Club Penguin got purchased by Disney for $350 Million with an additional $350 Million performance bonus if they keep growing well til 2009. Coverage by the NY Times and Techcrunch.
Techcrunch points out that Sony previously wanted to buy the online social networking website for kids but the deal faltered for a few reasons, one being that Club Penguin donates sunstantial portions of their profits to charities and Sony wasn’t easger to continue this after a sale. I guess Disney is happy or else the three fathers who created the site have worked out some other deal.
Club Penguin’s growth has been fantastic and they seem to have decided on a site philosophy early on that they’ve stuck with. They’re not overly commercial looking and tone down rather that harass people with ads. It looks like they got the balance right when so many other websites have failed so badly. They also CHARGE customers which seems to be some kind of vulgar no no for other websites. 700k customers pay $5.95 a month to customize the penguins.
Lots of lessons to be learned from this website and their business plan.