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Thread: Dark Patterns: dirty tricks designers use to make people do stuff

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay View Post
    If we can return to the topic now... Is it unethical to use confusion techniques (for want of a better phrase) to increase your profits? It's not illegal. It's a business strategy. So, as long as there isn't a law against it, then why should you let your competitors get ahead of you because they don't have the same distaste as you do for ignoring ethics when there's profit to be made?
    Other things come into play:
    Are you comfortable with using these techniques? If you cant sleep at night because you feel you have conned or mislead someone then this isnt the strategy for you.
    Is your business dependant upon repeat purchases from customers? If the answer is 'yes' then these tactics are possibly too short-term for you.
    Is this business strategy widely used in this industry to the extent where it has become the 'norm'? Xmas sales often only feature products bought in specifically for the sales and often prices are inflated at 1 or 2 stores (if you have multiple outlets) prior to te 'sales', but Joe Public expects to see discounts
    If the law changed tomorrow would you still have a business?

  2. #22
    Administrator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Is your business dependant upon repeat purchases from customers? If the answer is 'yes' then these tactics are possibly too short-term for you.
    Eddie, did you listen to the talk by Harry Brignull, which was linked to in the OP? Many mainstream companies use these tactics. It's not necessarily a short term thing. These companies get away with it - possibly because their customers don't even know they're being duped or possibly because they prefer to buy from the cheapest company regardless of the level of service, including that on the company's website.

    Ryanair, for example, has a bad reputation but people continue to use them. Why? Because they're often cheaper. People put up with the hassles and the often inferior service presumably because they deem it's worth it in return for cheap flights.
    Last edited by Kay; 19 March 2012 at 4:13 am. Reason: typo
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay View Post
    Ryanair, for example, has a bad reputation but people continue to use them. Why? Because they're often cheaper. People put up with the hassles and the often inferior service presumably because they deem it's worth it in return for cheap flights.
    Thats a great example. Not a company I would contemplate using myself but yes, a lot of people do. I suppose not everyone has the funds to be picky and go for the moral/ethical/honest choice. I imagine there may also be an amount of inverted snobbishness from their customers 'You paid HOW MUCH for your flight, we only paid £X'
    Also, if your own experience of one of these Ryanair-types was value-for-money or better than you expected then why not use them again? However, I dont think Ryanair mislead people. They are, if anything, very blunt about what they offer and what consumers should expect from them for the money.

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    I think another consideration here is whether customers are still happy about their transaction some time afterwards. Ideally you want satisfied customers and if you set that as a goal it may give you a different perspective on these Dark Patterns.

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    Actually I think that Ryanair is mostly OK for what they do in the real world. There are some issues about advertising and how they treat disabled people and various other things, but that's not the point here.

    The point that Harry Brignull made in his talk was about the Ryanair website and how it was geared up to lead people into buying travel insurance and that it was quite difficult to opt-out of it. That's a dirty trick. I don't think that most EP members would fall for it, but it would be an easy way to "put something extra into the shopping cart" of a less experienced Internet user.

    Whether or not Ryanair provides a good service is irrelevant. The issue is how they use their website to lead people into buying what they may neither want or need. That's a dirty trick whatever way you look at it.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

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    The particular pattern which Harry Brignull aptly calls "the roach motel" is the one I find most repugnant. I stumble upon it way too often. The ones that I hate the most are the ones who sell a recurring service and make it very difficult to cancel. Unlike Ryanair where you get stuck for an insurance policy for one trip, the roach motels of the business world keep trying to charge you for a service over and over.

    I'm not big on over-regulating businesses, but there should be some easy way to deal with the scoundrels who make it much harder to get out of a program than it is to sign up in the first place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grynge View Post
    But you did learn which is my original point without having had gone through these sales pitches and bought somethings you didn't want you would have never learnt how to spot and avoid these types of methods.
    Absolutely right. And it's the only way I'm going to learn the things that brought me here. Hence my occasional foray into things that I don't expect to work - I sometimes want to know exactly what happens, in a perverse sort of way. I believe it helps me understand how the things that do work actually work. When I was fit enough to ski, my greatest skill was getting back onto my feet without slowing down much. Must be the way my brain is wired.

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    ... and luckily the social media such as Facebook and Twitter can help raise the heat on bad actors. At least now those affected can more easily band together with others. It's much more difficult for big, moneyed corporations to bury the skeletons.

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    Not quite got time to watch it all but I'll be back to finish it tomorrow. It really is amazing how people get around things these days.

    Quite recently I read an article about a piece of CSS or JS that people were using to offset your mouse so instead of clicking a link like enter you were clicking like or +1 as those buttons need a user to actually click. It's a really clever idea but really it's not right IMO.

    Edit: having watched it all I'll just point out Lovefilm does this as you have to call them to cancel your account they then try to persuade you to keep it as much as possible.
    Last edited by Clarkie; 19 March 2012 at 6:22 pm.

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