Webkinz are stuffed animals. They were first sold by the Ganz company in 2005. The toys are similar to other small plush toys. Each toy comes with a special code that lets the person who owns it use the "Webkinz World" website. On the website, users can "adopt" an online version of the pet to play with.
The toys have been advertised in a way that is similar to Ty Beanie Babies. After some time, certain types of the toy are "retired" or no longer sold. This makes the toys more valuable after they are retired and people can sell them for more money. Webkinz have been very popular. Ganz says more than 2 million toys have been sold to retailers. They also say there are 1 million users of the Webkinz website. More than $1 million (USD) in toys were sold in the United States in 2006.
When a person buys a webkinz at a store, they get a code that allows them to use the website for one year. After that time, they must buy another Webkinz toy to get a new code to be allowed to keep using the site. Online, users can play with their pets in many ways. For example they can feed them, exercise them, or play games. They can also play games to earn "Kinzcash", the money that is used on the site to buy things for their pets.
Now, Ganz has made the Ganz E-store, where you can buy Webkinz codes and items with just a credit card and a click. They also made tinier versions called Lil' Kinz plush toys. Webkinz is an online world that is really fun and full of educational games.