Once a Skype account is created, it can’t be deleted. Getting personal information off their system is a two step process according to Skype’s FAQ. First, one is to go to their profile and “Remove your personal details by adding random characters in the fields…” If you want your Skype name removed from the directory… Read more »
The “Roach Motel” is a broad category of Dark Pattern that subsumes most types listed on this site. Put simply, a Roach Motel makes it very easy for a user to get into a certain situation, but then makes it hard for them to get out of it when they realize it is undesirable. Email newsletter unsubscription is a well known example – whereby it is typically easy to subscribe, but much more effort is needed to unsubscribe. The revised CAN-SPAM 2008 rules state that this practice is forbidden for emails that have a primary purpose “to advertise or promote a commercial product or service”. (Unfortunately, CAN-SPAM does not cover “transactional or relationship” messages.)
During checkout at livenation.com, there’s an un-ticked checkbox that must be ticked to decline a paid subscription to Rolling Stone. Worse yet, this box is in the “Privacy Information” section. If you miss this checkbox and want to cancel the subscription, you have to do so by mail.
A contributor submitted this screenshot from buysubscriptions.fom as an example of forced continuation, but it’s also a roach motel. If you want to “discuss your subscription” you must phone customer service.
In the screengrab above, you can see Bravofly are hiding their marketing email opt-in within their Terms & Conditions.
When installing AVG free anti-virus the designers use misdirection in the hope you will accidentally install the accompanying toolbar. What should have happened: The checkbox should be off by default.
Stamps.com allows customers to sign up for a one month free trial which rolls over in to a paid subscription automatically and silently. If a customer then attempts to cancel their subscription, they are required to go through an arduous user journey to cancel. Firstly request to cancel via a comment form followed by the… Read more »
Auslogics auto-selects a checkbox during install of their software that leads to a customer downloading additional 3rd party ‘partner’ software. What should have happend: The customer should be given the choice as to whether or not they wish to download the additional 3rd party software. The default state of the checkbox should be off… Read more »
Trying to unsubscribe from paying for delivery of the print edition of Wired magazine (in the UK) is far more difficult than it should be. This is likely to cause users to drop-out from the unsubscription process, causing Wired to generate more revenue than they would otherwise have done. Here’s a walk-through of one user’s… Read more »
During the checkout process, very.co.uk have an option to pay using their own brand credit card (which requires you to sign up for one as part of the process). They cheekily hide the “pay with your own credit card” option right down at the bottom of the page, beneath a great sea of white space…. Read more »
The geni.com sign-up process is very elegant and well designed. However, what they don’t tell you is that in signing up, you are also opting in to 19(!) different types of email notification, including Geni.com marketing emails. As you may know, emails are a very valuable way of generating return traffic to a site. They… Read more »