62 Comments

Summary:

Flying under the proverbial radar for the last four years, the web-based virtual world chatroom IMVU has released new jaw-breaking data: Since April 2004, it has amassed 20 million registered accounts, with 600,000 of those active monthly users. By comparison, Second Life took five years to […]

Flying under the proverbial radar for the last four years, the web-based virtual world chatroom IMVU has released new jaw-breaking data: Since April 2004, it has amassed 20 million registered accounts, with 600,000 of those active monthly users. By comparison, Second Life took five years to acquire about 550,000 active users.

The company, well known to web surfers because of its ubiquitous ads, is now earning $1 million a month in revenue, 90 percent of that from the sale of virtual currency and 10 percent from banner ads embedded in its interface, CEO Cary Rosenzweig said. That works out to about $1.66 a month per active user. By VC Jeremy Liew’s estimate, market leaders Habbo Hotel and Club Penguin are earning $1.30 and $1.62 monthly average revenue per user, respectively. How did IMVU grow?

Most of IMVU’s massive catalog of avatar clothing, accessories and other objects available on its online catalog are made by the users themselves. They purchase those items from each other with IMVU credits. (A block of 1000 costs you $1.) IMVU then takes a cut of the profits for each virtual item sale, with the rest going to the individual user.

The result: fresh quality content produced on a regular basis by energized creators. “It’s my personal belief there’s maybe in the order of dozens who are doing this for a living,” Rosenzweig said. “Perhaps hundreds who are doing it for spending money.”

Some more notes:

  • About 1.7 million user-generated items have been uploaded to the IMVU catalog
  • Users create most content offline with industry-standard modeling tools such as Maya and Blender
  • Individual content creators can take their earnings and sell them on third party web sites
  • As with Second Life, IMVU users retain intellectual property rights to content submitted to the IMVU catalog
  • About 100,000 users are registered to be IMVU content creators, but the number of consistent creators is in the tens of thousands
  • IMVU users often sell their credits to other users via third-party web sites — also fine with Cary. “We observe it sort of casually,” he said.
  • Demographic: Largest cohort is teens; 60 percent of users are female, 60 percent are American
  • 50-70K concurrency is typical, with peaks in the high 70s
  • IMVU areas are more like virtual rooms restricted to 10 avatars or fewer; Cary estimated 90 percent of those room interactions are person-to-person, anyway.

While not yet profitable, the company plans to roll out pre-paid IMVU currency cards in Target, Blockbuster and other major retail chains in the next two weeks. With light 3-D graphics and cute-sexy cartoon avatars that appeal to girls and young women, it’s easy to see IMVU dominating its particular niche in the virtual world ecosystem, roughly dead center between Second Life and Barbie Girls.

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  1. IMVU selling over $1m/mth in virtual goods « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    [...] in business models, games, games 2.0, gaming, mmorpg, virtual goods, virtual worlds. trackback GigaOm says that IMVU is generating over $1m/mth in revenue: Flying under the proverbial radar for the [...]

  2. Hey: Reference There.com numbers too, since IMVU is a direct descendant of There.com.

  3. Justin Gerard (Chilko Tardis on Second Life) Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    “Look out SL” my eye. 550,000 <1.5 million actives. 14 million totals for second life.

  4. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY!

    DO NOT GIVE THEM MONEY!

    I was a customer. I had unaddressed customer service issues that were ongoing for 5 months…with absolutely no response despite my repeated appeals.

    They responded when I began to publicly complain to other members…by banning me and seizing over $1000 worth of products and credits.

    If you have any complaints about how the site is managed….they will deal with you very harshly. If you don’t believe me, sign up and look for johnnybebadd.

    There are thousands of horror stories about this company. Members are trying to get class action lawsuits in both the US and Australia. They are NOT accredited with the San Jose, CA Better Business Bureau.

    The community of users is great…but you will regret it if you have to deal with customer service. Save yourself some money and heartache and just go over to second life. That is where most IMVU users end up once they have been burned.

    1. johnnybebadd is not available looks like it has been banned :(

    2. do you know how to even contact these jerks? my account was hacked so now i can’t even get in there to shut off my account. When i send a ticket i get an email saying they don’t do direct email customer service anymore and the provided link sends me back to send another ticket.

  5. Please don’t do business with this company. You will regret it. I had over $1000 in merchandise and credits seized by IMVU because I publicly complained that customer service had ignored me…and my request for help for 5 months.

    If you say anything negative about them publicly, they will go after you.

    Right now, thousands of users in the US and Australia are trying to get class action lawsuits filed against them.

    IMVU is not friendly to their customers….and they will ban you too and take everything you have paid into the company if they decide they don’t like you.

    They are not accredited with the Better Business Bureau.

  6. gadingan – Look out Second Life, here comes IMVU Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    [...] the media radar, IMVU posts big numbers about its user base, revenue, and virtual goods catalog.read more | digg [...]

  7. Wagner James Au Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    … and IMVU has 20 million registered users, but that’s not the most meaningful figure, active monthly use is. That’s 550K for SL, a reported 600K for IMVU. 60 day active for SL is actually about 1.15 million now I believe.

  8. “Right now, thousands of users in the US and Australia are trying to get class action lawsuits filed against them.”

    thousands of noobs surely? anyone who uses second life or IMVU (makes me sick just to type it blergh) is insane and needs a good pointed stick to the soul for even going near that level of utter-lame.

    just my two pence ;)

  9. laughingatvirtualangst Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    “Right now, thousands of users in the US and Australia are trying to get class action lawsuits filed against them.”

    This is why AlZuben and jazmynx had to post almost exactly the same story twice in the matter of minutes.

    Go outside and live in the real world…

  10. Wow, nice graphics! hey now!!!

    JT
    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

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