Former member of UK hip hop / acid jazz band Marxman, Oisin Lunny now works for Sulake’s Habbo Hotel. After a short video introduction into this mind-bogglingly immersive virtual reality world, in which you can hold parties, wear cool clothes, network, run campaigns, he went on to explain some of the functional and financial aspects of Habbo.
With 144 million registered Habbo characters (89,000 sign up every day, mostly by word of mouth), Habbo is particularly pro active in its campaigns, which include not just billboards and branded spaces / interstitials but also profile pages, branded badges, created events (for Comic Relief, for example) and more.
Oison also spoke about the importance of the Habbo Youth Survey, which gives intimate insights into the network’s users, and which are then sold on “as another separate business venture”. The research allows Habbo to find out what their teenage audience want, leading to link ups with companies like American Idol, MTV, SuperSuper and more.
In fact over 200 brands have advertised in Habbo, including Nokia and Coca Cola and the site is monetized via services like the Habbo Club, branded Furniture (called Furni), special promotions and bespoke merchandise.
Music, of course, is of prime importance. Over 400 music celebs have visited the site including Lady Gaga, Gorillaz, Ozzy Osbourne and The Veronicas, many of whom chat with users.