Gaia Online is an English-language, anime-themed social networking and forums-based website. It was founded as go-gaia on February 18, 2003, and the name was changed to GaiaOnline.com in 2004 by its owner, Gaia Interactive. Gaia originally began as an anime linklist and eventually developed a small community, but, following a statement by founder Derek Liu (username "Lanzer"), the website moved towards social gaming, and eventually became forum-based. In 2007, over a million posts were made daily, and 7 million unique users visited each month (with over 26 million total registered users). Gaia also won the 2007 Webware 100 award in the Community category. In January 2011, the company won the Mashable Best User experience Award for 2010. Members of Gaia Online, known as Gaians, receive a customizable avatar when they sign up. Users have the ability to customize their avatar in many ways, including skin tone, eye style and color, hair style and color, gender, race (e.g. human, vampire, elf) and attire. Numerous clothing items and accessories for avatars can be purchased from a range of NPC-run stores using the site currencies, Gaia Gold and Gaia Cash. Avatars appear next to posts in the forums and profile comments (the post itself encapsulated in a "speech bubble"), and in Gaia Towns and other environments the avatar appears as a movable character that can travel from place to place, interacting with the environment (catching bugs, shaking trees, digging for buried treasure, collecting trash and flowers etc.) and other users. Forums are the public message boards. There is a large variety of forums in which users can post, such as forums for general discussion, news, topics regarding the Gaia community and NPC story lines, casual conversation and lifestyle discussions, various types of role play, general entertainment, featured games on Gaia, and artist discussions. There are also forums for users to buy and sell items, as well as a forum for user-run businesses, e.g. art commissions and thread-bumping services. Users may make threads in almost every forum, as long as they follow each forums guidelines. Users also have the option to add polls to their thread. Posting and replying to threads, as well as voting in polls, yields gold.