5 Surprising Places you can Find Domo, Japan's Most Huggable Mascot!

5 Surprising Places you can Find Domo, Japan's Most Huggable Mascot!

You know Domo-kun, that fuzzy, brown, friendly, mono-syllabic, constantly open-mouthed friend from Japan! Did you know he first appeared in 1998 as the mascot for the Japanese television station NKH? His name is an abbreviation of his first introduction, “Dōmo, konnichiwa!” which translates to, “Well, hello there!” But according to his far more interesting origin myth, Domo hatched from an egg, and now lives in an underground cave with his best friend, an elderly bunny named Usajii, and 2 bats. Domo loves TV, hates apples, and farts when he’s nervous.

Though at first he was mainly known to Japanese audiences, within a few years Domo started showing up in some surprising, non-cave, non-Japanese commercial, places. Here’s a round of of his most adorable, surprising, and important appearances!

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Thanks, NeonMobsters, You're the Best!

As we gear up for the release of our first mobile app, it seems the right time to reflect on how amazing the past year has been for NeonMob.

It’s crazy to think that only last Spring we launched creator tools, which transformed NeonMob into a platform for creating as well as collecting digital art trading cards. This and other new features and refinements to the site explain part of why we’ve seen the size our community explode.

Hundreds of user-created series have been released since the launch of creator tools, and we now have a community of more than a thousand artists from 48 countries publishing their own work on NeonMob. Artists who have captured our imaginations on NeonMob include video game producers, business professionals, YouTube celebrities, pixel art fanatics, and indie comic creators. Most NeonMob creators are also dedicated collectors themselves — and many are sharing their art for the first time. A 17 year old student in Slovakia is using the money earned from NeonMob for his college tuition, just one example of the kind of people turning their creativity into digital collectibles.

NeonMob’s collector community has grown even faster than our creator community over the past year. No doubt because of the amazing influx of community-sourced art, as well as new series featuring well-known characters and properties released in collaboration with partners like the NFL Players Association, Care Bears, Domo, Frombie, and others.

With a community of over 100,000, and growing every day, NeonMobsters are a dedicated bunch. Every day, we forge friendships with other collectors as we explore, collect, and trade. An average of 15,000 trades are exchanged every day as we work to complete series and reach our next milestone. We appreciate all kinds of art from the fantastic to funny, and especially if it features cats or unicorns.

We’re incredibly excited about how our iOS app (which is seriously almost here) will make NeonMob an even better experience. iPhone users will be able to bring their collection with them and interact with it in new ways, let alone never having to miss claiming their daily free packs or worry about a trade expiring. And the app is just the beginning — we have more updates planned once it’s released. Ultimately, it’s you who make NeonMob possible and hold up this magical universe. You inspire us to make NeonMob the best it can be.

Whether you’re proposing trades, submitting your own series ideas, offering feedback to each other  or simply opening free packs— thank you for making NeonMob the addictive and fun experience it is. Here’s to the next milestones we’ll reach together! 

To show our gratitude, here are two free packs of Cleonique Hilsaca's beautiful first series for NeonMob, Daydreams. 

 

15 Facts That Explain Why Even Adults Are Obsessed with Baseball Cards

Early baseball cards for Ty Cobb, King Kelly, and Charles Comiskey

Early baseball cards for Ty Cobb, King Kelly, and Charles Comiskey

Baseball cards are one of the most iconic collectibles of all time, connected eternally to childhood, and fun. Over their 130-year history baseball cards have gone from something grown-ups discarded from their cigarette packs, to a fun way for kids to collect their heroes (along with some rock hard chewing gum), before morphing into a massive billion dollar bubble, then back into cheap, low tech hobby for kids. Get ready for opening day 2016 with this round-up of highlights from baseball cards past and present.

1. Baseball cards first appeared in the 1880’s packaged with cigarettes and chewing tobacco as a marketing gimmick, and meant to appeal to adults.

2. It wasn’t just baseball cards that were sold with cigarettes — tiny cardboard likenesses of actors and actresses, jockeys and war heroes were also given away.

3. The first cards created for kids were sold with more kid-friendly gum by the Goudey Gum Company in 1933.

4. Goudey’s advertising encouraged kids to collect all 240 cards in its set, but never produced a card #106 causing kids to buy pack after pack in a futile attempt at completion.

5. When parents complained to Goudeys about the missing card, the company gave in and created a card #106 featuring Napoleon Lajoie. However, it was only sent to those who wrote in requesting it, turning it into a rare and valuable card.

6. In 1952 Topps (then a candy company) released its first packs of baseball cards, flipping the gum-to-card ratio by packaging 6 cards with just one, token piece of gum.

7. A 20-year-old Mickey Mantle’s card was part of Topps's first run, but released late in the season past the point where most kids were buying baseball cards. Topps found itself with (literally) tons of late-season cards like Mantle’s which eventually found their way to a trash scow off the coast of New Jersey. Since most of his cards were trashed Mantle’s ‘52 card is one of the rarest and most coveted.

8. In 1979 James Beckett put together the first price guide, which soon came out monthly, for rare and vintage baseball cards unintentionally creating a speculative market.

9. Collectors trying to get in on the rise of the baseball card market drove up prices for rare, or even seemingly rare cards. New card makers, like Fleer and Upper Desk, got in on the action flooding the market with 81 billion cards in the early 90s. 235 baseball cards for every person in America!

10. The market of baseball cards peaked in 1992 with $1.5 billion in sales of new cards, though the bubble didn’t officially burst till 1994, helped along by the Major League Baseball strike. The market has been in decline ever since.

11. The most valuable (and famous) baseball card of all time is a 1909 T206 Honus Wagner, one of which (previously owned by hockey great, Wayne Gretzy) was sold for $2.8M in 2007.

