The complete lowdown on Zwinky

ZwinkyI previously wrote about Zwinky, a relatively new online game aimed at the young teen market. That was back when it first came out, when the obnoxious advertisements (with the nonetheless strangely infectious music and bizarrely cute characters) first started airing on television. Judging by all of the hits on my blog from people searching for Zwinky since then, it’s become very popular, so it’s worth a revisit.

Your first question is probably going to be: What is Zwinky? That’s a fair question; the ads didn’t do a very good job of explaining it. Zwinky is a light online game, not unlike Neopets or RuneScape. But here’s the rub: to play Zwinky, you need to install a browser plugin called MyWebSearch. And that’s when the bad things start happening. The MyWebSearch plugin gets into everything: Internet Explorer, Outlook, Firefox, AOL Instant Messenger, and a whole host of other browsing, maill, and chatting programs.

Zwinky was designed primarily as delivery platform for advertisements and the MyWebSearch browser, which has been classified by some as malware (meaning it is detrimental software that you shouldn’t ever choose to install) and spyware (meaning it violates your privacy by reporting your surfing habits back to the company). It hijacks bad DNS requests (if you type in a domain name that doesn’t exist, it’ll take you to an ad-laden portal instead of the usual site not found message). It also gives you lots of ads. It’s not something you’d ever want, but if you want to play Zwinky, you have to install it.

So, is Zwinky worth it? All of the gameplay in Zwinky takes place in a persistent online world called “Zwinktopia”. That means that everything you do and collect in it stays the same across different play sessions (unlike, say, Tetris). The player has Zwinky avatars (also known as characters) that inhabit the virtual world. The player can play arcade games to earn “Zbucks”, which the player can then use to buy new clothing and upgrades for their character’s dorm room. If this kind of stuff appeals to you, you might enjoy playing Zwinky — which the huge caveat of the MyWebSearch toolbar it installs.

And Zwinky does seem to appeal to lots of people. According to recent statistics, Zwinky has more unique monthy visitors than its two nearest competitors, Gaia Online and Habbo hotel, combined. So even though it’s relatively new on the scene, it’s a huge success. Lots of young teens are playing it.

One more thing to consider about Zwinky: it is owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, a company you might better know as the owners of Ask.com and Excite.com. So there is some serious muscle behind Zwinky. It’s not just the product of a one-hit wonder game company. So they are in a good position to leverage Zwinky’s popularity through the use of their toolbar. And thus, no matter how much I advocate against installing Zwinky due to its bad toolbar, there are still going to be many, many young teens out there eagerly signing up, most likely because their friends are playing as well. Ahh, there’s nothing quite like marketing to kids.

31 Responses to “The complete lowdown on Zwinky”

  1. Get Zwinky! (Or not) | Cyde Weys Musings Says:

    […] Update December 3, 2007: See my more recent post on Zwinky. […]

  2. beagle_girk Says:

    i want the cheat 4 unlockin clothes

  3. asfour Says:

    salut a tous

  4. ashlynne Says:

    apirl the 19 2008 at 4:36

  5. Lucy Says:

    Totally agree with you, Zwinky sucks tried to download it and my virus protection warned me it was a virus so I did some research on it. Decide not to load it. If it’s going to mess with my computer not worth it.

  6. steven Says:

    i love zwinky it is a very cooool online game

  7. janiqualeatoriatimsj Says:

    i like zwinky

  8. janiqualeatoriatimsj Says:

    i like this zwinky program

  9. cascada Says:

    iwant too play zwinky pleas harry up iwant play it now wawawa and im cry now wawawa pleas help me and but it for me

    what you whant from me

  10. meme Says:

    hay how can i do zwinky

    thenk you

  11. sandy gerges Says:

    hi

  12. natalia-chan1500 Says:

    zwinky sucks as shit! it gets viruses and u got locked clothes really bored game!!! and all yer is same clothes u cant create ur style clothes! theres is no punk clothes or emo or something else!!! no tattos u need a card to buy things!!! fuck the zwinky!!!!! zwinky sucks as hell shit!!!

  13. natalia-chan1500 Says:

    and i forgot to say! on zwinky are little brat children!!!

  14. Emma Says:

    Ruined me old comp seriously luckily i was getting a laptop but NEVA DOWNLOAD it sure its fun but not worth messin up ur comp or laptop whteva.

