Fresh Look At IMVU, Mini-MMO With Big Numbers

62 Comments

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.

62 Comments

Zak

IMVU is a fantastic program. I’ve never experienced any problems with it, and the graphics are phenomenal. It really is a unique program, and despite some of the… er… “interesting” adds you may/may not have seen, it is actually a high-quality product.

I strongly recommend that you sample it-it’s quite addicting. XD

Peter Pan

IMVU will double bill your credit card and not even tell you they double billed you unless you figure it out yourself. Their whole philosophy is that “what the customer (IMVU User) doesn’t know……doesn’t hurt.” These people seriously have issues and need to address complaints in a timley manner that will satisfy the customer needs and not when ther decide when they want to respond back to the customers. I’m really surprised their still in business after 5 years. Also, the girls who work in their customer support are really rude when responding back to customers via email.

Jack X

I have been on IMVU since early 2006 and you best hear my advice:

STAY AWAY! IMVUinc does NOT like to discuss things and changes rules and guidelines whenever they see it fit. Someone flaggs your creations? Well you are out of luck then. I had it happen at least 10 times because they suddenly changed rules for their so called “access pass”. So your earned credits from these products are TAKEN from your balance AFTERWARDS if you get really lucky…

If you want an open minded community then STAY AWAY from IMVU… Get Second Life…

But.. well.. I suppose most people will have to learn that lesson by themselves… just do not say you haven’t been warned… there were enough words of warning here.

tatjana maria

I m coming from Norway, my name is Tatjana Maria.
M 8 years old. I think that this game is very interesting.

Best regards.

Anonymous IMVU user

I’m glad I have not spent hundreds of dollars on IMVU.
It’s funny and nice, what, the first month or so. After that initiation period, you’ll find it’s boring. A lot of people sign in and then give it up after a few chats, so your new friends will likely dissappear quickly.

Many people on IMVU are middle-eastern guys wanting to show you their genitals. Really.

honestly speaking

i dont know why everybody hates imvu, i prefer imvu rather than second life because imvu graphics looks much better, i can’t stand Second Life’s graphics which looks kind of weired, sorry to say, Second Life’s avatars looks so weired, and their hair especially looks like some sort fake paper.

don’t get me wrong, i’m just telling you my opinion.

But imvu on the other hand, its has active users, and they are not so boring, even if someone buys your product using predits, so what?? just treat it as if that person is just tipping you for your lovely product. anyway, you create one product for a certain amount, it can be bought by millions, without deducting a single cent from you account. the best part is, imvu is smart that they don’t let products to be transfer to one account to another, so even if someone has multiple accounts, that doesn’t mean you lose anything, in fact, if they buy your products on all accounts, you’ll earn multiple developer tokens that equivalent to 10 credits each, just that you can only develop more products.

So seriously, in short,

imvu is not that bad, unless you suck at developing, please don’t be one. Sometimes i see developers who design things which probably no one buys, (even themselves wouldn’t want it!) that would be a total waste! it takes up space and it only earn imvu. but i’m not saying you shouldn’t try, its just that please stop if you are creating millions of crap. try to learn the basics before you develop something.

Vance

Uhg.. You should probably try turning the graphics settings up…By default most peoples computers will run SL with graphics on Low. I like to run on Ultra High. You should see some of the amazing graphics that can be produced.

Not to mention, if you don’t like the graphics in the LL viewer.. There are plenty of third party viewers that will connect to Second Life, and some of them have different rendering capabilities. Most notably Emerald Viewer.

Bliss Crimson

I’m Bliss Crimson on SL, and MooncatX on IMVU — and having been on both systems about 2 full years now. I consider IMVU the biggest rip off of my life.

Okay want to know why there are so many users accounts? Because IMVU PAYS people to make multiple accounts in “predits” — Basically teeny try out creates an account, then for every new account that gets created on teeny’s “invite” earns teeny predits. Predits are cyber money teeny can use to buy any of the cyber items in the catalog. LIGHTBULB!!! teeny then starts making multiple accounts, and gets more and more free predits to buy stuff with. The majority of those accounts are never used beyond the five chats it takes to get more teeny more predits for getting the fifth chat.

