Webkinz.com, the most visited virtual world for children in the United States, has quietly begun targeting its users with outside advertising.
The site is already commercial – in order to subscribe to it, children must buy a Webkinz toy that comes with a special code. But apparently using the site to sell millions of Webkinz stuffed animals wasn’t enough for Ganz (the makers of Webkinz) and now they’re selling their young users to advertisers. To make matters worse, Ganz didn’t bother to inform parents, many of whom purchase Webkinz toys for their children expecting that the website will be free of outside advertising and links. By opening the site to advertisers, Ganz is choosing to maximize profits at the expense of parents’ trust and children’s wellbeing.
Please take a moment to tell CEO Howard Ganz to stop advertising on Webkinz.