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Avatars let your customers spread the word about you.

By Karen E. Spaeder • Jan 1, 2007

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Imagine someone wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with your company name--all day, every day--then sharing the shirt with thousands of friends. It might sound like a marketer's pipe dream, but with avatars--the little talking, animated characters representing users that are popping up all over the web--such dreams can come true.

Sean Ryan, founder of San Francisco based, is witnessing the trend firsthand with his online avatar service. "We're seeing interest from companies looking for cost-effective ways to reach out to consumers online," says Ryan, 38, who launched Meez in March 2006 and has raised more than $5.3 million in venture funding. "It's harder and harder to reach people under 30," he says, and avatars are one way to do just that.

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