You know we must be in a recession when the “hot” holiday toy of the 2010 Christmas shopping season are Zhu Zhu robot hamsters. These rodent toys retail for under $10/each (plus accessories) and I don’t really know much about what they do. I guess they do things like hamsters, without the smell, waste, or obligation to feed them.
People waited in long lines to get these hamsters, and many were unsuccessful – a classic case of demand exceeding supply. I am sure that people are hawking them on sites like Ebay right now, similar to what was done when things like XBox and Wii game consoles were the hottest toys that couldn’t be found in stores.
Unfortunately for the company, they didn’t buy RobotHamsters.com, and someone else was able to buy it a few weeks ago. I’m sure most kids know the brand name, but it’s the parents that are searching around to buy them, and I am sure most are calling them “robot hamsters.” I guess one company’s loss is another company’s opportunity.
This is similar to the Myachi hand sacks that have also been popular. I went to Toys R Us with my friend Lonnie and his family a few months ago, and one of the founders of Myachi was in a prime spot playing with his toy. The kids were mesmerized, and Lonnie’s son mentioned that he had one as did his friends. Lonnie and I asked the guy a bunch of questions, and I couldn’t remember the brand name for the life of me until I just Googled it.
Unfortunately for Myachi, which was founded by two college students over 10 years ago and had their domain name registered 1998, another company was able to buy the generic domain name HandSacks.com in 2007, and they’re now a competitor. While all the kids may remember a brand name, it’s the parents who hear about these toys second-hand and need to buy them. If the companies just owned the generic domain name, which were available to register even after the brands were successful, they would probably see increased online sales.
Anyway, happy Black Friday.