  15. -The_Unknown_One- Says:

    You know you said…teens? Half the kids on there are like 6 and find it difficult to spell ‘Hi.’ I have an account, and don’t get me wrong, its very useful when your seriously bored, but sometimes i wonder if its worth it. Zwinky seems to be so slow you can’t even walk half the time. (Well you can’t anyways…you just slide -.-“) And sometimes I notice the characters go all fuzzy and weird, and I’ve just got a new top-of-the-range computer. Not many people can actually play Zwinky, because I wanted to do a test to see if it was just my computer playing up again. My friend tried to create an account, and he couldn’t make it because it wasn’t ‘safe for him to use.’ Another thing? Zwinky per-lease! Stop those irritating little brats spamming up the chat and asking for a dates! It’s so annoying! And the Z Card spamming. I know they need to make a profit somehow, but at least ban the sentence ‘Do you have a Z Card?’ It would make life so much easier! And whats up with the chat filter thing? I typed ‘Beginning’ and my account is now banned and i’ve got a warning saying if i use bad language my account will get suspended. I am just another citizen from Zwinktopia who is kind of disturbed and actually a little bit tired =/ And btw, Habbo and Gaia are boring x.x (Zzzzzzzzzzzz) No offence to anyone who plays it but I had an account on both. Never went on it again. And half the people who ARE on it are from Zwinky anyways. I am just a very, tired girl who is getting sort of fed up (Tip-It may be Zwinky that slows down your computers. I had one, it was extremely slow, crashed. I had another one, it was extremely slow, crashed. I used an un-wanted one, it was extremely slow, crashed. Another, extremely slow, crashed! And the only thing that i had on those computers were Zwinky and possibly Habbo, Gaia, or Club Penguin. I’ve realised that MY computer is getting kind of slowish now, so I’m seriously considering deleting my account and having nothing to do with Zwinky whatsoever. I think I’m gonna go get some hot chocolate and watch T.V. =)

  16. -The_Unknown_One- Says:

    Oh yeah…and I think Zwinky do WAAAAAAAAAAAY too many adverts. You can’t go anywhere online without seeing that damn Zwinky advert everywhere. Trust me. Go to 20 diffrent online-game websites max. You’d probably see at least ONE of those stupid things there. If not today try 20 tomorrow. Im sure that you’ll find an advert where you least expect it and least want it.
    -The_Unknown_One-

  17. totallyjade Says:

    i luv zwinky so mch bt i wish thy wldnt giv ppl mi email i gt lyk 360 emails a day frm ppls askin mi 2 b their friend its nt fair i dnt rlly thnk they kno ur actual email bt its styll anoyin 4 mi cuz i gt emails all the tyme n it goes into mi inbox i dnt mind if its in the junk mail thts rlly fine bt otherwise i dnt thnk its fair tht i hav 2 go throu all this crp jst cuz of zwnky sayin they’ll gimme an email y cnt they jst say they’ll put it undr pending requests or whtevr its mch bettr does ny1 agree? nd i wish they got rid of zcards u hav 2 use ur real money jst 2 get 1 well tht was my oponion ty 4 reedin this x
    ~x jade x~

  18. Ci4r4d4hb1shhhy0160 Says:

    d0nt g3t zw1nk1 1ts s0 n0t w0rth 1t 1 us3d t0 pl4y 1t 4nd 1t cr4sh3d m1 c0mput3r 4nd m1 fr13nd h4d a zc4rd 4nd s0m3 s1ck m1nd3d ch1c s41d sh3 w0uld g1v3 h1m 4 zc4rd w1th 900000 0n 1t 0r s0m3t1n l1k d4t f0r fr33 h3 s41d 0k 4nd sh3 4sk3d f0r h1s p4ss 4nd h3 s41d n0 but sh3 s41d h3r d4d w0rk3d f0r zw1nk1 4nd th4t sh3 w0uldnt n1k h1s 4k0nt but sh3 d1d 4nd n0w h3 d03snt pl4y 1t 4n1m0r3 h3 s41d h3 h4d 3n0ugh 0f 4ll th3 cr4pp th4t g03s 0n th3r3 l1k3 d3m cr41z1 b1sh3zz wh0 t1nk d3y h0tt s0 n0w h3 d0nt pl4y t4nkzz f0r n0tt1n zw1nk1 1 h4t3 u
    >c14r4<

  19. david Says:

    zwinky is very goodddd game

  20. bamitsellie Says:

    I kinda agree with you, but I do like zwinky. Im now addicted to it. I used to play habbo, but after 1 year of playing and a total purchase of 1000 credits, I guess I got bored.

    I understand that many people have problems with the download, but mine downloaded fine and I enjoy my free cursors, webfetti and smileys. Most people complain about zcards. You can get good clothes without one, but zwinky users use you for your zcard. There are alot of little brats out there on zwinky, going round insulting people because they “stood on them”. This even happens when your stood talking, someone will come over and stand on top of your zwinky and then start asking you to get off them. And theres all there DESPERATE girls on there too. And I mean DESPERATE! They walk round in coloured bras and knickers saying “ANY FIT LADS?” I mean, comon girls!

    But, no matter what site you go on, there are always idiots, chavs, desperate girls, ect. But the worst are “babys”. I hated them on habbo to. I dont know what it is about them, the fact they put “w” in every word, the fact they are golddiggers or the fact they look aweful overdone in pink with massive bug eyes.