Now teeny has several hundred predits to make her avatar a virtual material girl. All it took for her to get lots of freebie cyber money was to make a few dozen or more toss away accounts.

Now, do the developers whose hard work went into creating the items she buys get anything? They get a “dev token” instead of credits, and a dev token is close to worthless. You can’t even buy a shout out with them. You can’t trade them for credits or money. You can spend a lot of hard work and resources, because yes a developer has to PAY to put items into the catalog, and a few hundred thousand teenys can buy your items and you can see ZERO return on that few hundred thousand sales.

Let’s say someone uses REAL credits to buy your item! Yay!!! Oh wait, an item that cost 400 credits, over half just went to pay the catalog fees, the fees to the mesh creators, etc and you maybe make 100 credits. Well not too bad, right? 100 sales making 100 credits means 10,000 and IMVU sells 10,000 credits for 10 bucks… you just made 10 bucks right? WRONG. The 10,000 credits you made, to cash them out you either try to sell them direct, or through a reseller… you make less than 50 percent of what IMVU sells the credits for. Okay so you have your 4 bucks, alls good… oh nooo!!!… why is your account in the negative and about to be frozen? Well that cute general audience heart shaped pillow you made and sold? Someone flagged it for sh*ts and grins and IMVU *automatically* yanked all the credits made from that pillow out of your account, putting you into negative, and you got a few days to PAY IMVU to bring your balance up to 0 or have it frozen. You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t break any rules. Can you still be ripped off and frozen out? Totally And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Policies at IMVU have been getting steadily worse and worse in the past two years. And the TOS changes almost monthly in ways that significantly and adversely impact developers and users. The best developers in IMVU are already in a steady exodus from the program, too many been too scr*wed over for too long. Many prolific devs no longer develop new products for IMVU anymore, it’s just that bad there now.

Recently IMVU fired a lot of staff. They didn’t have that big a staff to begin with. They say they are making big profit, and telling members and creators that things are bad so they are charging “taxes” on transfers of credits, so creators are getting even fewer than the less than 50 percent return on credits they were making in the GOOD days.

One of my best long distance friends got into IMVU on my invite. She’s disabled and on a fixed income, but over a year built up her avatar really nice, spending totally a few hundred US dollars in credits… Now with all the TOS changes, the huge rips from our inventories that are continuous, and many other things at IMVU that have made it an unpleasant experience, she’s pretty much lost all that time and money because now most of our friends who used IMVU regularly have either been driven off or left in disgust over what IMVU has become. Because she came to IMVU on my invite, I feel like a Judas Goat, for having led the way to IMVU and having invited her there, and many of my other friends, who’ve pretty much lost the value of any money they’ve spent there on Access Pass, VIP Pass, credit bundles, etc. Over 90 persons on my personal invite came in and bought things from IMVU. Passes, bundles, etc. I feel horrible now so many of my friends have lost their money trying out IMVU, and just my little group of invitees combined yes they did spend thousands of US dollars there. Every dollar now considered wasted, because IMVU isn’t fun to use anymore because of the ongoing policy changes that in the last two years sucked the joy out of IMVU for a great many people.

And on an technical note. The program itself is now pretty sucky. When I started 2 years ago it was cute, and you could change clothes without the screen going all wonky with download bars and stuff. Now if I want to change my hair it freezes up the screen and the picture bounces with a download bar, and it’s just extremely annoying. I don’t dare buy ANY new products, because you don’t know one day to the next what is going to be yanked from your inventory, or if you buy a gift, from the inventory of the person you give things to. Anything and everything can get grabbed from you inventory, all it takes is a grief flag, and it’s hasta la bye bye to the General Audience dress or high heel shoes it took you hours of carpel tunnel inducing searches to find in the catalog (a total mess to shop through) — flags happen when someone who bought the same item as you decides they want their credits back to buy something else, or someone has a mad on for the designer, or someone just randomly flags because they get a happy out of screwing over someone like a drive by.

