GLENDALE -- In Doug Dohring's world, virtual pet owners select from
more than 40 different species and attach their own names and
They navigate their way through a mythical world called Neopia, and
earn NeoPoints by participating in games and contests. With their virtual
currency they buy pet food and open up their own shops in the Neopian
But the reality is that Dohring, an Internet-saavy Glendale
businessman who acquired NeoPets.com from a couple of British college
students less than two years ago, has turned the youth-oriented Web site
into an Internet juggernaut.
"It's actually grown a little faster than we expected," Dohring said
Monday from his office in Glendale, where NeoPets.com is based. "But we
fully expected it to be a large, global youth community."
In fact, NeoPets captured the top ranking for the amount of time
viewers spent logged on according to Nielsen//NetRatings, which measures
Internet audience behavior.
For the week ending June 17, more than 584,000 visitors spent an
average of more than 1.5 hours viewing the site from their home.
"There is no site that really compares with us," Dohring said. "There
are other youth sites, but they don't even come close in terms of overall
The 14-month-old company has 11.5 million members worldwide, and
registers new members at the rate of 40,000 per day. That's compared to
6,000 per day in April 2000. On June 16 of this year, NeoPets registered
70,000 new members.
"This is going through the roof," said Dohring, 43, who owns and
operates an automotive research firm.
In April, Dohring signed an agreement with a company in Singapore to
develop Asian language NeoPets sites.
VIRTUAL PET STORE
* WHAT: NeoPets.com, an interactive community of virtual pet owners.
* SIZE: 11.5 million members worldwide.
* LOCATION: NeoPets is based in Glendale at 412 W. Broadway.
* EMPLOYEES: 65.
* OWNER: Glendale resident Doug Dohring.
* WEB SITE: www.NeoPets.com.