The human need for affection is seemingly insatiable. An artificial goldfish called Mopyfish has become the world’s favourite cyberpet, with 18m downloads, according to the Guinness Book of Records.
The fish is the creation of Global Beach. It designed the creature for Hewlett-Packard in 1997 as a marketing tool. Each time customers used a Hewlett printer, they earned points that could be exchanged for “aquarium accessories” for the fish, which lives on their screen. Customers developed an intense relationship with their cyber-fish, boosting Hewlett-Packard’s printer sales and giving it a means of tracking customer behaviour.
This type of imaginative software has given Global Beach sales growth of 76% a year, from £779,000 in 1998 to £2.4m in 2000. This year they have reached £6.2m.
Clive Jackson, who founded the London company in 1993, has since changed its focus. It concentrates on developing e-business software now.
With offices in Geneva, New York and California, Global Beach is on the point of launching GSM Keycast, which will enable companies and individuals to record voice messages and direct potential listeners to them through e-mail or through text messages on a mobile phone.
The company’s customers include Jaguar and GlaxoSmithKline.
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