The host of BarbieGirls.com
To reclaim marketshare lost to MGA's Bratz, Mattel Inc. reached into the digital frontier. Reuters reported that on Tuesday Mattel lau
nched a beta version of BarbieGirls.com, a virtual community for the shoppers, spa-guests and pet-adopters of tomorrow.
BarbieGirls.com is an online community hosted by an animated Barbie in an all-pink environment. New users can build an avatar, then interact with the community at virtual malls, parlors and pet stores.
Recent years have seen a waning interest in the traditional Barbie doll. Last Monday U.S. sales declined 21 percent, abruptly ending a four-quarter streak of nationwide increases.
Meanwhile shelf space for Bratz, a multi-ethnic series of dolls with come-hither expressions, improbable proportions and trendy accessories, has only expanded.
But Mattel is optimistic about BarbieGirl's success on the market. Reyne Rice, a toy trends expert at the Toy Industry Association, said the site is 'right on target with what girls are looking for.' She expressed confidence in that it will 'definitely be a catalyst in winning girls back.'
Barbie.com, an older website Mattel lau
nched in 2000, currently receives 65 million visitors per month.