Honestly, truly, sincerely, don’t spend real money at IMVU. Hey if your computer can handle IMVU’s now pretty laggy and buggy viewers, you can probably handle Second Life or one of the other 3D platforms starting up. Try the alternative 3D sites, your emotional investment will be much better rewarded, as well as any real money you put into it.

I’ve been socially active on the internet since the early 90s, and IMVU has been the worst online experience of my entire life. Every day I try to think of ways to make it up to my friends that I led to IMVU, and who got majoryly burned there. It was just that bad.

Jack X

Couldn’t have said it better myself… unfortunately I fear that this won’t even scratch the tip of the iceberg… over time people will learn… the one or other way….

Pierluigi Casolari

The Koinup experience proves literally that IMVU is a great place for user generated contents. There are tons of creative members out there. Some of these creatives, call it developers, are creating outfits, clothes, poses and animations. There is also a big scene of IMVU Artists and Avi Artists, you can have a look here:
http://www.koinup.com/in-imvu/

I read the IMVU company is opening the doors to other kind of items as games, public rooms, music remixing…..all in a sort of UGC perspective…

IMVU is definitely (from a User Generated Content point of view) the virtual environment more similar to Second Life. Much more similar than other natural competitors as There.com, Entropia Universe, Kaneva, the upcoming Playstation Home.

My only complaint is That IMVU as company seems to lack the bravery of Linden lad and are some way hesitant to leave users all the freedom to create anything they want and get a real revenue from their creations…

I hope that in the future they will make the last steps and will create a real cash economy for all these user generated contents

Piqued Interest

It is quite humorous that the every time I discover a discussion of IMVU outside of their own forums, the comments are from the same few naysayers who have nothing but the same story to tell.

Move on.

SecondLife seems to suit your needs, use it. You have obviously not gained much headway in creating a following to buy into your negativity. Your troops are not growing for your battle.

As said above, it is to each his own to find out whether this, or any other virtual world experience, is the one that works for them. If it isn’t for you, find one that is IF that is indeed a necessity in your life.

Emzii xx

It’s not IMVU that is the problem. Get a new computer for crying out loud!

LordSoulFire

The full quote:

” While most social game developers are too young to post significant digital goods revenues yet, the model is looking increasingly promising for some game developers. Recent data from MMOs Maplestory and IMVU show that, at least for some, early growth can be quite strong.

In Maplestory’s case, two people close to the company have told Inside Social Games that the company was making $1 million per month within 3 months of launch, and $2 million per month within 6 months of launch. The WSJ reported last month that the company did $30 million in 2007, up from $8.5 million in 2006.

In IMVU’s case (the company is 4 years old but has never disclosed any metrics until this month), the company is currently doing $1 million per month in revenue, with 90% from digital goods and 10% through ads, according to GigaOm. Over 1.7 million items have been created by the approximately 100,000 content creators.

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.

After doing the math, Jeremy Liew estimates that Maplestory has an ARPU of about $20/month, “which sounds about right and is consistent with number we’ve seen from games in Asia,” and that IMVU has an ARPU of about $14/month.

Social game developers would love to see those kinds of numbers. We’ll be tracking all the numbers as game developers on Facebook, MySpace, and other social networks grow their digital goods economies. ”

The ARPU ( Average Revenue Per User ) of IMVU is $14.00 a month.. which seems reasonable even for IMVU – even with 1 Million users, IMVU’s monthly ARPU total would be 14 Million… I’d say thats a fairly strong income, assuming a number of things.

1: Overhead operational costs.
2: Accurate data.

I’d believe that number 1 would take a hefty bit of change, and I also believe that 2 would be debatable. I don’t believe that IMVU actually has a million users, and even if it only had a million users I don’t believe that every one of them are putting out $14.00 ( USD ) a month into the system. I know that as a Content Creator who has since moved on to Second Life after spending a lot of money in IMVU – I’m sure as hell not putting $14.00 into the system monthly. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has decided to sit back and watch the ship sail headlong into an iceberg.

