A Brief History of Neopets

While you probably remember Neopets from your time in junior high or high school, Neopets is still a thriving — and growing — online enterprise. As we noted in a previous blog, even supermodel Chrissy Teigen is an avid fan of Neopets! In today’s post, we’ll provide you with a short lesson about the history of Neopets.

If you’re looking for high-quality Neopets merch, then head over to Overpowered and shop our selection of Neopets pins and keychains! We also have a great selection of eSports clothing and merchandise that will make the perfect addition to your summer convention wardrobe. Read on to learn about the history of Neopets!

In case you’re out of the loop, Neopets was, and still is, a thriving online community dedicated to providing users a space in which they can raise and care for virtual pets. Just like regular pets, Neopets need to be regularly cared for, fed, and played with in order to maintain their health (although, unlike real pets, Neopets only become sad if you’re too busy to log on and feed them).

The Neopets website was created in 1999 by Adam Powell and Donna Williams, both of whom played a major role in developing and coding the site’s original features. The site quickly gained popularity after its initial launch, boasting more than 600,000 daily active users by the end of 1999. While the original intention of the website was to provide college students with a fun outlet to turn to in times of academic stress, Powell and Williams hoped to make a bit of money selling advertisement banners on the site. Seeing the massive advertising potential from the quickly growing user base, the enterprise was funded and subsequently controlled by several outside investors within two years.

While most of us are familiar with in-app advertising and “immersive advertising,” or advertising that is actually part of the application or game you’re playing, these were revolutionary marketing tactics deployed by the creators of Neopets. Neopets began to produce premium content for paying users in 2004, creating a massive source of revenue for the company to put toward further developments in the game. Neopets was consistently praised for creating educational content and a space in which children could learn to care for pets and even build their own HTML web pages. 

Neopets was purchased by Viacom in 2005, and this was perhaps the move that vaulted Neopets into the international spotlight. Viacom had the resources to promote Neopets through children’s channels such as Nickelodeon™, and they even created a way for users to buy in-game items using real-world money. Needless to say, the accessibility and popularity of Neopets skyrocketed after this acquisition. In fact, in June 2011, the Neopets website boasted 1 trillion page views since its inception!

Stay tuned for future posts in which we’ll continue to explore the interesting history of Neopets. If you’re looking for fun Neopets merch, then head over to Overpowered’s online store! We have a great selection of Neopets pins and Neopets keychains which make the perfect addition to backpacks, purses, laptop bags, and more!