Friday, 27 August 2010

Stardoll Review: 100% Engagement

About Stardoll

Stardoll is the worlds largest virtual entertainment and social gaming site for teenagers that provides a fun approach to those interested in fame, fashion and making friends.

A browser-based community site, designed specifically for girls (although boys are welcomed), with a strong focus on self expression through fantasy & fashion play. Upon registering (for free) you receive a virtual home ('the suite'), which you can decorate at your leisure. Depending on your Stardoll status (you can upgrade at cost to Stardoll SuperStar) and budget (Stardollars / Virtual points) there is a wide range of clothes, makeup accessories, interior design features and dolls to choose from.

When members move through the site you are made aware of the benefits of becoming a paid for member. Some clothes and interactive features are for 'Superstar' members only,
and these premium members can then further customize their own fashions and sell them for virtual currency. I have found that without 'Superstar status' you can still have a great onsite experience, as you receive a reasonable amount of Stardollars on sign up, you can also earn currency through game play. With 'Play & Earn' you can receive up to 5 Stardollars per day and 70 Stardollars per month.

Stardoll is not over pushy about upgrades, as you play on Stardoll learn more about navigating the site then membership to SuperStar status is a motivational progression rather than something that is obligatory.

Stardoll = Interactivity, Design, Community and Brand Engagement

Stardolls can interact with their own virtual Stardoll and dress up their Stardoll in the designed suites (designed by members) filled with virtual brand attire. Members can try lots of different looks and styles on there dolls and celeb dolls allowing for personal expression & creativity. There is even the opportunity to create your own fashions, using a very interactive design room feature complete with sewing machine ('I love this feature").

Talking to the Commercial Director at Stardoll, at one point Stardoll was "delivering more traffic to DKNY than Google" ! pretty impressive stat. We (Rocktime) have seen equally impressive stats after introducing Stardoll to Simple last year. All really positive and well worth the investment.

The design of the site is really colorful and engaging. I am constantly impressed with the graphics within Stardoll, it is a very immersive and fun place to be. I will provide a more comprehensive review below.

The Statistics

The latest membership statistics have shown that the average age of users has increased from 13yrs old in 2009 to 15yrs old in 2010 and memberships levels are growing at an impressive rate.

  • Registered users have doubled in 1 year from 35 to 68.7 million.

  • Average time on the site has increased from 13 minutes to 17 minutes.

Safety & Security

Parental advice is promoted within the help area, providing a vast amount of information, useful weblinks and puts onus of the parents to talk to their children on internet safety. The site can easily be navigated by savvy web teens, younger children may need more guidance to help them find their way around the links.

My Stardoll Review

First and foremost delivers and targets the youth market well. There’s lots of room for engagement for brands, due to the technical and design expertise of the Stardoll team. The Stardoll team are also full of creative ideas too, I have a number of video presentations from Stardoll and can let you know they are very convincing indeed (re: getting you to sign up).

Advertising Opportunities

There are several advertising opportunities for brands on the Stardoll site, the site is great at being non advert heavy and rather than delivering adverts they look for brands to provide content and engagement.

For example Simple have their own Stardoll Club and are the proud sponsors of the engaging Stardoll TV, in which a member of their Junior Board of Skincare Advisors is now one of the Stardoll TV stars. The benefit Simple gain from being out there on Stardoll is, engagement with the Teens, which helps them to softly promote their new Teen Simple range of Skincare products.

Experts in their field

In my opinion Stardoll really do have a great opportunity to be an experts in the field of fashion, fame and trends amongst Teens. They are providing the right amount of content, good range of brands and allow their members to develop relationships, share experiences (blog, albums, suites) and provide benefits with creative competitions on & off the site. The competitions / contests promote engagement with Stardoll & other brands.

New site design July 2010

In July 2010 Stardoll launched with a new site design, allowing for easier navigation, promotion of community aspect & provision of more integrated share features linking in with Facebook & Twitter. Stardoll have also launched a Stardoll Blog, which is a very positive move as I have noted (client research) that several Stardoll Fans regularly blog about their Stardoll experiences (all positive)- now Stardolls can have their own blog from within Stardoll that other members can view. This is positive also for parents that which to monitor website activity.

Standard Interactivity Available

* Create your own Stardoll
* Shop clothes for your Stardoll
* Give your doll a makeover
* Design your suite

* Save your dolls, styles and several free celebrity dolls in album
* Join Clubs
* Take part in Stardoll Contests - "Be the Stardoll CoverGirl"
* Rate the best Stardolls, Albums etc
* Learn about Fashion and the latest trends
* Engage with the Stardoll Blog & Social Networks

Level of Skill Required

Some of the suites/rooms designed by Stardolls are amazing & really really creative..great use of colour, with objects re-sized to create depth. As a member I have a lot to learn, which is great as being inspired by others (even if 20yrs younger than me) provides great escapism. With the new design, tutorials on how to use certain features have been introduced, which is a positive move for the younger Stardoll members & possibly their parents. I like the fact that you can now clearly see which other Stardoll members have last viewed your Stardoll Suite, which allows for further engagement as you then go and find out more about them; their Stardoll Suite, their Blog etc.

Things I am fond of with new design

With the new site design, I am really pleased to see that Stardoll has also now entered the blogosphere (on Wordpress) here at the, sharing unique sneak previews, shopping tips and Stardoll gossip.