Perhaps I’m completely off-base however. Perhaps there is indeed 3 Million users on IMVU and the vast majority of those 3 Million have chosen to ignore the ” drama, headaches, and complaints ” and have retained faith in a company that has chosen to ignore their paying customers and push only their own agendas while sandbagging as much as they can. Perhaps the majority of those millions of users simply avoid the politics and continue to go about their daily virtual lives and make the best of it all. If that’s the case, then I’ll be quite pleased, because that means that my IMVU Credit Sales will do quite well and I’ll continue to have money to spend in Second Life. For me, even with IMVU being a sinking ship – I’m in a win-win situation that I can wholly appreciate. I’ve already made the money back that I invested into IMVU, and I can watch that ship crumble to driftwood with a small smile upon my face.

On the other hand.. I could be right in all of my statements and the only reason I continue to speak out against IMVU is because I believe that paying customers have the right to be treated with respect, listened to, and called upon when it comes to important services that are offered to them – especially when they’ve paid for service. If my words can keep even ONE person from being conned and suckered then I can call it a day happily. If millions of other users continue to turn a blind eye and continue supporting a corrupted corporation.. well then in the end I can only say that there’s no reason they didn’t see it coming – other than the fact that they didn’t want to see the reality of the situation.

Again.. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

P.S.. Average Revenue Per User.. 14.00… I wonder if IMVU has considered how much higher their ARPU would be had they actually listened to the adult paying customers who have shown time and time again that they know more than what IMVU does when it comes to its own system. On the other hand.. maybe 14.00 ARPU is quite a feat and should be considered something of an achievement. Perhaps IMVU is happy with those numbers. Personally, I doubt it – how many people can appreciate mediocrity when nominal success could just be on the horizon. Wouldn’t you strive for higher achievement instead of mediocrity?

Zyzzx

Exium, I understand that you run a website that provides currency exchange services for IMVU. Might your stance be just slightly influencing your position? I mean, wouldn’t someone trading virtual IMVU credits for real currency appreciate a quick and constant turn-over? Might your positions also negatively effect your business, were it known by your customers? Educated consumers can be both blessing and bane. Therefore, if your customers were educated in the practices that IMVU has exercised, how could that effect you?

IMVU’s reaction to their customers, and the public which they attempt to lure, is certainly questionable. Anybody taking the time to educate themselves would know this. American, EU, and the laws of other countries have been elaborately discussed within the IMVU forums. Links to the very government sites that quote them and how they were broken, had been generously provided, within a strong percentage of those discussions. When NBForrest stated that “any and all legal discussions” were banned from discussion, in his quote above, he wasn’t mincing words. IMVU, tired of coming under fire, made the decision to ban such discussion. As such, an eyebrow should be raised by the consumer, any he/she would be well-advised to weigh their choices and save copies of “everything”, when dealing with this company.

Keeping an attorney on retainer might also be considered…

~Zyzzx

LordSoulFire

” To the person who stated if you buy an item on IMVU you do not own it entirely because IMVU can take it away at any given moment, they are telling the truth. But let me explain why. Imagine you were a kid, and you managed to get some credits via buying a prepaid gift card at a local store, and then you went on redeemed the giftcard and bought some sexy skimpy underwear because the developer didn’t set it to Access Pass Only (18+). IMVU can take that product back from all people under 18 (people without access passes) instantly because it could pose as a legal issue with the way America works these days. “OH NO A KID BUYING SEXY PANTIES! OMG GET RID OF IMVU.COM FOREVER, SUE SUE SUE!”. IMVU is just trying to stay alive and avoid problems in the long run. ”

Actually, it requires a more detailed explanation than that. Your example is dead on, however its not exactly what I believe was being referred to. The IMVU TOS states that as a Content Creator – any content you submit is ” legally ” ( and I say that in quotation because their TOS is hardly legal or legitimate ) theirs to do with as they please. You cannot delete it from their catalog, if you lose your account for ANY reason they can continue to sell your product – even though you will not receive a single credit from it. The fact of the matter is, IMVU takes full permission to do whatever it wants with your creations. Again, your example does apply as they have the right to remove content from your inventory as well – especially if it violates the Virtual Goods Content Policy – however they claim no responsibility or obligation to reimburse you any credits spent if the item was improperly rated. However, the clause in the TOS is specifically about Content Creators and what IMVU has the right to do with them. The ONLY thing that Content Creators CAN do is put their creations to copyright and file a DMCA Takedown notice in order to have IMVU remove their products if the content creator no longer desires their products to be sold.

