IMVU’s 3D Avatar-Based Social Experience Inspires Real-Life Connections in an Imaginative Community

Online Dating

IMVU’s 3D Avatar-Based Social Experience Inspires Real-Life Connections in an Imaginative Community

Hayley Matthews Hayley Matthews • 12/01/16

The Short Version: You can live out your fantasy with the help of IMVU, an immersive avatar-based social experience on the web. Registering online is free and takes only a moment to customize your avatar. Then you’ll be welcomed by the world’s largest 3D chat and dress-up community of over 140 million accounts. IMVU members often build close connections with one another, helped along by features like one-on-one chatting and member matching. Whether you’re into cosplay or the goth look, all members are encouraged to express their individualism as they interact in a safe and entertaining space. By customizing your social experience, IMVU offers a world of opportunity to have fun and find romance.

In December 2015, a young woman in Wisconsin joined IMVU, an avatar-based social experience, as an escape from tough times, but what she found was an avenue to love. She matched with Shaun, who lived in South Africa, and they began chatting and hanging out in the virtual world.

After three months of close contact in IMVU’s immersive world, her avatar got down on one knee, and he said “Yes.” They threw an IMVU wedding, and there was nothing pretend about how they felt for one another. She flew to Capetown, South Africa (it was her first time leaving Wisconsin) to meet her online love in real life. “He had the biggest smile on his face,” she recalled. “I spent two amazing weeks with the man of my dreams.” Within a year, the couple got married in person, embarking on their new life together.

Their love transcended physical boundaries thanks to the connective power of an online social experience. Founded in 2004, IMVU is a headset-free virtual reality with tons of customizable features. The site hosts more than 140 million accounts chatting, exploring, and socializing every day. Daters can create an avatar for free to meet people in a casual, low-pressure environment.

Screenshot of IMVU's homepage

Members can personalize their IMVU avatars with over 20 million virtual items available.

Members can personalize their IMVU avatars with over 20 million virtual items available.

IMVU avatars give users the chance to cast off their insecurities and create a look all their own. For millions of singles, this social escapism opens up a world of possibility. Meeting people in real life can be stressful, requiring planning and effort, but, on IMVU, all you have to do is log in and start chatting.

“We don’t make the content on IMVU — we provide the space for people to socialize, and they create the rest for themselves,” said Lindsay Anne Aamodt, Director of Communications for IMVU. “It’s infinite customization for their avatar, and a lot of members use it as an aspirational vehicle.”

In IMVU’s 3D virtual experience, there are no boundaries to your self-expression. You can look how you want to look, go where you want to go, and easily meet people who share common interests. And, as Shaun and his bride found out, these close ties on the site can sometimes blossom into real-life romance.

Over 140M Users Chat & Socialize in an Avatar-Based Environment

IMVU boasts a vibrant community of more than 140 million registered accounts. A sizable portion of the user base actively interacts in the virtual space, which sees over 10 million unique views a month. Additionally, their Facebook page has over 3 million “likes” from people who love to comment and connect online.

“They pay attention, and they really care about the IMVU community,” Lindsay said. “Because we’ve continued to develop our product, our members have stayed with us over the years.”

This strong network of IMVU members form tight bonds that span the globe. While a majority of users come from English-speaking countries, Lindsay told us IMVU has a presence in hundreds of countries worldwide. To meet new people and get your flirt on, you can conduct a filtered search by gender and location. Members tend to be on the younger side, between 18 and 24 years old, and many are receptive to building relationships with other users.

On your profile, you can specify your relationship status, sexual orientation, and what you’re looking for (chatting, relationships, friendship, or other).

As a whole, IMVU is a popular social setting to meet potential love matches. The avatar’s profile setup looks a lot like a dating site’s go-to format, with the page highlighting your interests, recent visitors, groups, and friends. You can also add outfits, stickers, or a special someone on the sidebar. You choose your “special someone” by typing the avatar’s name and sending a notification message to let that person know you think highly of him or her.

To further encourage you to grow your social network, IMVU makes friend suggestions in the upper corner of your profile.

Meeting New People Is Easy Using the “Get Matched” Feature

In many ways, IMVU is built for chatting. Members can converse one-on-one via private messaging, or they can join over 100,000 chat rooms from any desktop or mobile device. These chat rooms are available 24/7 to anyone seeking to make an online connection. In addition to live chat rooms, IMVU online forums also invite discussion on everything from the site’s features to role-playing games. International users can join forums in several different languages, including Spanish, Dutch, French, Italian, and Portuguese.

For singles looking to meet people, the Get Matched feature is particularly helpful. This dating tool will connect you to attractive members who share your interests. You can like or pass the profile, and you’ll be notified if that person likes you back.

If you hit it off with someone special, you can plan an IMVU wedding in the virtual space as a way to test the relationship waters or just as an excuse to dress up your avatar. It’s all a fantasy, so you don’t have to commit to forever to say these “I dos.”

It’s easy to make new friends on IMVU because so much on the site is meant to be shared with others. In this custom world, you have control over your own experience. Your creativity will attract attention, and you can even turn a profit by creating items for sale. Creators can trade more than 6 million items on IMVU, and the catalog is constantly growing as more and more people add to it.

A Colorful Company Recognized for Their Passion & Dedication

As technology improves, the IMVU team works hard to stay modern and relevant for their members. The company is based in the heart of Silicon Valley and has the lighthearted feel of a tech startup, according to Lindsay, who has been with the company since 2014. “We’re a company based on innovation and technology,” she said. “Our CEO really values input and feedback on all levels.”

In the IMVU office, the walls are lined with user-generated content, and CEO Brett Durrett sits in a cubicle alongside his team. The positive, collaborative vibe comes from a shared passion for their membership. The team takes pride in the creativity of their users and frequently displays the original works of art made possible by the virtual world.

“We value people who are unique and creative,” she said. “We feel passionate about what our users are doing, and we hear all these beautiful stories of friendships and relationships between members.”

The San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal both named IMVU among the “Best Places to Work in the Bay Area” because of their upbeat and transparent work environment. Everyone on the team has an avatar of their own and believes in the company’s mission to bring people together online.

Down to the last detail, the IMVU team has engineered an engaging fantasy space for people around the world. Through their dedication, they have amassed the largest catalog of virtual items in the world. “If an item isn’t listed in the IMVU catalog, it basically doesn’t exist in the world,” Lindsay stated. “That’s how vast our catalog is. It’s massive.”

Immerse Yourself in a Friendly Environment on IMVU

On IMVU, physical limitations disappear. Members are free to build connections on their terms in the virtual world. You can take control of your social experience, customize your look to reflect your personality, and join an engaged community of millions of active members online. From personalized emojis to chat introductions, IMVU makes it easy to meet like-minded people.

Photo of the IMVU logo

IMVU provides an online social destination where you can chat, imagine, and play with friends.

You can have the wedding you could never afford in real life or go partying at a raging club without leaving your house. It’s all up to you.

“There is no limit to what you can do,” Lindsay said. “It’s all based on your creativity, your imagination, and your interests.”

IMVU’s immersive virtual experience facilitates camaraderie in a unique social setting. It’s free to register and start chatting with people who share similar interests. Like the Wisconsin woman and her South African lover, you may meet someone who would never have crossed your path otherwise, and find that you’re a perfect fit.

“Shaun in my best friend, companion, partner, lover, my rock that keeps me grounded. He is just my complete everything,” the IMVU member said. “And I would be truly lost if he wasn’t in my life.”