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.