” Now, the people claiming IMVU stole thousands of dollars from them? How so? Does IMVU run a bank now? I think not, they probably confiscated IMVU currency (Credits) from them because they were fraudulent. The user may have purchased them from an illegal website that sells stolen currency, or maybe they were the actual people involving themselves in exploiting the IMVU development program and generated credits out of thin air. But no matter what, the credits involved I guarantee were fraudulent, and this person who is making multiple posts claiming to be different people above is just whining that they didn’t get stolen money that they worked oh so hard for to obtain. (Then again, I could be wrong, maybe IMVU is stealing their money, but if this were a gamble, my bet is on my theory)”

IMVU is a system where real money is converted to virtual money, i.e. the IMVU Credit. It is quite possible to spend thousands of dollars on IMVU. I haven’t seen a case yet where IMVU has taken credits – fraudulent or not – however I have witnessed IMVU practice deceitful marketing, bait and switch, and I have witnessed them flat out state that they have final say on all refunds. So, has IMVU stole thousands? That depends on your perspective. If you spent thousands of dollars on a product only to have that product changed on you after the fact and end up resembling something you never would have spent thousands of dollars on – is it stealing? Its all in the perspective. However, note that this isn’t the same thing as real world merchandise and no example of such is going to compare. IMVU does have the authority, rights, and means to change their service on a dime – regardless of what you as a paying customer has to say on the matter. That much has been proven time and time again in the IMVU Forums.

“Also – All companies rewrite their Terms of Service! I remember when Second Life was first starting up – as they found more problems they’d make you re-agree to the ToS! Even World of Warcraft has had me agree to their ToS numerous times. Almost all new businesses change their ToS while they are starting up – IMVU is still classified as BETA. Expect things not to be perfect going into IMVU and you will get a pretty nice experience.”

All companies may rewrite their TOS – but GREAT companies make sure that their customers are made aware of those changes. Up until last year, IMVU failed to do that and it took pressure to get them to do so. They have finally began making re-agreement to changed TOS mandatory. Cookies for them – its about time. As far as being classified as BETA? Beta is only a good excuse for awhile – after four years the excuses dry up. Had IMVU actually listened to all of its Alpha and Beta testers it would be a lot more advanced than it is now with less bugs and less customer service issues.

” IMVU, SL, There, Entropia, Playstation Home…. none of them are even comparable! They are all different experiences, so try them all out individually and figure out what you like most. They all have similar economies – but I think IMVU has the best development program out there. SL is neck and neck with that remark. ”

They’re all comparable.. they’re all Virtual. They may differ on experience but the overall mechanics are the same. This is especially true when you remember that a business is a business regardless of what its selling. You either run a business ethically and correctly or you will end up facing angry customers who take only as much as they’re willing to take. ALL companies should strive to meet the expectations of their customers – if they can’t do that and the only thing they strive to meet is their own bottom lines, then they expect to have the bottom drop out from beneath them. IMVU has failed to meet customer expectations and satisfaction. Its really that simple.

” So, any reasonable person will ignore everyone’s opinion in this thread (even mine) and just try out IMVU if a 3D instant messenger interests them. Otherwise you are just following bad advice. That is all. ”

Everyone is entitled to an opinion – unless you’re operating in the IMVU Forums. However you are right about one thing – everyone should seek out their own opinions and put IMVU to the test. The majority of us posting here have – and we’ve been on the front line to face the issues of IMVU and we’ve been banned, harassed, abused, and finally we’ve told IMVU where to get off. Don’t take our words for it though – find out for yourself. I only ask that you go to Wal-Mart and pick up ” His and Hers ” before you go investigating.

LordSoulFire
CCI STAFF
EX-APC ( IMVU Access Pass Council )

Passerby

LordSoulFire
CCI STAFF
EX-APC ( IMVU Access Pass Council )

Are you a staff of imvu inc?

dlsdream

Sorry, but i am so far OVER the age of 18 it’s not even funny> And when SL does change their tos they LET PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT IT AND WHY THEY DID IT. They did NOT do it to PROTECT unethical devs from following the rules we ALL have to play by. I’ve been with IMVU too long now to even recommend it to anyone ever again> You call this bad advice? but really is it bad advice to tell someone to get out of an abusive relationship? if it is, then seriously, i do not want to know you IRL.

