• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Sweden raps Stardoll for targeting young girls

The Local · 6 Dec 2012, 17:31

Published: 06 Dec 2012 17:31 GMT+01:00

The operators of the popular site face a 1 million kronor ($150,000) fine if they fail to stop the practices, the court ruled.

After conducting research into the Stardoll virtual world, the Swedish Consumer Agency (Konsumentverket) took the company, which has 100 million users worldwide with about 250,000 members in Sweden, to the Swedish Market Court (Marknadsdomstolen).

In a verdict handed down on Thursday, the court upheld much of the Consumer Agency's critique.

Stardoll has responded that the verdict could spell the end for its services on the Swedish market.

"This ruling has wide-reaching implications not only for us but for the entire gaming industry," Stardoll CEO Mattias Miksche told the TT news agency.

"They are telling us we cannot send direct messages to the players' inboxes, which they say is the equivalent of sending offers and deals to people's homes."

In its complaint against Stardoll, Sweden's Consumer Ombudsman (Konsumentsombudsmannen, KO) said its marketing was "aggressive".

To prove its point, the Consumer Agency signed up to the site with its own avatar, called Liza, and kept a log of how she received marketing offers.

""Liza" had to fill in a parent's email address to join the community, because she was underage, but the agency said that in communicating with the parent, Stardoll made no reference to future marketing.

"Only if the parent feels there is reason to distrust the letter sent to them and they read the user agreement will they see that Stardoll will send marketing to the child and that the child can buy things on the site," the complaint read.

After "Liza" indicated what she would like her avatar to look like, the site played up a video where she was told she could upgrade to "superstar" for 30 kronor.

The video implies, according to the Agency's interpretation, that a girl who does not sign up would remain the dour, plain girl portrayed at the beginning of the clip.

It is possible to opt out and keep playing as a normal player, the agency noted, but from thereon after, Liza's life in the virtual community was plagued by booby trap after booby trap.

For example, the agency pointed out, Stardoll enticed "Liza" with gifts but when she went to open them, she was told to upgrade her membership.

When "Liza" finally fired off an SMS to get more credit on the site, she received the following response: "Be a Superstar for even longer. Buy additional weeks now!”"

Story continues below…

The verdict left the Stardoll CEO befuddled.

"It says it's ok to sell thing but still we cannot have a button on our site that says 'buy' or 'upgrade'," Miksche told TT.

"I don't really know what we'll do now."

TT/The Local/at

Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

18:47 December 7, 2012 by .METALLICA
I hope stardoll again be the best site before,how it was in mid-2009, the stardoll which were concerned with your comsumidores they've adults or children.

This change has to be in the world not only in Sweden, stardoll is a game that spans multiple locations on the planet. Hopefully worry more about who plays and cause the site to be better every day, all people need this change to play comfortable for our leisure and enforce the title Fame, Fashion and Friends. =]
Today's headlines
Swedish police search for missing elderly hikers
The only trace is currently a mobile phone found in the area and which is believed to belong to one of the men. Photo: Henrik Montgomery /TT

Police have launched an extensive search operation after two elderly hikers went missing in the Swedish mountains.

Winds leave thousands of Swedes without power
The winds are also expected to blow away the warm weather that the Swedes have been blessed with in the past few days. Photo: Peter Arwidi / TT file picture

Strong gusts, forecast to reach up to 21 metres per hour, left thousands of people without power in Sweden’s northern regions on Saturday.

Migration agency ’to get rid of LGBT experts’
Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

An internal report looking at ways to make Sweden’s Migration Agency more efficient has proposed the agency gets rid of specialists dedicated to LGBT-related issues. The move has prompted the country’s main gay rights group to see red.

Sweden's Spotify hits 39 million subscribers
Spotify is gaining listeners. Photo: Erik Mårtensson/TT

Spotify has grown by nine million paying subscribers in five months, fending off competition from rivals.

Prosecutor wants asylum stabber convicted of murder
Prosecutor Linda Wiking. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

The man was convicted of aggravated manslaughter for stabbing a worker to death at a home for young refugees in Sweden.

Old Swedish cash worth billions still in circulation
Old Swedish money. Photo: Micke Larsson/TT

Hand in your invalid Swedish bills to the bank by the end of the month.

Sweden moves to battle high rate of drug deaths
Sweden has among Europe's highest drug-induced mortality rates. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum/NTB/TT

Sweden has among the highest number of drug-related deaths in the EU despite its zero-tolerance policy. The government wants to find out why.

Human skeleton found on abandoned farm in Sweden
Police at the farm in Hörby. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect human remains found in a well on an abandoned farm in rural Sweden belonged to a man who was murdered.

The Local List
You'll never really be Swedish without trying this weird food
Kebab pizza. It exists. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The Local's intern Saina Behnejad on her love-hate relationship with Swedish cuisine.

Sweden's Stenson pulls out of Barclays with injured knee
Henrik Stenson at the Olympics this summer. Photo: AP Photo/Alastair Grant

Henrik Stenson's injury throws doubt on Europe's chances at next month's Ryder Cup.

Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Travel
What are Sherpas doing on Sweden's highest mountain?
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: August 24th
The Local Voices
'I want to be a businesswoman but I don’t care about money'
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The Local Voices
Syrian presenter: Swedish media should make more shows in Arabic
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Travel
Watch the meteor shower in Sweden
Lifestyle
How to survive a crayfish party
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,370
jobs available