Hmmm: Rocketon

RocketOn is a San Francisco based startup is making a 2D virtual world you can access across any site through an embeddable widget. They also just raised $5 million from the D. E. Shaw group’s venture capital unit, bringing total investment up to $5.8 million.

In its alpha state, this virtual world is simply a chat widget with some avatars you can walk around the screen with the click of a mouse. You can chat in real time with other people on the network and walk into a variety of themed worlds (chat rooms) with different features. It’s also obviously targeted toward kids, with its fuzzy-looking avatars and chat profanity blocker.

The more complex functionality includes friending, profiles, fame, and items. Each world has an object or character you can interact with (dancing stones, little monster, arcade games). Although, you can unlock more worlds and features by inviting more users.

However, their widget strategy strikes me as odd because it flies in the face of the safety centered walled gardens other kid oriented sites have built to keep kids safe (Club Penguin, Webkinz, and others).

RocketOn Gets $5 M For Embeddable Virtual Kids World

I totally get why this is a great idea– as peeps like Flip.com & other web environments switch over to social network widgets. 

But, forgive me, but I worry.  I’m a worrier. 

Let’s just hope:
1. They realize that profanity blockers don’t really stop kids from sharing private information such as phone numbers, email addresses, last names, IM usernames, school names, towns, etc….
2. They make a solid effort of developing it for places like Imbee, Yomod, or even kid-phone service Kajeet…

3. They have some sort of process to stop cyberbullying.

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  1. February 12, 2008 at 7:40 pm

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