Webkinz are cute, cuddly, and apparently unwanted?

Webkinz.com seems to be suffering a tremendous plummet in traffic, recording just 3.8 million unique vistors in April 2010, down 50 percent from a year ago.

Webkinz, which are plush toys that can be maintained online via “secret codes” you enter online, are the most popular creation of Ganz, a 60-year-old Toronto-based company best known for its stuffed animals and collectibles. Popular enough, in fact, that it sparked the founding of The Webkinz Foundation, which is a charitable organization that focuses on supporting children’s programs worldwide (and also provides the company with marketing and tax benefits).

It appears that virtual pet sites in general are seeing reduced traffic. Neopets.com, a longstanding titan of the industry, saw its unique visitors drop by 39 percent from a year ago. Likely competition are Nintendo DS and Wii games that offer 3D graphics and more vivid interactive features, and don’t have periodical fees (which many virtual pet sites have).