ebay & Bebo Team Up for Good Times!
For those of you who have never been to Bebo, it is a social networking site that caters to (or at least is frequently mostly by) minors. As in teenagers under 18 years of age. This is where the problems arises. eBay wants to bring in a younger demographic, and surely this partnership would have that effect, but herein lies the problem: Minors (under 18) are NOT permitted to enter into binding contracts! ie. Not permitted to buy and sell on eBay. Also, minors are not allowed to post to the eBay community discussion boards. It seems as though the plan will lure children into more than the pedophile relationships that these sites are known to foster. With UID (unpaid item disputes) on the rise - now at around 10-12% of all transactions on eBay - sellers should think twice before applauding this move by eBay to join up with Bebo.
When I first heard the news of this, I went to Bebo to check out the site a bit. I was greeted on the homepage by a dozen or so thumbnailed pictures of members. One that caught my eye was of a young woman in a very very sheer negligee'. So, I clicked the member's name under the image and was taken to her homepage. This particular user had chosen to use the Playboy Bunny template. On her page were no less than five pornographic images and a pornographic video. One of the images was an animated gif closeup of a woman's bare breasts...jiggling. So I did what any pseudo-investigative-blogger would do, I clicked on the jiggly breasts. This led me to a page with even more pornographic material, including dozens of messages from several different men (or boys) who had pictures of themselves holding things in their "Danger Zone" up for everyone to see. I clicked around the site for awhile and noticed that many of the nude or semi-nude photos looked to be of very young people, but all seemed to have their age listed as over 18. However, I did see much more cleavage from 15 years olds than I care to admit - and it was all without trying, and all links that I followed could be traced back to that one image and username on the homepage.
Disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing against porn, nothing. If someone wants to watch someone else have sex on TV, video, internet etc., that is fine with me. I believe that everyone should have that right and on occasion think it actually serves to the betterment of society in some instances. HOWEVER, what the hell is eBay doing promoting these sites? And what are they doing being promoted by these sites? First, it is against eBay policy for many Bebo and Myspace users to even buy or sell on ebay because of their age. And secondly, this only opens the company up to more scrutiny and lawsuits, and sets the stage for damaging eBay's reputation further. I only wish eBay could find more wholesome ways to increase their base. NASCAR maybe?