Neopets boasts that it is one of the "stickiest" sites on the Internet, with users spending an average of six hours and 42 minutes at the site per month [ref]. How does Neopets generate such loyalty in its users? There are many ways for Web sites to generate stickiness, and Neopets does several of them very well.
- High-quantity content - It seems like there are a million things to do on Neopets. Users keep coming back (and staying longer) because they never feel like they've run out of games to play or items to find.
- Frequent updates - The Neopets team adds new games, contests, creatures, storylines and items almost every day. Users keep coming back to find out what's new.
- Community - Neomail, Neofriends and the Neopets message boards allow users to create their own community. People spend more time on the site talking to friends and making new ones.
- Rewards - Users who return to the site and spend more time there are rewarded with Neopoints and items. There really isn't any ultimate goal, so users continue to accumulate more items and more points.
- Recruitment - Neopets rewards users who recruit other users through a referral program.
Neopets has licensed their characters and name to several different manufacturers to bring products to Neopets fans around the world. Wizards of the Coast, makers of "Dungeons & Dragons" and the "Magic: The Gathering" card game produces the Neopets Collectible Card Game (CCG). Each pack contains several cards from the set, some more rare than others. Players build their own decks out the cards they have, so each player has a different deck. The object of the game is to defeat your opponent's Neopets in arena battles using items and weapons. Each pack of cards also contains a code that can be entered at the Neopets site to receive special items.
Thinkway Toy holds the license to produce 6-inch action figures and plush versions of Neopets creatures and characters. In 2004, Sony Software Entertainment released "Neopets: The Darkest Faerie" for PlayStation 2. The adventure game allows players to control two different Neopets on a quest to defeat the evil Darkest Faerie.
Perhaps the biggest project in the works for Neopets is the Neopets movie. Slated for a 2006 release, the movie will be a computer-animated feature directed by John A. Davis (director of "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius"). Neopets currently has a multi-picture deal with Warner Bros. Studios, so more Neopets movies on on the way.
Next, we'll find out who owns Neopets, how they make money and how the site was created.