A bill amending the Communications Act of 1934 was passed by the House yesterday as reported by ClickZ. The Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA), H. R. 5319, was introduced in an attempt to protect school kids from online sexual predators as well as obscene and pornographic imagery. According to the bill, sponsored by Pennsylvania Republican Michael Fitzpatrick, schools and libraries receiving federal funding would be required to bar minors from visiting commercial social networking sites and chat rooms, unless they were under adult supervision. Adults would be able to access such sites in those settings, however.
How does this impact marketers looking to target youth? “Marketers are still going to be using social networks,” contended eMarketer Senior Analyst Debra Aho Williamson, who added that social networking site users are “all getting much older than they even were a year ago.”
ClickZ goes on to report that MySpace’s 12 to 17 year-old user category declined from 22 percent last year to 17 percent this year. However, users below age 18 have risen from 11.6 percent in 2005 to 14.5 percent this year. The majority of Facebook users, 48.3 percent, are aged 18-34. Those figures come from comScore Media Metrix studies.
Amy Gibby, president of the eCrush Network of teen-targeted social networking sites states that, “the DOPA may decrease the consumption of these sites while teens aren’t at home, but given the massive amount of pageviews being generated, I doubt the decrease in reach is going to deter many marketers.” She goes on to say that the network experiences most traffic to its sites after school hours.
Finally, Emarketer’s “Social Network Marketing” report, predicts U.S. online social network ad spending to rise from $280 million this year to 1.86 billion in 2010. Wow!