From the Globe and Mail:
First came Google. Then came MySpace, Facebook and Second Life â€” all created by hip young techies from California. But the biggest new Internet innovation comes from an unlikely place: a Toronto-based company best known for cheesy giftware and stuffed toys.
If you have a kid in elementary school, chances are you’ve heard of Webkinz â€” a line of plush toys made by Ganz Inc. What makes Webkinz possibly the most sought-after toy ever is that each one comes with a secret code that gives its owner access to the vast online Webkinz World. There, users can create an avatar, or online identity, for their pet and â€œadoptâ€ it.
Ganz’s product is revolutionary: It’s the first real-world toy that’s essentially just a key to an interactive website. And it has likely created panic at toy companies the world over as they try to replicate Ganz’s success.