Habbo, 86 Million Strong And Counting

Posted by: Matt Vella on January 29

audienchabboeTimo Soininen, CEO of Sulake, the Finnish company behind the wildly popular virtual world/social networking site Habbo, dropped by BusinessWeek HQ today. He gave my colleague Reena Jana and I an update on the quirky-but-compelling isometrically rendered site’s progress. As of January 2008, the site has generated some pretty impressive numbers: 8.3 million unique visitors a month with some 86 million registered users. What’s more, about 90% of Habbo’s users are in that jeunesse doree “demo” chased after by advertisers, 13 to 18 year olds.

More interestingly, Soininen had some insight into what brands should really be looking for with their forays in web 2.0 projects, either in Habbo or on other sites like MySpace or Facebook. “Brands in virtual worlds and social networking sites have to be unobtrusive,” he said. “The idea is less to be about a specific location or room, and more to become a topic of conversation, something users can take with them.” In Habbo that takes the form of digital items pruchased via micro-transactions, the millenial version of that Guns’N’Roses poster on your bedroom wall…

For its part, Habbo has a vital interest in not bombarding users with advertising messages according to Soininen. “A lot of users say, please don’t turn this into advertising Hell,” he joked. “We have to ration, not overwhelm, users with commercial messages. In effect, we vet the brands.” And that, it seems, works both ways since advertisers are also looking for clear, un-crowded places to setup shop and be noticed. “The reel beef for advertisers online,” he said, “is in community activities. If you want to get meaningful reach, that’s where it is.”

We also briefly discussed the potential of a U.S. recession (“Our types of services won’t be affected.”) and the temptation to feature creep or use the Habbo site’s success as a driver for a broader portal (“History has show: keep it simple, keep it stupid.”). All in all, an intersting if quick conversation.

Look for an upcoming update to the company’s massive youth survey previously written about by Reena.

Reader Comments

William K

February 1, 2008 04:53 AM

i fink dat habboz is de beszt.

dinnae mess wid me ken ur maaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Joaco

February 1, 2008 10:19 AM

como se hace un habbo???

brianna w

February 3, 2008 05:30 PM

cool game

clarke128

February 6, 2008 04:39 PM

hey you shoud give people coins give like 20 or 25 coins to every one plz
we need it lot of people are shring to get in hc but when don't have alot of coins

Para Joaco

April 22, 2008 03:01 PM

Hola Joaco, soy ingles pero hablo tu lengua. :)

Tienes que ir a www.habbo.es, cuando estas alli, es facil.

fael321 (felipe)

July 4, 2008 04:33 AM

ola soy un visioso pero kiero mas creditos los nesesitos para las cosas tiki si algien me kiere donar lo acptare grax

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About

No longer child's play, the booming global games market is worth billions of dollars. In Games, Inc., BusinessWeek Innovation writer Matt Vella and Tokyo correspondent Kenji Hall analyze emerging business trends in video games and interactive entertainment. They’ll examine everything from button-mashing, chart-topping, console games to serious games commissioned by big corporations to train staff. They’ll also map the evolution of expansive virtual worlds and go behind the strategies at companies that are turning play into big business.

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