12. Wagner’s card is so valuable because only 200 were ever produced by the American Tobacco Company. Wagner supposedly demanded they be discontinued because he was a non-smoker, and didn’t want kids buying tobacco to get his cards. Also, kids could buy cigarettes in 1909.

13. The once-owned-by-Gretzky Wagner card was at the center of the biggest scandal in baseball card history. In 2009 Illinois auction house owner, Bill Mastro, admitted he’d trimmed the edges of the card increasing it’s value by nearly $2M! He was sentenced to 20 months in jail for this, and other fraud.

14. Want to enjoy baseball cards, but don't need to own them? The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has the largest publicly available collection with over 31,000 baseball cards!

15. Today you can buy 11 packs of Topps Opening Day 2016 for $9.99, making baseball card collecting a hobby kids can afford to do for fun again.

Feeling the itch to do some collecting of your own? We just released a series of cards featuring images from the Library of Congress's huge trove of early baseball cards that were originally sold with cigarettes and chewing tobacco. They’re too fragile to handle IRL, but you can collect and trade Ty Cobb, Charles Comiskey, and 30 more hall-of-famers for free, online on NeonMob.

Start collecting Early Legends: Baseball Cards with 3 free packs!

New Marketing Trend: Digital Trading Cards

As sports and entertainment marketers develop innovative ways to reach fan audiences, brands ranging from the NFL Players Association to Tarzan have begun experimenting with a new trend that is both retro and future-looking at once: digital trading cards.

The idea is familiar, reminiscent of traditional baseball cards: a pack of cards, each card showcasing a figure, which you can collect and trade, some being more rare than others. But instead of a baseball player, the figure is an illustrated character — for example, a Care Bear. And instead of buying paper cards with a pack of gum at a store counter, the cards are all digital, collected and viewed only on NeonMob.

Founded four years ago, NeonMob is a growing online art platform whose unique blend of gaming, social media, and e-commerce elements make it addictive to users. And with a hyper-engaged audience of hundreds of thousands of active “collectors,” the platform is now interesting to brands as well. Domo, Care Bears, Tarzan, Zorro and NLF Players Association are some of the licensed properties that have released digital trading card “series” on NeonMob.

Care Bears: Classics on NeonMob

In 2015, NeonMob partnered with American Greetings to introduce two of their iconic properties, Care Bears and Madballs, to new fans as digital collectibles. Utilizing existing visual assets, trading card series were launched for both properties on NeonMob. Using a freemium system, hundreds of thousands of cards were collected by tens of thousands of users with each engagement (pack purchase, free pack claim, trade) driving up value for and interest in each series. As part of a larger suite of brand products, NeonMob is an incredibly “sticky” and fun way to generate income while promoting to new fans and engaging with existing ones.

American Greetings’ Madballs: Series 1 on NeonMob

American Greetings’ Madballs: Series 1 on NeonMob

From a brand standpoint, the strategy is simply additive. The cost is minimal — zero financial cost and only a minimal amount of time (especially when the artwork has already exists). And although hundreds of thousands of NeonMob collectors may not outnumber millions of viewers in more established channels, collecting and trading branded cards represents a fundamentally new and personal way to reach fans. The level of engagement is also quite high: users care enough about their cards to propose trades with other collectors or buy the cards they want outright. (Each collector gets a number of free packs each day and also has the option to buy packs of cards, hoping to complete a collection.)

For smaller brands that are actively looking for meaningful ways to identify and build an audience, NeonMob can be an incredible partner. Fledgling comic book and toy company, Frombie: Friendly Zombies, has launched two successful series on NeonMob since 2015. By positioning their interesting characters and artwork into a platform focused on discovery, Frombie has been able to distribute over 100,000 cards featuring their property to NeonMob users, while creating a new revenue stream.

With such a low barrier to entry — and no alternative method of engagement in this way — NeonMob’s platform makes it easy for brands to say, “Why not?” And since the platform earns money from its players, not the paid advertisers, it does not seem too far-fetched to imagine a time when every new television show launches digital trading cards along with its other marketing efforts surrounding each new season. As NeonMob’s audience grows, this new arrow in the marketer’s quiver may prove even more powerful.

Apply to Be a NeonMob Ambassador! Here's How

NeonMob is a magical universe built, nourished, and sustained by its virtual citizens. In the past year, our universe has exponentially expanded to reach 147+ countries and all walks of life. 

We are launching a new NeonMob ambassador program to recognize the members of our community who live and breathe the spirit of NeonMob — and go above and beyond to help other collectors and champion the work of creators. The application and nomination process is now open, and will close for this round on Sunday, March 20, 2016.


Who can apply to be a NeonMob ambassador?
Anyone can apply to be a NeonMob ambassador! All you need to do is fill out this form by the deadline (March 20, 2016).

Can I nominate someone else?
Yes! We want to know about any and all members of the community who have gone out of their way to make your NeonMob experience even more magical. Fill out this nomination form and tell us who should join the ambassador squad.

What will NeonMob ambassadors do?
Ambassadors will work closely with the community team to keep NeonMob awesome. Ambassador responsibilities will include evaluating submissions, providing feedback, welcoming new people, reaching out to talented artists, hosting trading chats, moderating and starting community conversations, and more.

What are the benefits of being a NeonMob ambassador?
NeonMob ambassadors will get some pretty awesome swag, unrivaled access, and invaluable experience.

Benefits include:
First look at new product features and upcoming series
Shiny NeonMob swag
Recognition as leaders in the community
Opportunity to interview buzzed-about artists and write for the blog
Access to a global network of artists and creatives
Perks from our partners