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Member Interviews Webkinz Insider Owners

Earlier today, our attention was drawn to a thread in our forum created by RamsesII, where he asked the owners of WI many questions that we've heard before, and others that we hadn't.  Wendy and I had a great time answering them and figured we'd post an article so the community-at-large could find the answers easier! His thread can be found here, with answers from the staff, as well. It begins:

I am sure you have read my MANY threads about what I want, what I want to see and what I see wrong on ww, so you know how passionate I am about my interests. Well, Thanks to all the wonderful things you have done for us on this site, and all the people you have nominated as Admins (Kudos to them too!) I want to know the story... OK, So far I have gathered that Kevin and Justin pretty much started the site, Kevin had other things to take care of and Justin Kinda took on more of the site and Wendy (Kevin's better/best? half) took over his slot. Bet some of you thought Justin and Wendy were a couple didn't you? Admit it... So what is the rest of the story about ? Inquiring minds want to know.

[... Read More for Interview ...]

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How did the idea get started? Who initiated the whole project?

Justin: Well, first, you have to learn how Kevin and I got to know each other. Both of us were looking for a Playstation 3 in October before it came out and we posted on a message board and decided that working together to help each other out would be the best way to get our hands on the "holy grail" of that Christmas. And it worked!

After that, we kept in touch, and Kevin and I heard about Webkinz and bought one for each of our significant others for Valentine's Day. Kevin bought a Webkinz Leopard (Spots) and I bought a Webkinz Golden Retriever (Kopi) to match my real life Golden (NOTE: Kevin and Wendy do not have a Leopard in real life! )

My fiancee is in medical school, so she just put the plush on her desk and looked at it, but I registered it and Kevin registered his and, naturally, we were very impressed with Webkinz World and how comprehensive it was. At that time, Webkinz were hard to get and Kevin and I thought that, with our success at finding the Playstations, we might start a site helping people find Webkinz.

After starting that way (we were thinking of using, Wendy came up with the more brilliant idea of a site to bring Webkinz fans together and help find all the secrets to Webkinz World, and Justin came up with the name "WebkinzInsider.Com".

When did the work start?

Justin: I think it was a few weeks after Valentine's Day. I'd have to look back at that IM logs between Kevin and I, but I would say just at the end of February.

What day was it finally up?

Justin: March 23, 2007. A day for the history books! It's been a wild ride over the last nine months and we are very thrilled with the growth of the site and the community as a whole.

How long before you got the Gift Exchange working?

Justin: Ahhhh... Well, I must give credit where credit is due. You see the "Fair Gift Exchange Policies" thread? See the creator? Yep! MissyK is the genius behind the Gift Exchange which came into creation in late April 2007. It was her creative ideas and experience in trading that shaped the Gift Exchange and all of us at WI are forever in her debt.

WI actually started with "The Marketplace", as Kevin and I had no idea about a "trading community", so we thought that the "Marketplace" would be a good place for people to buy and sell actual plushes. Within a week, we realized that it was going to end up being a "virtual trading marketplace", but had no idea what we were doing.

There were quite a few scams right off the bat! There were no entrance requirements, and any member could just jump in and start trading. As we all know, there are some "not so honest" people out there and it was rough. Then came MissyK with her brilliant rules and guidelines for the Gift Exchange, which, under MommaB's guidance, has put WI into the forefront as the safest site for trading in Webkinz World. We've changed the entrance and Gift Guru requirements many times over as we've grown!

What and just how many Webbies do you and your families have?

Justin: Over time, I have accumulated many, many Webkinz, as I'm sure all of you have as well. I also have a great deal of unactivated Webkinz that I use for giveaways and contests. Unfortunately, I never tell how many Webkinz I have. I always tell my first Webkinz, Kopi, the Golden Retriever, but the rest are secrets.

Wendy: You've heard about Spots the Leopard and he remains my favorite Webkinz of choice. I have also accumulated quite a collection over the last year. I'm not nearly as secretive as Justin though, and I will admit to having 56 activated Webkinz in the household at the moment. Like Justin, I maintain a stash of unactivated Webkinz for future use in WI giveaways.

What are the monthly costs to keep it running?

Justin & Wendy: Well, as of tomorrow or Wednesday, WI will be run by two servers, as
we've outgrown a single server and need two fully-dedicated servers to support the load. Hopefully, the second server will help keep WI running fast under the load for quite some time. We get over 300,000 unique visitors per month, and about 1 million hits per day. Our front end webserver costs us $449.00/mo and the new database server that was just provisioned costs us $699.00/mo. There are also the giveaway costs and attorney's fees, software licensing fees, etc, which vary from month to month.

<--- How much do these silly advetisements actually bring in?

Justin & Wendy: Not as much as you would expect. We're always exploring creative ways to fund the site, and more recently, new server we've added.

Do you still love me even though I ask a lot of questions?

Justin & Wendy: Of course, these are great questions!

What does your Webkinz house look like?

Justin: Honestly? It's a mess! I can barely walk through it because I don't have much time for decorating in WW and I had to get all the stuff out of my dock when they imposed the dock limits and I still haven't had a chance to add rooms and organize and decorate!

Wendy: Mine definitely looks better than Justin's! I've always intended to post a house thread in the Housez section but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Perhaps you've given me the inspiration now.

What does your collection need to be complete?

Justin: Well, I'm sure like many, I don't have a Cheeky Cat or Dog, but I'll never say how many, or which ones I need to be "complete", other than those.

Wendy: He's just so mysterious, isn't he? As for me, I am missing the Cheeky Dog & Cat, some of the Cats and Dogs and some of the newer styles. I don't really strive to own every style - I buy the ones that I think are neat or have pet specific items that I want. (Yes Ganz, I voted for the PSI in your survey today.)

What is your FAVORITE Webkinz? Wendy and Kevin... I know Justin's
reply to anything about his Webkinz -->

Justin: KOPI!!!!!!!!!

Wendy: As I mentioned earlier, I am partial to the Leopard since that was my first Webkinz and the one that started this grand adventure. I think the Love Puppy is the "cutest" Webkinz though.

Who is your favorite fan? (I'll give you a hint...)

Justin & Wendy: Hmmm... let's see, does the hint have to do with the avatar of the orange cat, raising its hand, saying "Pick me! Pick ME!!!"? No?! Well, then we love you all! We also want to add a shout out to all of the Moderators and Administrators who have done such a fantastic job here. WI certainly wouldn't be what it is today without them and all of our wonderful community members!

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