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SecretBuilders Acquires Dizzywood, Absorbing Users

Kid-targeted virtual world SecretBuilders announced that it's acquired the assets of Dizzywood, another online world for children, and will attempt to migrate Dizzywood's users to its site.
Kid-targeted virtual world SecretBuilders announced that it's acquired the assets of Dizzywood, another online world for children, and will attempt to migrate Dizzywood's users to its site. Terms for the deal were not disclosed. Opened by Rocket Paper Scissors in 2008 at the height of the virtual world craze, Dizzywood invited children aged 8 to 12 years old to create and customize characters with superpowers, chat and interact with friends, take on quests, and work with others to explore the online space's mysterious woodland setting. Dizzywood managed to pick up funding early on -- $1 million from Charles River Ventures, Shelby Bonnie, and individual investors -- and even attracted 1.5 million registered users -- but virtual worlds like Dizzywood have waned in popularity recently, and many, such as There.com, Vivaty, and Metaplace, have closed. SecretBuilders, which launched in 2007, however, has managed to stay afloat, picking up almost 2 million registered users and keeping 1 million unique monthly players. The company claims its audience expands by about 500,000 per quarter despite the developer not spending any money on advertising. According to a report from VentureBeat, the firm will try to shift as many of Dizzywood's users as possible to its own virtual world, offering those players a "Dizzywood Land" area within SecretBuilders to play in and "special gifts", like $20 worth of virtual currency and digital goods. With this announcement, SecretBuilders also revealed that it's porting the virtual world to new platforms including Facebook in the coming months (it's already available on the Android-based Samsung Galaxy Tab). Says CEO Umair Khan, “In the future, we want to be on all the platforms that people consider to be electronic babysitting devices."

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