A Scottish company has signed a deal with MSN UK to allow users to create animated versions of themselves and personalise their Instant Messenger (IM).
Mike Kinsella's "Weemee" was created in his likeness
Glasgow-based Saw-You has entered into a partnership with MSN UK for a three-month trial during which its "Weemees" can be downloaded onto a user's messenger tile.
The Weemees can be made to look like their creators using a choice of body shapes, clothing, hairstyles and interests.
Instant messaging is set to rise in popularity in the light of MSN's decision to close its free, unmoderated chatrooms in Europe, Middle East, Latin America and most of Asia from 14 October.
From then, UK MSN users will only be able to chat through their instant messaging program, MSN Messenger.
MSN claim it is a much safer chat technology because chatters can restrict and control who they talk to.
Users chat to people on their "buddy lists" and permission to be a "buddy" needs to be granted.
Requests can only be made if users know the other's e-mail address, says MSN, which means most children only have "buddies" who they know outside the internet.
Mike Kinsella, chief executive officer of Saw-You, said: "The Weemees add a fun and personalised element to communicating.
The "Weemees" are incorporated into IM's tile
"Two Weemees are currently being born every second in the UK so it's something that people can definitely identify with.
"Messenger v6 is a flagship product and we are immensely proud to be invited on board."
Saw-You employs seven staff, mostly based in Glasgow.
It was founded in 1999 by Mr Kinsella and John McGuire and was originally focussed on mobile dating.
In 2001, Saw-You won the Winners on the Web awards in Scotland and last year was named a "Cool Company for Wireless content" by Fortune magazine.
Each Weemee costs £1.50 to the user with payments being made by "reverse SMS".