NBForrest

Where is the no spin zone when you need it?
20 million registered accounts? Perhaps but I personally have registered well over 30 accounts on imvu and many many others also have more than 1 account.Registered accounts does not translate into registered users.
600,000 regular monthly users? perhaps but what criteria is used to determine a regular user?
Does signing on once a month to check your homepage messages constitute a regular user?
If I sign on once a month with each of my over 30 accounts to briefly check the homepage messages does that count as 30 regular users for that month?
my point is statistics are meaningless and easily spun.
For those of you who like statistics take a look at IMVU`s statistics over the past 12 to 18 months on the stataholics website.

Clifford Hicks the IMVU community manager at IMVU has often been quoted in the IMVU forums as saying
“The first amendment doesnt apply here on IMVU”
Why would you want to use a chat client that doesnt believe in affording you your first amendment right to free speech and freedom of expression?

Heres a brief list of topics that have been Banned from discussion in the IMVU forums:
1)any and all legal discussions
2)sarcasim
3)comments that are critical of IMVU inc, it`s employees,or it`s policies
4)Discussions about disciplinary actions taken against IMVU members,staff and their agents,who have violated the TOS.
5)Discussions involving other 3D chat clients

Obviously those who have a lot of time and money invested in IMVU will try to put a favorable spin on everything,because they have the most to lose when IMVU goes out of business and so it is in their own best interest to make IMVU look good to attract more users whom they hope will spend money and keep IMVU afloat.

Indications suggest that IMVU is planning on coming out of BETA and going public with an IPO before the end of this year, which would explain the sudden public relations efforts being put forth by IMVU at this time,in order to attempt to show IMVU in the best light.

I would strongly urge anyone who is thinking about joining IMVU to NOT spend any money on it for at least your first 6 months as a member. 6 months should be enough time for you to see exactly what is going on and if you decide to leave at least you wont have wasted any money.

my personal observations are that IMVU inc conducts itself like a sleazy used car salesmen and I wont be spending any money on ANY Virtual world or chat client again.

eXium

Hah, I was doing my routine checkup on google results for “IMVU” when I saw this being dugg on digg.com, so I had to check it out. This is the part where I go through the negative posts and clarify what they are talking about. I also explain a bit about comparing virtual worlds and why it’s pointless.

To the person who stated if you buy an item on IMVU you do not own it entirely because IMVU can take it away at any given moment, they are telling the truth. But let me explain why. Imagine you were a kid, and you managed to get some credits via buying a prepaid gift card at a local store, and then you went on redeemed the giftcard and bought some sexy skimpy underwear because the developer didn’t set it to Access Pass Only (18+). IMVU can take that product back from all people under 18 (people without access passes) instantly because it could pose as a legal issue with the way America works these days. “OH NO A KID BUYING SEXY PANTIES! OMG GET RID OF IMVU.COM FOREVER, SUE SUE SUE!”. IMVU is just trying to stay alive and avoid problems in the long run.

Now, the people claiming IMVU stole thousands of dollars from them? How so? Does IMVU run a bank now? I think not, they probably confiscated IMVU currency (Credits) from them because they were fraudulent. The user may have purchased them from an illegal website that sells stolen currency, or maybe they were the actual people involving themselves in exploiting the IMVU development program and generated credits out of thin air. But no matter what, the credits involved I guarantee were fraudulent, and this person who is making multiple posts claiming to be different people above is just whining that they didn’t get stolen money that they worked oh so hard for to obtain. (Then again, I could be wrong, maybe IMVU is stealing their money, but if this were a gamble, my bet is on my theory)

Also – All companies rewrite their Terms of Service! I remember when Second Life was first starting up – as they found more problems they’d make you re-agree to the ToS! Even World of Warcraft has had me agree to their ToS numerous times. Almost all new businesses change their ToS while they are starting up – IMVU is still classified as BETA. Expect things not to be perfect going into IMVU and you will get a pretty nice experience.

