Are Virtual Gifts Worth It?
By MARTHA IRVINE
CHICAGO (AP) — You don't wrap these presents in a box. You can't wear them, play with them or show them off, at least not in the real world.
Even so, virtual gifts — computer-generated items given and displayed online — are quickly becoming must-haves. And increasingly, people are willing to pay cold, hard, real-life cash to purchase them for friends, family and co-workers.
"For the person who gets the gift, it is like a badge of honor," says Dave Coffey, who tracks online trends for Sapient, a Florida-based marketing company.
Coffey's gotten into the act himself, buying a few $1 gifts on Facebook, a social networking Web site. He purchased a pair of virtual shoes for his wife for her birthday, a can of "whoop-ass" for a friend who got a new job, and a virtual beer to pay a bet he lost to his boss.
They are nothing more than cutesy icons posted in a "gifts" section on a person's profile page, the smiley faces of the 21st century. And like that 1970s icon, they have mass appeal. the rest image