    Mabye one day, all sites like habbo, Zwinky and even club penguin (yes, there still is dating, chavs and babys on a site made for people 5 and over) will one day get rid of these people.Probably wont happen, but imagen how much better they would be then? No more zwinky boyfriends, no more habbo babies and no more club penguin membership showoffs. Ahhh, that would be great…

  21. A Bored Thing Says:

    I am a girl
    I have two two zwinky accounts-reason? I wanted to do an experiment on genders. My female accounts got me a few friends, mostly grls, who dress modestly compared to the others ones. My male character got a LOT of attention. These girls are so ready to completly trust a “guy” the just met, and have know idea of the type of person they are. went to the park, whch is one one the most crowded places n Zwnktopia, and in the course of 7 minutes, 4 grls, all scantily dressed came up to me, and started fighting over whch one saw me first. My only response, ” am not what you think I am.” These girls are so aggresive. On my girl account, I went to a fashion show, held at a person’s dorm room. I opened my wardrobe to change, and for some reason, my avatar moved. It ended up on top of a grl. I had no dea until I closed my wardrobe. “Get the fhuck offa me!” was her frst reply. “Sorry, ddn’t mean to!” I type. “You lezz.”she wrote back. CATTY much? I witnessed at least 2 fights a day on Zwinky, over a guy, or being stood on. IT”S JUST A GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. akanapolean Says:

    I’ve tried zwinky several times. I didn’t like it at all. It put a whole bunch of viruses and worms on my computer. Same goes for the free cursors thing and the smilies.

  23. love-zwinky-hate-its-requirments- Says:

    i LOVE zwinky but tlly hate all da shet it makes me do 4 it. i recently bot a zcrd for 25 DOLLARDS!!!!!!!!! ONLY GOT 5000 ON MII ZCARD!!!! >.< so, i hav an account and hav a guy in mii wardrobe. i wear dat around da “park” all the time and all grrlz r like (I AM A GRRL) 555 for me!!! “hey boy wanna say 555?” they say OMFG!!!!! WEIRDOS ON ZWINKY!! but its ADDICTING!!!! WHO AGREES??? ppl r like zcardz,,,,free gimme ur pass!!! YEA RITE U HACKERZ!!!!!!!!!! so.. u wanna c wat my charatcter looks like??? go to youtube and type in “me and my friend on zwinky by bratzgal2009” ill b rocker1213 super_girl is my friend/sis. check it out!
    peace,love,rock

  24. love-zwinky-hate-its-requirments- Says:

    2 MAKE IT CLEARER ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ “GIRLS SAY 555 FOR ME, HEY BOY WANNA SAY 555? I SAY LOL YEA RITE I CHANGE INTO WARDROBE AND THEIR ALL FUHKN SHOKED!!!!!
    >.< CHECK ME OUT ON YOUTUBE!!!!!!!!

  25. coco Says:

    i played zwinky i mean it was fun becuz i met really good people in it!!it sucks cuz the hole zwinky thing is a viruse that crashes ur computer! on zwinky theirs lots of dum girls who r desprete that ask for sex and stuff and it makes me mad cuz they make gurls look like sluts becuz of them….yeah their all gurls that r dum cuz they start figthing 4 something dumm,zwinky was fun for me cuz i had a bf on it and i had really good friends and i wish i could go back on it and tell them 2 contact me trew yahoo.. but since i unistalled it i cant go back ugghhh hehe anyways zwinky is kinda bad for minors cuz they talk about all sex/perverted stuff its dangerous cuz people r really sick in their and they ask 4 ur info and it is very scary but if ur 13 and older ur more wiser and u dont bellive their bull crap they tell u!!!
    i dont know wat i am gonna do know that i dont have zwinky ill probably go back 2 habbo or gaia idk ill probably miss zwinky but i wont go back 2 that its a viruse made amy comp slow so no!!

  26. coco Says:

    OH YEAH ONE MORE THING HAVE A KOOLAID COCA MOCA DAY! =)

    HEHE

  27. echo Says:

    ok i LOVE zwinky! yes it gives u viruses but u can talk too ppl with havin too worry about ur image. and i hav like 400 million besties on there that i could NOT live out! so yea every1 should try zwinky!

  28. nilla Says:

    HI ..ZWINKY ,,IM REALLY SCARED ABOUT A GUY IN ZWINIY WHO ALWAYZ ANNOY MEH AND MY SIS— *vicky_666*
    ..if u didnt take any action on him,,,we cant play zwinky any more…please take him off from zwinky,,,,he using very vulgar word to meh …and my sis and also… spoiling our names…to my frends,,,,pls *HELP US*

  29. Eresthesaut Says:

    Thank you ;-) take a look that emo boy one on this blog:
    http://emo–boys.blogspot.com

  30. sam lee backwhen Says:

    cool but i can do better so what you think you got it all well JK

  31. whoggesee Says:

    The complete lowdown on Zwinky | Cyde Weys Musings ofzjof nbmcivs hsawyu abercrombie france trkpylps http://chaussureslouboutinsoldes.blogspot.com/ gfmiekf qujlt