|Thu July 26 2012 11:32:17|
What Do You Think of eBay Targeting Under-18 Set?
By: Julia Wilkinson
eBay may allow shoppers who are under 18 the ability to access the site with their own accounts, according to eBay President of Global Marketplaces Devin Wenig in a piece in today's Wall Street Journal. Apparently this teen/tween set is already making purchases on the site, but data on what they're buying is not clear because they're using their parents' accounts, or buying without their parents' knowledge at all.
It's likely eBay will require parental authorization for the accounts, and Wenig said eBay would shield the minors from the adult content and merchandise on the site, according to the piece.
The move will "peel back some of the anonymity," Wenig said, acknowledging that it is likely that minors are buying items on eBay while lying about their ages. With creating clear ways for the under-18 market to buy things on eBay, eBay would also presumably gain market data about what this younger set is buying. That's my sense about what this initiative is really about.
The new type of accounts may be available in the next nine months, though exact timing is not clear.
The change would also open the online retailer to minors who already make payments through PayPal; as kids13 years or older are able to obtain PayPal debit cards with parental sign-off.
As a parent with two kids, one a younger teen and the other 18, we have had few problems with them making online purchases. But at one point some mystery items kept arriving from Amazon.com, all in the audio electronics genre, so a certain kibosh had to be put on that shopping spree. They used my account, but I wonder if I would prefer for the younger one to have his own account, or if it would be just one more thing for me to worry about?
What do you think of this move on eBay's part? Have your kids ever bought anything on eBay, and would you want them to have their own subaccount? Will this lead to better parental oversight, discouraging minors' lying to their parents, or just open up a can of worms in terms of purchases gone wild, or accidental viewing of "mature" content or products? Post your thoughts here!