Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Those darn furry creatures....

(This was imported from my damaged site ) Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Easter Bunny arrived at our home sometime between midnight and 3 am. He brought lots of jelly beans, M &Ms and Butterfingers. He also brought a few other fun things like Disney's Car boxer shorts and speedo sunglass goggles for the pool. Along with these items he delivered a Webkinz. The bunny to be specific. Instantly the room was filled with ooos and ahhhs over the newest Webkinz acquisition. Andrew immediately ran to the computer to log on to Webkinz to register his newest pet and see what prizes awaited him. The "adoption" as they refer to it in Webkinz world went smoothly (it was 7:45 am NY time) and Andrew was able to see his prizes and all the treasures that awaited him in his dock. This is pet number 16 for Andrew so the adoption process for my 6 1/2 year old is an event that occurs without my assistance. Andrew stayed on the site playing their fun games (I admit...I have played them and they are a little addicting and are quite similar to the Atari games I played when I was his age) Roughly 20 minutes later (8:05 am) I hear "No not again!" come from the vicinity of the computer. My mind immediately raced back to Christmas Day. Christmas Day the Webkinz site was hit so many times by eager children to register their pets that it crashed and crashed hard. They didn't recover until sometime mid January. The site was so unstable that users were unable to access it during normal waking hours for weeks. Ganz, the parent company offered little in the way of child friendly apologies. A simple message "Our site is experiencing unusually high traffic, please try to log on later" was all our little Webkinz addicts saw. What does a four year old understand from that message? My son had some understanding of what was going on but his level of tolerance ran out by the end of week one.

So here it is Easter Sunday and hundreds, thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of kids got a new Webkinz pet in their Easter basket and ran to the computer to register their new furry creature and saw the same message they saw only 3 months ago.

At $15.00 per Webkinz, I think Ganz is making more money on this gimmick then we can imagine, yet they have refused to upgrade their system to a point where it doesn't crash when hit with a large amount of traffic. I am angry with them. This site is a great place for kids to be safe in an online environment. It is a great springboard onto the internet's more open sites. They instruct children to not use usernames that would give out personal information, and the online chatting is very controlled, unless a parents signs a waver to the more open online chat area (which I have not, so Andrew is limited to controlled area) You would have thought they learned their lesson 3 months ago and prepared for this. Apparently not.

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