Continuing our coverage of online gaming, today I discuss GirlSense, the online tween social network for girls. Part of the Israel-based tween community StarNet Interactive, GirlSense allows girls to play dress up games, create their own designs, and build and interact on their own networks. Girls can display their designs in their boutiques and sell them to other girls using G-cents, the site’s currency. The site allots the girls 100 G-cents for each visitor they invite and 100 G-cents for each visitor who visits the boutiques. Apart from using G-cents to buy designs from boutiques, girls can also spend the currency to unlock features on the site, ‘advertise’ their boutiques, and buy things from the GirlSense store for their boutiques.
The site is in general easy to use, with a simple flash-based tool that lets girls drag and drop items on their avatars. The tool allows girls to personalize to an extent the fashion items the avatars wear also provides them with a degree of flexibility in positioning an item on an avatar.
The boutique community is just one network on GirlSense; there is also the fashion and marketplace community, which seeks to blend social networking with fashion in the virtual world. Members can schedule their ‘designs’ for live auctions. Bidders can see the items on auction, see other bids, and chat with other bidders. GirlSense has recently announced a new feature called Zazzle, which allows girls to convert virtual designs into real products that can be printed and purchased.
In February 2008, GirlSense partnered with AOL for the relaunch of their site Kids Online (KOL). The site’s StyleCenter is powered by GirlSense and will enable users to design and create original fashion lines, open and design personalized e-boutiques to display and sell fashions, and create original make-up looks and styles.
GirlSense gets most of its ad revenue from ads served by Glam Media, a company I covered in depth through an interview with CEO Samir Arora. GirlSense also has exclusive advertising deals for special campaigns that blend the advertiser’s content with the site’s content. In May 2008, InterActiveCorp (IAC) acquired StarNet Interactive. StarNet Interactive had raised $2.7 million from Leo Capital Holdings, Pitango Venture Capital, and other investors in late 2006. Though details of the deal are undisclosed, IAC announced that it would retain all StarNet employees (a total of 20). IAC plans to build a sales team to focus on GirlSense.
According to Compete, IAC’s Zwinky, a virtual world for teenagers, attracts more than 800,000 unique visitors monthly while the GirlSense site has more than 13 million registered users and more than 200,000 unique visitors monthly.
The deal would increase the company’s access to the teen demographic and also challenge Stardoll’s market share easily. However, IAC is going through a major restructuring, and is currently in a chaotic state, so the integration may not be so easy.
This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2008