Zwinky: Wikis

  
  

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Zwinkies are customizable social avatars that are part of the MyWeb Searchbar on computers running Windows. A user creates a non-animated cardboard cutout-like character (a Zwinky) to represent himself or herself. When users change the appearance of their Zwinkies, all sites in which that avatar is currently displayed will update accordingly.

Zwinky is currently advertised on social networking sites such as MySpace, along with television shows and networks which target young audiences. It is owned by IAC Search and Media and launched in June 2006.

Contents

Side effects and spyware

Zwinky adds the MyWeb Searchbar to the following applications: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, AOL 9.0 Email and Browser, Becky!, IncrediMail, MSN Dial-up Service, AOL Instant Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, and Windows Live Messenger.[1]

Once Zwinky is installed, the MyWeb Searchbar runs on startup. When users attempt to visit nonexistent pages, the software redirects them to search.mywebsearch.com. MyWeb Searchbar has been included on lists of known spyware.[2] A review from McAfee SiteAdvisor of the Zwinky website states, "In our tests, this site promoted downloads that some people consider adware, spyware or other potentially unwanted programs." There are also many user review complaints about the spyware that the Zwinky website supports.[3]

Zwinky features

Zwinktopia

On April 29, 2007, "Zwinktopia" was launched. The most prominent feature is a persistent world for Zwinky avatars to inhabit. Within this world, Zwinkies can purchase dormitories to live in and decorate using items purchased with Zbucks, the currency used in the virtual world, or a Zcard, a debit card. Zbucks can be earned by visiting areas and playing games within Zwinktopia, and by inviting friends to create their own Zwinkies. Zbucks can also be added to Zcards using PayPal or a major credit card. The virtual world includes many mini-games, and many brands that would appeal to tweens and teens.

Zwinky Chat Rooms

There are various chat rooms in Zwinktopia, including: The End Zone, The Omegaaad, The Dungeon, The Abacus, Graveyard, ZSU, ZSI, Beach, Underwater, Park, Stage Z, The Colozeeum, Splash, Zarcadia, ZeePlex, Kingpin Korner, Zwinchester Mall, Lexi Hall, Bus Stop, Java Jolt, The Cafe, Heaven, Hell, and Zlux. There was a special chat room named Nim's Island in March 2008 in part with the Nim's Island Quest, and during the Winter Wonderland, a special New Year's region was available sometime in December in which Zwinksters celebrated the new year as the New Year's eve ball drop for 10 seconds at 11:59:50 pm EST on December 31 (04:59:50 UTC January 1), then the region closes down during the first few weeks of January.

Zwinchester Mall/Z-Lux Boutiques

Boutiques in the Zwinchester mall is the place Zwinkies like to shop. There are 11 boutiques in the Zwinchester Mall. The following stores are: The Castle, University Club, Like Dat, The lair, The Surf Shop, Z's Greetings, Z Avenue, Shoebuy, Rocawear, Z-Loft, and HodgePodge. There are 2 virtual fast food restruants for hangouts like Z's Burgers, Z's Pizza. There are seasonal boutiques over time for Christmas (ZaLalala (2007) /Deck The Halls (2008)/The Wishlist (2009)) , Halloween (House of Boos (2007), The Skeleton's Closet (2008), Boo-tique (2009)), and Valentine's Day (XOXO (2008), Red (2009), Valentino's (2010)). The former boutique was The Rock Vault in which it was closed in March 2009, and there was a boutique called Sears for the "Arrive" promotion.

4 zcard new boutiques arrived in Zwinktopia, in the Z-lux mall. The special boutiques are Snoop Dogg, Paris Hilton, T-Pain, and Justin Timberlake.

Events in Zwinky

Over time in Zwinky, Zwinky hosts events like Prom, Halloween Parties, Winter Wonderland, New Year's Eve festivities, Valentine's Day parties, Sears Arrive event at Lexi Hall, Zwinky's Birthday, Beach Parties, Medieval Days, and fashion shows. Starting on February 5, 2010, Zwinky launched the 2010 Winter Zlympics at the Colzeeum. This is inspired by the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics games in the real world. On February 22, 2010, Zwinky promoted Nickelodeon with the Kids' Choice awards 2010 (in which it'll air on Nickelodeon TV on March 27, 2010 at 8:00 pm EDT (00:00 UTC March 28, 2010). In Stage Z, on the right, there is the Nickelodeon VIP area. Entry is restricted to Zwinksters who added the username nickelodeon_vip to their friend's list. Once entered, Zwinksters can get the slime action, and they can click on a sign that go to a message forum. In March 2010, Lexi hall has been redesigned to promote the Project Runway game for the Nintendo Wii and for the PC running Microsoft Windows. Also on that month, 3 more gates opened at Stage Z, and in 3 rooms (excluding the VIP area), Zwinksters watch the video for the preview of the Kids' Choice awards. A few days later, Zwinksters noticed that there's an item in which Zwinksters vote for the favourite one at the Kids' Choice awards, and they get a free virtual asset item.

Misc

Zwinky also have a website in which Zwinksters check out their profile and get access to features on Zwinky, and in late 2009, Zwinky revamped the website to the Adobe Flash version to access features, games and chatrooms much easier, and to create an outfit on the webpage. Zwinksters can customize their profile as Zwinksters customize it with CSS, HTML, and Flash widgets like clocks, countdowns, music players, games, banners and more. Some Zwinksters put up banners on the top of the profile, just below the banner advertisement. Zwinky's sister website, Webfetti provides tons of layouts, widgets and graphics for the Zwinky profile, among others.

Zwinky Cuties

In September 2008 IAC launched another Zwinky site called Zwinky Cuties. Zwinky Cuties targets girls ages 6 and up. The site operates like Zwinkies, but controls user chat by only allowing communication through a set of pre-approved words and phrases.[4]

Facebook connect

In September 2009, Zwinky allowed users to login and access other functionality using Facebook Connect. This feature connects his/her Zwinky account to his/her Facebook account in which Zwinkies post their Zwinky avatar to the Facebook wall, and to recruit their Facebook friends to join Zwinky. Zwinkies also check their friends' list to see if they're connected with Facebook.

Artists

These artists and bands have a featured profile in Zwinky.

Movie promotions

Zwinky has also promoted some movies at the Zeeplex Movie Theater in Zwinktopia. These movie promotion activities however were only available while the movies were still shown in theaters or available for DVD purchases. The movies shown on Zeeplex were Nim's Island, Hotels for Dogs, OMG Lilac PSP, Space Chimps, and just recently, Alice in Wonderland

References

External links








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