It’s that time of year again. OfficeMax and JibJab have just launched the latest edition of ElfYourself, the massively popular website that features dancing elves you can customize to feature the faces of you and your friends. The site, which serves as a promotion for OfficeMax, has turned into an Internet phenomenon, drawing many millions of visitors a year.
ElfYourself started back in 2006, when it received a surprising 36 million views in its first year. In 2007, it took the web by storm, with a whopping 193 million views. In 2008, the company teamed with JibJab to power the site (one of JibJab’s specialities is creating customized videos like these, so it was a good fit). However, there was a significant dropoff between 2007 and 2008 — last year the site drew 55 million views. That dropoff wasn’t a surprise though: JibJab CEO Gregg Spiridellis says that the company decided to require users to register in order to share their videos with their friends, when previous years hadn’t required registration. This led to an anticipated dropoff in virality, but it also resulted in a huge jump in JibJab’s userbase, which is more valuable to the company in the long run.
This year though, we can expect some more astronomical numbers, because JibJab has removed its required account registration. Instead, it’s deeply integrating Facebook Connect, which will give users one-click signin to the site and will also help ElfYourself go even more viral as videos get distributed through Facebook News Feeds.
Users can make their videos and share them across the web for free. They can also pay to have their elves printed on gift cards or greeting cards, or to download a version they can store locally.
Spiridellis also told us some of JibJab’s recent traffic stats: the site has 11.5 million unique visitors in October, up 229% over the same time period last year. 18 million views came from the site’s Monster Mash customized videos.
Below are two of the new videos the site is offering this year: