Online Success Stories

Posted on: Friday 08 July 2011 3:27pm


John Kent finds out who’s making a success, online, in the kids’ market.

Moderator:Claudio Franco, Head of Gaming, Dubit ResearchSpeakersKatie Bell, Commercial Director & Head of Star Doll TV, Star DollKaila Colbin, Chief Marketing Officer, MiniMonos.comOlivier Jalabert, Business Development Director, Ankama Produced by:Pete Davies, Founding Director , Dream Machine Media

For my final session at this year’s CMC, I went to see some online success stories. Nothing like a bit of someone else’s success to motivate you to get stuck back in to the day job on Monday morning.

The three projects were featured were very different:

Dofus is an MMORPG developed by French company Ankama. The game’s grown to encompass 40 million accounts and is available in 9 different languages. And it’s gone transmedia, with an active community, associated magazine and a second related world (Wakfu). The company even has an embryonic music label.

Stardoll is even bigger:  

Originally created in 2004 as a hobby site by a Finnish cleaner, the concept was picked up by a business investor who developed the idea into a series of related sites – Paperdoll (4-8 year olds), Stardoll (8-15) and Piczo (16-14).

Of the three, Stardoll is the biggest, with 115 million users in 232 territories and 21 languages. The game is all about creativity and self expression and empowering girls. Stardoll, too, has gone transmedia: partnering with organisations such as Childline, and developing stories and themes into everything from paperback books to a fashion label.

In the future, the company is looking to produce events for its users that will bring the experience of creativity in the game to life – a kind of Stardoll careers fair.

Two interesting sites, and examples of great success. But to be honest I was getting slightly frustrated… it felt like the session really was going to be about what success looks like – ie impressive stats. If I’m making stuff, I’m interested in ideas that might help me achieve that success. Hmmm.

So what about Minimonos? This is the new kid on the block. A virtual world that’s a bit more boy-skewed, with a still-growing 250k users.

It has a lot of the elements you’d expect – play, social aspects and so on, but all with an undercurrent of sustainability and looking after the planet

For me though, it was Kaila’s presentation that included the most useful ideas to take-away:

For instance, Minimonos has a big presence on the social networks, which they had assumed would help drive an audience. In fact, while social activity drives audience loyalty, the team found that the biggest spikes in new registrants followed TV coverage. Their conclusion was that presence on more channels (not just TV – think loyalty cards, cereal boxes etc) gave the brand more credibility – and that’s what drives users.

The final point that Kaila made was that for a site that aims to entertain and inform, by far the most important aspect was entertainment. Her theory is that if a site is entertaining, there’s a good chance some of the information will be picked up by the users; if its not entertaining, you don’t stand a chance because you won’t have any users.

I have to say, I like both those ideas. Something to muse on back in the office next week.

That’s all from me for this year. See you at CMC 2012!