Neopets, Viacom, & Social Software

I’m fascinated by Viacom’s decision to buy Neopets, the wildly popular online synthesis of Pokemon and Sim City. And I’m equally fascinated by how few people are seemingly paying attention. Here we have one of the most successful pieces of social software ever, so successful that it is being purchased by a major media company for $160-million, and the story is getting remarkably little play in social software circles.
Why is the acquisition interesting? Well …

  • Neopets has grown from 90,000 subscribers in 2000 to more than 25-million today

  • The social software company has eight-figure revenue and is cash-flow positive
  • It has taken no venture money, and no professional outside capital of any kind that I’m aware of
  • It is one of the fastest-growing sites on the web, and is consistently among the 10 stickiest sites in the world (according to Nielsen/Netratings)

And yet, no-one seemingly cares that this wildly successful non-venture-backed social software company is being bought for a nice chunk of change by Viacom. It is worth paying attention to — something important been proven here, and folks in social software should be noticing.


  1. DIY Virtual pet site, gets bought…

    Wow, MTV bought Neopets for $160 million dollars- this is a site where kids (generally) make their own virtual…

  2. MTV/Viacom buys NeoPets

    I actually didn’t find out about this Tuesday, 160 million dollar deal until I saw the usual suspects blogging about it yesterday. Little rants and raves come from guys like a venture capitalist (here) and blogs that copy said VC’s…

  3. Any idea what the revenue was, referring to your comment “The social software company has eight-figure revenue and is cash-flow positive”