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How to Sell Items in Kids’ Online Communities

It’s probably not a good idea to put kids in a position to buy stuff without permission in an online community. Otherwise, you’ll have a crew of unhappy parents on your hands. If you have products or services of interest to kids, it’s fine, but selling shouldn’t be the entire focus of your community.

Lego and Club Penguin are two good examples of communities that sell to kids but aren’t obvious about it.

Keep sales pages and game pages separate. In the Legos community, for example, the game and club areas are in different subdomains. Kids can play games, watch videos, and even subscribe to a free magazine without any obvious selling going on. Many of the games and videos incorporate Lego products, but no one is saying, “Buy this!”

If you do have something to sell, make sure that kids get parental permission to buy. Use parental passwords and credit cards so that it’s not easy for kids to make a purchase on their own. Parents can receive community perks such as discount codes or clearance items in the community newsletter, so any obvious selling is on the parents’ end and not the kids’ end.

Make no mistake — many communities for kids have something to sell. But it shouldn’t be easy for kids to buy or even know that they’re being sold to.

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