Fools and their money
As if the mere existence of the social networking phenomenon weren't bad enough, apparently, people now pay actual money for graphic "gifts" they can send each other:
Joni Gleason of Haverhill spends about $100 a year on gifts for her pet-loving friends. But the gifts can't be held or wrapped. They can't even be seen unless her friends are online.
As a member of Dogster.com, Gleason, 62, sends fellow dog owners virtual candles and angel wings when their pets get sick or die. When Gleason feels playful, she sends virtual squirrels or, one of Dogster's newer gift options, a can of Spam.
Thanks to people like Gleason, social-networking websites, most of which are free to join, are estimated to be making millions of dollars a year from virtual gifts, small icons that can be purchased and sent between members.
The 750,000 members of Dogster.com and Catster.com can buy gifts for 25 cents to $5. Most gifts cost $1 on Facebook.com, which has more than 80 million active members who use the site to create profiles of themselves, communicate with friends, and post messages about their lives. Since Facebook launched the gift option in February 2007, more than 27 million gifts have been given. On Dogster and Catster, members bought 1.5 million gifts in past 12 months.
Seriously, if I didn't know better, I'd think this was an article from the Onion.