The new design has not only provided aesthetic benefits, improved navigation & usability it is also promoted a much stronger community feel, this is backed up by the “Play & Earn” feature. I am especially fond of the new way to navigate around the suite (big arrows moving you left or right), as I used to struggle with this. Oh and I am loving Stardoll TV too.

Navigation Feedback: For increased usability I do think that the navigation arrows could come below the suite, as I just spent a couple of minutes trying to put a pair of shoes in the storage wardrobe (my shoes were placed near the arrows). You will have to engage with the site to find out what I mean.


In my opinion this is a great site for children to express their creativity and learn about personal expression. Very engaging site, easy to navigate with the ability to provide hours of fun. Stardoll provides a great avenue for brands wishing to engage with the Teen Market, this is backed up with proven results for one of my clients.
The type of experience provided by desintations like Stardoll could very well become an integral part of the Web 3.0 era. Other sites that cater to children include: Club Penguin, Barbie Girls, Habbo Hotel

Warning: The site isn’t just for kids, it is great for escapism for adults too, I love it, and visit back to tidy up my Suite quite regularly ;) Got to go now as just noticed, they have a 50% sale on for Superstars ♥ ♥.

Any questions on Stardoll let me know, would love to know what you think of Stardoll too...thanks

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Forget A-Level results, go for an A+ on Twitter

It was sent to me !! I didn't do it...but pleased to get an A+, well done me.

I have become slightly Twitter obsessed of late, so no surprises, that I scored highly. I would share the URL of Tweet Grade, but I can't find it!

I ran a search on 'twitter grading' & 'tweet grade' on Google, there are soo many tools out there, that have been around for quite some time too (2 yrs).

Personally I don't use sites like these to help me make my decision on who to follow, I go by recommendation and interesting retweets. It is a sad state of affairs if you go out there and Twitter grade everyone you are thinking of following isn't it. Be impulsive & run with it, you will soon get to know who the connectors are. Personally I think, it is rather nice though to get a nice certificate to say "Good tweeting".

Several of the social monitoring tools now present influence scores of 'online social connectors', I can't say I find them that reliable, as just because some one tweets a lot or posts X amount of blog posts, doesn't really equal that they will be a good influencer for your brand. Others may disagree. I do stand quite firm on the stance that you need to engage and understand the social individual, by reviewing their posts, tone of voice, tweets & online personality before you can make a decision to say "Yep, connect with them".

Influence grade review done !

Loving the Tweetle Idea

Found out this morning via Richard Darells Bit Rebels Blog Post about the Tweetle, read his post here: “The Tweetle - Will Tweet you when your water boils

Loving the idea generation process & concept behind the Tweetle, read it over at the creators blog here.

Especially like this line:

“During the 40 minute wait for the creation of 3 drinks and a shot, we began a conversation about how we could make some Google-style moneyz, or at least enough to buy a boat and a few steak dinners”

Tweetle will in it's basic form Tweet you when the Kettle has boiled, & tweet others in the office that maybe they should stand up and get on tea making duty.


I really should of been out having a drink with these guys, they are super keen to exploit the trends while they have a chance, that is the exact way I feel at the moment. Alas no funding, or time come to think of it...

They started looking into how real time media will start to contribute to our real “life streams” more and more.

Only the other day I was thinking how handy it would be if Twitter could let me know (“when asked”), if my hair straightner is off, iron off, back door locked..

This would send tweets letting others know about my slight 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder' (OSD) habits, but would be great PR for the service.

As I have a geek multitasking mind, I have often thought how I would love a little birdie to sit on my desk at work and tweet out on an LCD screen things that are going on. This may already be available but I haven’t found it yet.

Anyway enough about me and what I want, head over to the guys who are creating the Tweetle Blog. They are looking to raise funding from interested individuals by using KickStarter (Crowdsourced Funding):

“The KickStarter site offers an online platform for anyone to raise funding from interested individuals. You keep 100% ownership of your project and idea”
I wish the designers Ben Perman and Murat Mutlu from MobileInc all the best with funding & further scoping and I will be watching the developments with personal interest and a little bit of jealousy ;)

Exciting times ! !

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Who's this guy? and Why did I bookmark him?

This is a random blog post, after a random discovery of the above happy guy in my Apple Mac bookmarks , the jpg names him as Mark Bramwell. Thought to add him here, then if he Googles himself, well...he can introduce himself, can't he.

I am currently not winning sorting out my Delicious bookmarks, the reason being is that I must bookmark about 7 posts, a day ! I am addicted ! Plus I have been using for the last month, which easily bookmarks the links you tweet out, along with URLs that are in @mentions to you (optional). I recommend linking to your Twitter, although alas I haven't been using it correctly.

Found this out when introducing to another tweeter, I then noticed that if you include a #hashtag in your tweet outs, then it will add the #hashtag as the bookmark tag. Amazing ! Wish I had noticed that BIG BENifit my bookmark account is (again!) in need of some tagging attention.

First step tonight is removing my Apple Mac bookmarks that I never use and as the above picture denotes are pretty random ;)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Social Media in NOT A FAD - Great video

I really love this video, great choice of track too "Right here, Right now" by Fatboy Slim. The video has been produced to help support the book launch "Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman (Published August 2009). Find out more about Erik here on his Twitter page and if the video has already convinced you, buy the book from Amazon here, the book has made its way to my Amazon wish list for sure.

As I attempt to build up my video editing skills, I want to produce something in a similar style with a UK focus, as the way this has been put together really strikes a cord. Well done Erik and thank you for being an inspiration.