Sunday, February 07, 2010

Digital Domain - Buy Now, Pay Later (Maybe With Your Allowance) - NYTimes.com

Disturbing in many ways – real money for virtual goods, targeted at children

At FooPets, users “adopt” lifelike digitally animated pets and then buy virtual goods for them, including food, beds and chew toys. The site’s core demographic is 12- to 14-year-old girls, said Scott Sorochak, a co-founder of FooMojo, which operates the site. The company says that FooPets has one million active members and that it is signing up 20,000 to 25,000 new members daily.

“Kwedit is the first payment system we’ve used that doesn’t require getting a parent involved,” Mr. Sorochak said.

Now an eighth grader, on her own, can use a Kwedit Promise to buy a virtual 40-pound bag of Purina Puppy Chow. The chow exists only as a photograph of a Purina package, but FooPets instructs its users that the care and feeding of the digital pets they’ve adopted should be regarded as a serious matter. “Your FooPet is a real creature that lives online,” the company’s Web site says.

Digital Domain - Buy Now, Pay Later (Maybe With Your Allowance) - NYTimes.com

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