Webkinz Gets Wise for the West

About a month ago, I blogged about how the Webkinz virtual world would shut down every night just when my kids (and presumably other kids in the Hawaii time zone) would be trying to get online. By scheduling their system updates at midnight on the East Coast, they were cutting off kids living several hours behind.

Of course, in addition to my blog lament, I send feedback straight to Webkinz, reminding them that midnight in New York is still prime-time playtime out here, and not necessarily past kids’ bedtimes in California, either.

Well, earlier this week, my daughter tried logging in after dinner, an attempt she would make almost every night (if only to humor me before jumping into Club Penguin). But instead of the dreaded “We’ll be back soon” message, she got the login screen. And once inside, she was treated to an official Webkinz bulletin:

We are happy to announce that we have moved our overnight maintenance routines from midnight KinzTime to 2 AM KinzTime. The move will give our West Coast members two additional prime time hours to play on the site, making Webkinz more fair and enjoyable. The site will be down from approximately 2 AM KinzTime to 4:30 AM KinzTime each night.

This is a fantastic development. (Though “overnight maintenance routines” is a pretty dry term to throw at kids, don’t you think?) It puts the nightly shutdown at 8 p.m. in Hawaii during Daylights Savings Time, and 7 p.m. the rest of the year. Still a little early, perhaps, but a lot better than 6 p.m., that’s for sure.

Mahalo, Webkinz, for looking West and bringing smiles to some little faces out here. My Webkinz guru Beth had said early on that the Webkinz service was remarkably responsive. She’s practically filing bug reports every week, and they’re finding them and fixing them quickly. And now I know first-hand that Webkinz listens.

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