IMVU, SL, There, Entropia, Playstation Home…. none of them are even comparable! They are all different experiences, so try them all out individually and figure out what you like most. They all have similar economies – but I think IMVU has the best development program out there. SL is neck and neck with that remark.

So, any reasonable person will ignore everyone’s opinion in this thread (even mine) and just try out IMVU if a 3D instant messenger interests them. Otherwise you are just following bad advice. That is all.

dlsdream

IMVU is WORTHLESS. When they first started, they were actually really good. the client ran smoothly, items were of good quality and low priced. but then, somoene over there woke up one day and said. let’s screw with the system> And they haven’t STOPPED in the last 3 years!~ IMVu is only out to do bait and switch. Conning adults into believing it is an adult friendly site, and also conning the kids to come as well by being a teen friendly site. Well, honestly, it CANNOT work that way> At the ned of the day, if you buy anything at iMVU, they have the right to yank it without refunding you> They also have the right to BAN you for ANY offence, or NO offence, that is, unless you are a big name dev that is well known for BAD BUSINESS PRACTICES, stealing, and circumventing the TOS in EVERY WAY imaginable. even going so far as to have the TOS REWITTEN to your ADVANTAGE, all the while, screwing the very peoplr who MADE IMVU. At the ned of the day. IMVU is literal *scat reference*

Georgia

Hey Wagner:

Next time you write an article about IMVU, try doing a little homework. Don’t just feed readers what’s in the IMVU press release that IMVU sent to media folks this week. While IMVU probably loves you for your “technique,” it’s useless for the millions of people who already know what’s in the release. It also undermines any credibility that you, or this web site, has.

Alexandrovna

DO NOT GIVE THIS COMPANY YOUR MONEY!

I would describe them as thieves but that might not be accurate. Cut-throat Pirates is probably closer to the mark. As a content creator on IMVU I have learned a whole new meaning to the words “rip-off”. Unless you march in lock step with their totalitarian approach to issues you will surely lose any investment you make. Once you have bought in there is NO WAY to practically divest yourself of the “items” you have “purchased”. Remember just because you have spent YOUR hard earned money to BUY an item from the catalog, that item STILL BELONGS TO IMVU and they will take it away any time they please! Consider yourself warned.

LordSoulFire

IMVU, at the end of the day is trash. Its not just a few cans of rotting tomato paste and a few noodles – its a large bag of spoiled spaghetti. Not only are the forums a complete waste of time with its censorship and elitism, but so too is the customer service and all of its policies. IMVU in the past had made some concessions in terms of policies but at the end of the day they controlled even those concessions down to the wire and the only people who benefited from them was IMVU itself.
As a user of IMVU and Second Life – its my opinion that IMVU does not even begin to compare to Second Life. That’s not to say that Second Life is by any means perfect – it has myriads of issues. However Second Life’s issues pale in comparison to IMVUs… IMVUs issues start with its business model and the way that this company does business.
As for IMVU being competition for Second Life based upon numbers.. take a close look at IMVU’s numbers.. they’re fabricated. Most of the accounts on IMVU are made and sit unused, the participation of the site since May of last year has plummeted due to the actions of this company. Do a full search on IMVU on the web and look at the traffic charts – IMVU has been on a steady drop and as for 20 million users? No chance.
IMVU has literally taken a shotgun and unloaded the shells into its own foot in terms of its adult customers ( Not Adult Users – Adult Customers who PAY to play on their site. ) and nothing it can do now is going to ever restore the faith that some adult users had. As for Content Creators ( Of which I am one ) they’ve taken aim at their other foot as far as I am concerned. If it isn’t the adult customers IMVU is using for target practice – its the Content Creators… sometimes they get a double bang – adult content creators.
At the end of the day, IMVU is nothing more than a machine driven at its most manipulatable users – the teenagers. Its a rusty machine who’s gears can be heard miles away by any rational free thinking adult and the only people who don’t hear the squeal of the wheel are the adults who are profiting greatly from their own sales – and teenagers who don’t really care because they don’t put a lot of money into the system.
For myself.. I’ll milk the cow until it runs out of milk. IMVU to me is nothing more than a place to make a little money to sink into Second Life.. because one day soon IMVU will fall like the crackerjack house that it is and it will crush whoever is within. I’ll be in the front yard counting my profits and then walking away.

