BillMyParents (BMP) has announced its “cute” new launch by Socialwise for teens and tweens to get parents to pay for their ever-increasing want list. With this new BillMyParents online payment system, teens and tweens can shop at online stores to their hearts content and spend their parents money, without parents actually giving teens their credit card.
BillMyParents, powered by Amazon.com, is of course a simple and easy process. What is BillMyParents? Teens and tweens browse and shop at online stores for things they want to purchase err, things teens want parents to purchase FOR them and when it’s time to “check out”, that’s where BillMyParents online payment system kicks into gear.
Parents receive an email or mobile text notification from BillMyParents (www.billmyparents.com or www.BMPshopping.com) that there’s something your teen/tween wants you to buy for them, then you as the parent decide whether to approve or deny the purchase. If the parent decides to allow the online transaction, the parent then puts in their credit card information to complete the purchase. The parents credit card information is not accessible to the teens/tweens.
Teens and tweens can purchase anything from Amazon.com via Socialwise’s online shopping site, and the company has partnered with online gaming websites to help teens and tweens indulge even more in their video game addiction obsession, as well as virtual worlds and social networks Habbo, Artix Entertainment, Outspark and Rock You!, among others.
Making a living by selling products or services is one thing, but targeted marketing towards children so investors can make a windfall from sales off of tweens and teens entitled wants and whims is just gross.
“Currently the video game companies need to try to target a small group in their advertising approach. Generally they cannot advertise to parents, since parents really don’t always know which games their kids like. So what they stick with is marketing to late teens to early thirties to capture the market that will respond to the ad and have money to buy the product. This is their main market. Of course younger groups will see an advertisement and bug their parents till their parents buy it for them, but this is only a bonus.
You must note, some of these games, and gaming systems will sell out in hours or days. We are talking MILLIONS of copies at $30-$60 each (not including gaming systems and controllers which can easily hit $400 or more). So what if a gaming company could advertise directly to the 10-18 yr. old group? Basically BMP solves this problem for every company in this situation. They can market right to the younger kids and advertise “Buy this now with BMP”. With the excitement about this market, IDAE has secured lots of discounted ads. This is a nice first step.”
SuperMom isn’t very happy about BillMyParents either, and I won’t be surprised when other parents express surprise at discovering the lengths marketers will go in their efforts to target young children, tween and teens with products. Cha-Ching! The next phase of BillMyParents will also include an “allowance” debit card for kids. Teens can login to their BillMyParents control panel either on the website directly to see what purchases have been approved or declined, or alternatively the platform will be launching account management applications on MySpace and Facebook in the coming weeks.
More than $132 billion is spent annually by youth, with $40 billion spent offline on products teens and tweens have researched online. 40% of teens say the reason why they don’t buy online is the lack of a credit card. James Collas, CEO of Socialwise, says about BillMyParents: “The online teen spending market is hugely underserved and BillMyParents is uniquely poised to tap into the desire for teens to be able to shop online, while still letting parents maintain control in a safe and secure environment.” Uh-huh. Targeted Marketing towards kids strikes again.
News reports say:
The BillMyParents payment system platform addresses this untapped teen spending market with a multifaceted approach to online payment processing for teens and tweens, and gives them an easy way to purchase products online without a credit card. Using the BillMyParents button at the point of sale, teens can initiate a purchase in seconds. Parents complete the purchase at their convenience through a simple, easy to use, and automated system enabled by instant email and text notifications.
There is no membership or monthly fee involved with BillMyParents (owned by Socialwise Inc), which some refer to as “Paypal for teens”, but parents do pay $.50 per transaction. I couldn’t help but laugh when I checked out the BillMyParents website, with teen/tween messages like: “I need a new deck”, “I need new tunes”, “I need the newest game”, “My Phone is so Old School”. Boohoo waaah.
Reading Reuter’s “don’t look at me, I’m just a kid, Bill My Parents!” take on BillMyParents new payment system for teens also made me laugh:
“The system geared to teens and tweens — who ideally have good relationships with their hopefully indulgent parents — allows parents to approve purchases coveted by their kids and foot the bill.”
Artix Entertainment’s business development manager, Daniel Vasile, explained the benefits of the partnership with BillMyParents this way:
“Our partnership with SocialWise and BillMyParents adds a valuable and unique payment feature to our online role playing games.” Vasile continues saying, “Many of our 80 million registered users worldwide are under 18, and by offering our young gamers and their parents an innovative, safe and easy way to make purchases and enhance game play, Artix is continuing to offer leading edge features that enhance the gaming experience.”
On the BillMyParents FAQ’s teen questions page: “Can I send a request to someone who is not my parent? Yes, you can. However, we recommend that you send your first request to your parent or legal guardian, and make sure it’s ok with them before you start sending requests to other adults.” Recommend??? Not Required???
Also on the FAQ’s page of parent questions: “Can I see who else is giving money to my child? Yes, you can. When you sign up as the parent/guardian of a child, you can see the names of all the people your child has sent requests to – Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, etc. You can also see how often your child is sending requests, and to whom.”
It’s the “ect.” that I find alarming, regarding who can give money to teens and tweens through BMP. Apparently, parents must login to the BillMyParents website in order to see “who else” is giving their child money and who their child is requesting money from. This appears to be a loophole that could easily be abused…by perpetrator’s targeting kids online and through social networking sites.
BillMyParents would be very wise to implement instant email and/or mobile text messages to parents each and every time their child requests money or payment for products from anyone other than their parent, or anytime “someone” attempts to send money to their child. Parents should receive these notices in a manner that allows the parent to block money requests or attempts to send their child money without the parents prior knowledge and approval.
Have you heard about BillMyParents? What do you think of this new tween/teen online payment system for kids?