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How IMVU Works

IMVU Shopping

Before you buy items for your avatar with credits, there are some other things that you might be interested in buying with your money. For example, you may notice that your avatar has "Guest_" in front of its name. In order to get rid of that prefix, you have to pay a one-time fee to buy your avatar's name. You can also pay to change your avatar's name or verify your age when you're over 18.

There are also some different types of passes that you can purchase, including Access Passes (APs), VIP Passes and Try it Passes. IMVU requires users to be at least 13 years of age, but screens users under the age of 18 from seeing what it deems to be adult content. Users who are 18 and older can purchase an Access Pass (AP). There are groups, forums and rooms available only to AP holders, as well as specific AP items. Examples of AP-rated content include items and areas that may depict things such as alcohol and tobacco use, nudity, profanity, blood and mature themes. An AP includes age verification.

A VIP Pass is essentially a subscription to IMVU that includes several benefits: name registration, priority customer support, a 5 percent discount on catalog items, 5,000 credits per month and no visible third-party ads. The Try it Pass allows you to try items from the catalog on for 20 seconds while you're chatting with your friends.

Items in IMVU are sold in the Catalog. This is where you can find everything from skin tones, makeup and clothing to rooms, furniture and stickers for your avatar's profile. Prices range widely depending on the complexity of the item, but with nearly 2 million items, it's likely that you'll have plenty of choices no matter what you want. For example, a catalog search for "long dark red" in the female hairstyle category turned up over 140,000 matches, which cost anywhere from 300 credits to more than 10,000 credits.

There are also bundles of items for sale in the Catalog. These themed collections combine outfits, items, credits, rooms and more for a discounted price. Each month there are featured bundles on sale, but there are always countless bundles available that cost less than buying each individual item. Other bundles put together credits, rooms, clothing items and different types of passes.

IMVU's Music Store sells individual tracks and albums by popular artists on all types of record labels. Music can be purchased for credits as MP3s or at a lower price for streaming in public and private rooms. Licensing agreements stipulate that one other person must be in the room to stream music, and music is played by mixing three or more tracks. Each mix can include up to two tracks by the same artist or from the same album.

We've just scratched the surface of IMVU, but as you can tell, it's a pretty unique experience. Next, we'll look at the benefits and compare it to other graphical instant messaging services.