Wednesday, 15 August 2012

eBay conditioning minors to be future buyers?

eBay are seemingly looking to increase the number of customers using eBay by possibly giving the chance for people under the age of 18 to start buying from eBay stores.

Devin Wenig, eBay's president of global marketplaces stated in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal that young people were very much a part of their future marketing plans, but they would not allow minors to simply purchase products on their own: 

"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."

Having minors purchase items on eBay would seemingly fit in with the current guidelines set by eBay's payment company, Paypal, who allow people as young as 13 to obtain a Paypal debit card if they have consent from their parents.

While the plans are very much in the initial phase, it is believed that eBay could start allowing minors to sign up to their site within 9 months. 

Allowing young people purchase items on eBay would seemingly open up an entirely new market for online sellers, enabling them to focus on marketing their products to this demographic.However, people from the age of 13 may not have the financial means to purchase various items from eBay. This could result in a minor purchasing an item from an online store, only for the seller to then find that the individual does not have the required funds to complete the transaction. 

Some of eBays's community members have spoken out through forums and comments at their dismay of these announcements, stating that this is just a way for eBay to condition people at a young age to buy from eBay. What this does is essentially get people using eBay from an early age to create familiarity by which these individuals will constantly use eBay to purchase items throughout their adult lives. 

While some people believe that young people shouldn't be able to purchase on eBay as it allows eBay sellers to take advantage of a demographic who can be easily influenced by current trends and fads, others believe that it is a good way to help improve security for young individuals, be reducing their anonymity. It is a general understanding that while eBay currently do not let minors purchase from their site, there are a number of young people who are regularly purchasing from the online marketplace via their parents accounts and through mobile devices. Recognising young people as valued buyers would put more security in place to ensure that they are treated as fairly as other buyers, with buyer protection measures in place 

Despite the fact many people are now questioning eBay's ethics behind the idea, the Californian company would not be the first to tailor their content to minors, as social media site Facebook has explored allowing people as young as 12 to sign up to their site in the past. 

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