12 Ways Online Retailers Trick Consumers with Deceptive Design

The worst online offenders of using dark patterns.

While “dark patterns” first got their name in 2010, they are nothing new in the world of commerce (just think about those impossible-to-cancel Columbia House subscriptions from back in the day). But over the last decade, manipulative or deceptive tactics that pressure consumers into doing what a company wants — rather than what they want — have proliferated on the web, leading to an erosion of consumer trust.

Among the worst offenders online are:

  • Amazon, ranked the worst website overall with 11 of the 12 commonly recognized dark patterns; and
  • Beauty retailers, which use the most dark patterns on their sites of any category (3.6 per site on average).

Check out this infographic from Merchant Machine for a ranking of the online retailers that are the biggest offenders and a description of the dozen most common dark patterns in practice today.  

Online retailers that use the most dark patterns.
The 12 types of dark patterns used by online retailers.

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