eBay to Tap into the Kids Market
eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), the online auction site, plans to aim products and marketing directly at the kid's market.
Aiming advertisements at children is no new thing. From soft drinks and breakfast cereal to toys and movies, ad houses have known for a long time that while children might now have disposable income of their own, parents listen to what they want.
Therefore, it is perhaps a little odd that it took eBay until now to follow suit and that other sites, like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), are still lagging behind. There are moral issues when it comes to the internet and home shopping as children could perceivably buy anything without revealing their age, but eBay believes that it has addressed those concerns.
According to the Wall Street Journal, eBay will require children's accounts to have parental authorization. Devin Wenig, president of global marketplaces, told the Journal that, "We're definitely looking at ways to legitimately bring younger people in. We wouldn't allow a 15-year-old unfettered access to the site. We would want a parent, an adult as a ride-along."
When it comes to children using the internet, people are quite correctly very protective and it remains to be seen if parents will feel comfortable with this new approach. However, Wenig did point out that it is likely that children have been lying about their age online for years, and that these measures should add new transparency.
If eBay does manage to create a safe online environment for children to browse and purchase products, it will open up a whole new avenue that the likes of Amazon would likely be keen to exploit.
eBay's user agreement clearly and carefully restricts many items that could be considered harmful or offensive, (for example, it is against the rules to sell a used jock strap on the site), but there are still many perfectly legal items available that should not be in the hands of minors.
The problem that eBay is wrestling with is a tricky one to overcome, as it works to target and tackle the children's market. In setting up protective policies, the company has its work cut out.
On Thursday, eBay traded at about $43.20, down roughly 0.8 percent.
Follow me @BCallwood.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.