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Passion for pets, Woof!

Dogster just got $1 million in A round funding from a group of angels and entrepreneurs, such as the founder of del.icio.us. It's the first round of funding since the launch of Dogster back in January 2004. Dogster founder Ted Rheingold plans to build more properties to cover "all pet passions," like horses-ter, birdster, and herpster (biologists use the term herp for all reptiles and amphibians, according to Wikipedia). Dogster and Catster will generate over $1 million in online advertising and subscriber fees this year. Combined Dogster and Catser have 250k subscribers. A smaller number pay roughly $20 a year, to get storage for videos, and photos, and the ability to IM other members on the site, using their pets as avatars. The majority of the revenue comes from advertisers. The market for pets is $35.9 billion in the U.S., says Rheingold. That includes spending beyond advertising. "We expect to grow into many types of passions, not just pets," said Rheingold. "What we feel is that people like to share their passions online... So, while we've gotten very good at pets, you can think of all sorts of passions."  The angels were chosen for their understanding of how communities can flourish on the Web. That is, communities flourish in an environment where like-minded people can feel comfortable with others they can share their passions with. Rheingold, who says his site is already profitable, says the capital can last at least through the end of 2007. Get ready for a lot more features on the Dogster and Catster site, as well as new pet communities. In all the sites, there will be a whole set of local listings, including dog groomers, vets and pet stores. All of this content will be user added, said Rheingold. 

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