Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ginsu Yoon Canned By Linden Lab

Yup, PG called it http://paymentguy.blogspot.com/2009/03/hard-ass-john-z-fired-by-linden.html and M. Linden has now cleaned house. From the SL Blog https://blogs.secondlife.com/community/features/blog/2009/04/07/graduation-day: "Have you ever noticed how rarely the departure of an executive from a company is regarded as good news? I find that really odd, for consider the opposite: How many companies fail for refusing to evolve their leadership? In my observation, great companies evolve their management around the reality that experienced executives enjoy different stages of company development. I'm leaving Linden Lab, some of the finest people I've ever known and the most ambitious project I've ever seen. And the most passionate, intelligent, challenging, engaging Residents in any world. And that's good news; it's a graduation of sorts for the company and for me. Yet I'm sure that pundits who prefer their underinformed opinions to verifiable facts will try to find bad news.

The facts are that over the past four years, I've seen Second Life rise from an obscure project of a few dozen people to a worldwide brand with undeniable leadership in a new sector that we helped define. We've built a profitable business with diverse revenue lines, broad interest from consumer to enterprise, hundreds of employees, half a billion hours of use annually, and great new leadership. I believe that Second Life is in a better position than ever before to succeed in making virtual worlds part of everyday online life. I'm happy to see that my path ends with the company in peak condition.

As for me, it's time for a new challenge. I love helping to grow wild startups, and I plan to spend some time exploring a few of my own ideas. I may never see anything as wild as Second Life, but it's a big world out there and I'm entering it with the benefit of the incredible education that you have given me. I hope our real or virtual paths cross again someday. My deepest thanks to all of you for taking part in the journey. (Note to all business development inquiries: Sorry if I haven't had a chance to contact you personally before this posted - rest assured we are working through an orderly transition, and I'll strive to ensure that all of you are in good hands before my last day, by the end of this month.)

Howard Ganz Wins Name Change

Another victory for the smartest man in Virtual Worlds - from VWN; " Webcarzz Changing To "Vector City Racers," Announcing New Contest" Webcarzz announced today that it would be changing its name to "Vector Entertainment" and its product to "Vector City Racers." The company says that the name will better reflect its virtual world--a vector graphics-filled casual MMO based around building and racing cars. However, the name "Webcarzz" has also been subject to a trademark opposition from Ganz due to the similiarities to its Webkinz name and product.

PaymentPin.com Lands Nexopia Deal

Congrats both! And thanks to Darren for the info.

"Leading Canadian Social Network Significantly Increases Revenue Through Addition of Alternate Payment Solution

(Montreal, Canada) PaymentPin.com is pleased to announce the successful activation of their micro-payment processing platform with Nexopia.com. Nexopia is one of Canada’s largest social networks, extremely popular among the teen and tween generations, that chose to leverage both the phone line and mobile billing solutions to unlock a previously un-served customer segment. “Let’s face it. Teenagers don’t have credit cards. It has been great working with the folks at Nexopia to help them open up this new revenue channel considering their younger demographics. We are witnessing rapid growth in social networks as phone line or mobile payments gain traction which only parallels what we’re seeing for dating and gaming as well. Our partnership with Nexopia is a natural fit. We are really happy the chose to work with us.” Malik Yacoubi the CEO of PaymentPin.com says. “Integrating our API with them was not complicated and saw us even further adapting our tech to be an easy plug in for ruby on rails systems.” He continues.

Kevin Swan, the Director of Product for Nexopia.com says, “Out of the gate our results were phenomenal. Our users told us this was right up their alley and we witnessed 3 to 4 times our regular amount of sales in the first week alone. This platform has opened up a whole new door to micro-transactions that we had considered many times before yet never had a suitable partner to access it with. We are looking towards further geographic expansion across North America since PaymentPin gives us the price point options and coverage to do so.”

About PaymentPin.com:

PaymentPin is a preferred solution for phone line and mobile micro-payment billing for websites in Canada, the US and overseas. They offer a fully secure infrastructure, varied price points and attractive payouts to website owners.

About Nexopia.com:

Nexopia is the number one place for Canadian youth to connect online. Launched in February 2003 by 19 year-old student Timo Ewalds, the site’s user base has expanded to over 1.4 million strong and growing daily. Nexopia enables its users to create and design their own profiles, friends list, blogs, galleries, articles, and forums. These features are uniquely presented to specifically engage teens to be active and expressive. The site is staffed by a young team whom are experts in teen culture and stay closely connected to their users.


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Monday, April 6, 2009

Webkinz Goes Baby Shopping

Webkinz Jr., the new virtual world from Ganz targeting kids 3-6, went live last week. Ganz is already a leader in the kids world space with Webkinz, which helped jumpstart the craze and certainly the (patented) concept of linking physical toys to virtual worlds. Even at a simple level, though, Webkinz is likely too complicated for the preschool set. The website itself is simplified compared to Webkinz, and the virtual world promises age-appropriate activities and games, guidance and educational programming for children, and a parents' area to monitor in-world progress through a deluxe membership.