A very popular part of the online game, Neopets, Neopets avatars are little squares that appear next to your name on the chat boards (and they are also shown when your username is looked up in the Search bar). They display an image, or an image with text. Most of the time, they are animated. There are many ways to get them: they include equipping your Neopet with a certain weapon, using a Morphing Potion on your Neopet, having a certain item in your inventory, etc. You start out with a group of non-secret avatars, but you can collect "secret" ones around the site using the aforementioned methods. The number of "secret" avatars you have collected will be displayed in your userlookup (or profile), and there is also a high score table where players can earn a trophy and a special "Avatar Collector" avatar for collecting the most "secret" avatars. There is even a special chat board specifically for discussion of avatars and avatar collectors.
While a lot of fun to collect, many players blame the arrival of "secret" avatars for the downfall of the Neopian economy. A formerly-affordable item will rise to hundreds of thousands of Neopoints (the site's currency) just because an avatar was released to go with it. An example is an item known as a "Quadrapus": it was worth 20,000 Neopoints at the start, which is quite cheap. However, now you cannot get one for under 350,000 Neopoints at the time of writing, because it can give you an avatar. This can be very frustrating, as it is difficult for the average user to earn Neopoints on the site, and even more difficult for them to purchase items when sellers get greedy and inflate such items to immense proportions over a square of pixels. Before avatars arrived, many items were more affordable than they are today. One item- 200,000 Neopoints before its avatar was released- has even risen to 30 million Neopoints (at the time of writing)!
Neopets News: "Can you figure out how to unlock this spooky-cute Blorpulous avatar?"
Avatar Collectors: "Look, a new avatar! We must have it!"
Avatar Collector: "Something Has Happened! You are now eligible to use "Blorpulous - Spooky" as an avatar on the Neoboards!"
Avatar Collector: "You need to have a 60-day-old Blorpulous attached to your pet, then view its lookup ^_^"
What will inevitably happen-
Sellers: *buy up all the cheap Blorpulous, then re-list them for 200,000 Neopoints each, effectively preventing your average Neopet user from obtaining one anytime soon due to the demand of avatar collectors who heavily collect Neopets avatars*