Surprise Hits: Webkinz -- a toy fad with the virtual touch


One of the greatest smash hits of the decade has been one of the most mundane products of the decade. Webkinz are simply stuffed animals. What's so great about a stuffed animal?

Well, there's more to these animals than meets the eye -- and it's not because they're transforming robots from another planet. Webkinz, produced by the Ganz Corp. (more on them in a moment), are sold with attached tags bearing unique secret codes. A child receiving the Webkinz can go online, logs onto the Webkinz site, and use the code to access a virtual version of the new pet, who lives in a virtual world where kids can care for it, play games with it, take quizzes, and interact with other kids.