Most Subscription Sites Influence Customer Behavior Through Dark Patterns, Alarming Study Reveals

Consumer rights protection groups are raising their voice on a concerning matter linked to subscription websites.

A new report says that such pages influence customers by using dark patterns that force them into adding a subscription and surrendering personal data.

For those wondering, the terminology ‘dark patterns’ is the name reserved for those methods found on certain user interfaces that manipulate customers into making a decision that might not be in their best interests.

Moreover, international research carried out by the ICPEN and GPEN made painstaking efforts to conduct a review study on how 642 websites and mobile phone platforms found today used this dark methodology.

One common pattern highlighted includes sneaky behavior where an organization intentionally makes it hard for searchers to find negative information. Moreover, the study also showed how automatic subscriptions ensured buyers couldn’t switch off the auto-renewal option and therefore would be forced to renew each year, even if they didn’t wish to.

Other forms of dark patterns included an option where desirable actions were much simpler to carry out as well as forced actions where clients had to give data for accessing a certain function.

The report really highlighted so many dark patterns that encouraged more and more people to shun their privacy and it was alarming that so many pages had this deceptive practice in play.

Several of the websites used complex language that made it hard to comprehend the privacy policies at stake. The fact that the least secure option in terms of user privacy and security was selected and 42% made use of emotionally charged terminology influencing users was another eye-opener for researchers in this report.

Remember, even those who consider themselves to be savvy might get negatively impacted by these practices, leading to decision-making that is of the suboptimal level.

This might include risking personal data revelations by giving out more details than you should or perhaps auto-renewals despite not being willing or interested in doing so.

Such reports failed to specify if and when dark patterns were utilized in illegal manners and whether or not they were present. So as you can imagine, it’s a serious red flag and the dual release of data serves as a stark reminder of digital literacy being a crucial component to survive in this scary tech world.

Image: DIW-Aigen

Read next: Amazon Under Fire For Misleading Public And Distorting Truth About Sourcing Power From Clean Energy Sources
Previous Post Next Post