LordSoulFire

rightasrain

gee, IMVU sounds kinda scary–but it is only 2.5D! 3D immersive world has it’s own issues as well. Still seems like we are in the post-hype cycle with SL. We ran some of the recent data and have some comments here http://rezzable.com/blog/rightasrain-rimbaud/looking-linden-sl-data-and-trying-be-excited-about-sl5b

We still think SL is best 3D immersive web platform…but it is not a vibrant, growing world atm. It is a mixed message, because LL is apparently making lots of cash profit, but not investing in new user marketing. Is it because of technology issues? We don’t see the service as so bad really and neither do the new island purchasers. But it would suggest that LL having 60k concurrency has more than it can handle loading the system.

So then obvious question is…why not charge the users? Is it because such a high proportion of log-ons are campers (wtf is a camper read here http://www.squidoo.com/slcampingguide ) or bots and any effort to charge people will strip that out immediately.

Zyzzx

After 2 years with this company, the last of which had been spent banging my head against the uncompromising wall they like to (laughably) refer to as “customer support”, I have to ugre potential members to steer clear of this company.

Our community of users has banded together to bring to light the actions, policies, and illegal (as defined in the U.S. Federal Trade Commission website: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/baitads-gd.htm — see below) practices they have been accused of.

[b]Sec. 238.2 Initial offer.[/b]

(a) No statement or illustration should be used in any advertisement which creates a false impression of the grade, quality, make, value, currency of model, size, color, usability, or origin of the product offered, or which may otherwise misrepresent the product in such a manner that later, on disclosure of the true facts, the purchaser may be switched from the advertised product to another.

(b) Even though the true facts are subsequently made known to the buyer, the law is violated if the first contact or interview is secured by deception. [Guide 2][/list]

Numerous attempts have been made to coerse the representatives of this agency to seperate minors from predators, have the company return purchases made which they later took from a huge percentage of their Adult Pass members, and have the Adult Pass re-instated to its originally marketed status (it had been down-graded, suddenly and without owner consent). IMVU does not allow for open discussion and/or inquiry of unwarranted/unpopular practices in their forums. Censorship is not only practiced in their adult-only forums, it extends to include unpopular and well-mannered/professionally-addressed statements.

Arguements can be made both for and against IMVU, however, whatever the case, I would suggest educating yourself to the realities of the site before making any monetary investment. I once spoke extremely high of this social site. Now, I am ashamed for having enlisted so many into its web.

You can find a third-party discussion, initiated by a member of the Alberta Police Department, at the ConnectSafely blog, here: http://www.blogsafety.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1100000166&start=0

Finally, You may like to visit the CCI at http://cci.freeforums.org, for discussion and behind-the-scenes view at the attrocities this company has been accused of.

Visit the above links, if so motivated, get a free membership with IMVU and wander within its forums to take in a real glimpse of their practices. If you do happen to go that far, ask yourself, “Where are the really hard-hitting discussions about customer service. Doesn’t anybody have a complaint that they want addressed?” If you happen to see nothing of the sort, see if you find evidence of the users kissing up to the IMVU representatives, and ask yourself, “Why are the customers kissing up to them?” The answer is simple; moderators answer to one staff member. That staff member chooses IMVUs moderators, and decides what topics are deemed “unpopular”. Those making waves are banned from forum use as well as sending/receiving private messages. As the rules have been proven to be (see linked URLs) imposed only sporadically and unjustly, people fear banishment from the forums and/or the revolkation of their IMVU accounts.

But don’t take our word for it. You’re best off just doing a bit of homework before entering into business with them.

Don’t say you weren’t warned, though.

~Zyzzx

laughingatvirtualangst

“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…

norm

“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 ;)

Wagner James Au

… 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.

jazmynx

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.

AlZuben

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.

Passerby

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

Jamie

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.

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