• Sweden's news in English

Sweden raps Stardoll for targeting young girls

The Local · 6 Dec 2012, 17:31

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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
Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

How to make autumnal Swedish apple cake
Photo: SwedishFood.com

This tasty cake is an autumn staple in Swedish cafés. Why not make it yourself!

Facebook slammed for cutting Swedish breast cancer video
File photo of the landing page of the Swedish version of Facebook. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant removed a breast cancer awareness video because it deemed the images "offensive," according to the Swedish Cancer Society.

Pastor rapped for depicting rival as Nazi in church play
A different pastor. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The pastor allegedly found it funny.

In Pictures: Look inside this perfect Swedish island home
This modern Gotland home was designed and built by two Swedes. Photo: United Frog Studios/AB

Anna-Lena and Johan designed and built their home with tall beautiful windows, a smart heating system, and a separate section for their greyhounds.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
People-watching: October 5th
Must-watch: Incredible time-lapse video of Northern Lights in Sweden
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
jobs available