The MySpace of dog

I have seen the future of Chinese Internet business models, and its name is SuperDoggie.

Published May 16, 2007 5:21PM (EDT)

A venture capitalist once told me that the unprecedented scale of the Chinese online market was the chief lure attracting investment into Chinese Internet start-ups. He was speaking specifically about Chinese online gaming, where the sheer numbers of gamers would require unprecedented infrastructural innovation and nurture a spate of new business models undreamt of in the West.

But game fanaticism pales against the passion a newly affluent middle class lavishes on its puppies. And so, without further ado, I give you SuperDoggie, described by the China Web 2.0 Review as "Personalized Music for Your Pet Dog."

The Web site itself is like MySpace of dog. Master of dogs can upload pictures and write diaries of their pets, same as parents are doing at sites like babytree.

The real business is that you can upload bark of your dog. Then they will make personalized music based on the dog bark within two weeks. You need to pay RMB 2480 [about $300!] for an original piece, or RMB 1880 for the recreation of an existing one. Comparing with average expense on a pet, I think the price is reasonable.

After receiving your personalized music, you dog will join the super voice competition automatically. Every month, top five dogs will be selected to participate in the annual contest.

There is more than a whiff here of the heady days of 1999, when the consolidation of the online pet food portal space was grist for endless mockery. (And still is!) But in an era when creating a ringtone of your own dog barking is apparently a popular pastime, the idea of entering your dog in a musical barking showdown seems unstoppable. Imagine -- Ryan Seacrest hosting the final episode of "Super Voice Dog" in which White Fang, a working-class husky half-breed, loses by the shadow of a lop-ear to Muffy, an incredibly annoying basenji.

But then White Fang eats Muffy. And everyone goes home happy.

I agree with China Web 2.0 Review: "The pure idea has the chance to go big."

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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