displaying on its members’ pages.

As of yesterday, the problem was resolved. Photobucket CEO Alex Welch stated on their blog:

Moving forward, we’ve established open lines of communication and procedures with MySpace to prevent a sudden block of Photobucket content in the future. We want our users to be able to share their content and understand it must be within the framework of MySpace’s Terms of Service for it to appear on the site.

How had the violated the TOS in the first place? Apparently, Photobucket encouraged its users to post ad-sponsored slideshows. From MySpace’s TOS:

Commercial advertisements, affiliate links, and other forms of solicitation may be removed from Member profiles without notice and may result in termination of Membership privileges.

Marketers Learn the Value of Social Networks

Fox Interactive Media – and about half a dozen other companies – conducted a study to determine the value of social media for marketers. Sampling 3,000 US internet users, they discovered…

  • More than 70% of Americans 15-34 are actively using social networks online, and the research showed social networking sites taking a strong foothold in the primetime hours.
  • 31% of online social networkers claim they spend more time on the Web in general after starting to use a social network.
  • Brands such as adidas and Electronic Arts attributed more than 70% of their marketing return on investment to the “Momentum Effect.”

That “Momentum Effect” is a cute term coined by the study to define “the impact of a brand within a social network beyond traditional advertising impressions to encompass the “pass along” power of consumer-to-consumer communication.” In other words, viral marketing, tipping point, word of mouth, etc.