This, and its equivalent "stock level countdown", has become an instant red flag for me. If I see one I cancel all interest in ordering that product from that company. I don't think I've seen one that is genuine (opening the page in another browser and seeing the count reset to a value, or seeing a fresh countdown started on a visit not long after the previous one ended) and I don't appreciate being lied to. And these things are lies: not misdirection, exaggeration, or any other softer word, they are outright lies and I refuse to trust companies/individuals that tell them so won't be handing over my payment details.
> Sneaking & Hidden Costs
I'm perfectly happy to make a little effort, even to pay a little extra, to find other sources for what I'm buying when I see this happen. Unfortunately I think I'm in a minority here and such trickery is getting more prevalent (so harder to avoid) for that reason.
> Even viewing products requires signing up and creating and account.
That is where my old friend Mr Fake McFakeFake who lives at Faketown, Fakeshire, FA1 1AF, plays his part. Or of course just walking away on the basis that if your offer was that good you would openly display it.
The eCommerce site I used to work at was 100% genuine, though might have been a few minutes delayed as we had a bunch of caching layers due to our scale.
It is the in-your-face, ticking down occasionally (or even regularly) as you look, ones, that are an automatic turn off. I don't even check those these days because every time when I used to they were obviously not real.
"All prices (expressed in Euros) exclude € 27.50 reservation fee, obligatory: € 7.95 p.p. bed linen per person per stay, € 6.95 p.p. cot linen, tourist tax € 1.85
some countries requires that everything obligatory is included in the main price, or at least displayed with the same font, size, and placement.
this pattern should be generally illegal IMHO.
Well either that or I was fleeced.
I’m sure someone else (or even the same seller) has the same item for $175 and free shipping for those wanting to indirectly donate an extra $20 to eBay shareholders.
I was probably on a list for selling games for $0.01 and clearly specifying $7 shipping in the title.
I think it’s time to move on...
The traveling industry is the worst here.
In 2016 I tried to book a holiday. I wanted it to have an okay price, good food, and a beach. I didn't even have a specific country in mind.
Took me weeks to find something. I quickly noticed why we have so many traveling agencies in Germany.
The longer you click through a buying process on such sites the more your price goes up, sometimes you pay more than double than what was advertised on page one.
It seems inevitable that companies started gaming their pricing so they could appear on the top of the list.
Online marketing isn't clever or innovative, it's just using all the tricks that people wouldn't put up with in a face-to-face sales environment. 20 years ago when I bought my first car the salespeople used things like "I've sold 5 of these today!", "I can only do that price right now!" and "If you don't buy today you'll have to wait 8 weeks". Those pressure selling techniques are one of the reasons people don't like car salespeople, and why car showrooms are a bit different today (eg Tesla). Exactly the same things happen online though, and it's awful.
Whenever it's time for me to buy a car, I first decide exactly the model I want, then research all the sellers. I call them all at once and tell them I'm buying this particular car TODAY and inform them that I'm in touch with 8 other salespeople. Except that I'm not lying, and most of them pick up on the seriousness and actually make an attempt to compete.
Bonus: do this on the last day of a quarter and you sometimes get salespeople who are trying to meet their quota.
All marketing is intended to be coercive of course, but I think you land in dark pattern territory when your coercion is no longer related to the value propositions of your product. Saying "You need this TV because it has great definition!" is just selling your product. But saying "You need this TV because TIM bought one, we only have three left and this deal runs out in 9 minutes!" is just plain old bullying someone into buying, regardless of what the item was.
Often enough too, TIM didn't buy one, there is a backorder of 1000 units being delivered this week, and the deal will just start again after the current ticker finishes.
If there truly are 3 items left, that is a legit fact that matters. And it’s context that I had in retail. Likewise, sales do run out.
That said, online retailers don’t seem to need to meet any true in advertising standard, and they are mostly full of shit.
On legacy carrier official websites, not OTA or LCC like Ryanair.
If you mean before you bought the ticket, then I don't know. Maybe they are the last ones to be honest here... But I would be surprised if they were
The downside is that companies are supposed to enforce the law on each other, it only goes to court if they disagree. If everybody in a certain industry does this stuff, nobody has incentive to force them to comply. Consumers, clients etc do not have means to enforce it, though a handful of special associations ("Verbraucherschutzvereine", literally consumer protection associations) have been given the right to enforce it on behalf of consumers.
No need to fake it, you can just make it up. “this discount only valid on this special day”
And you make a discount and you take it away after that day. There’s both your urgency and your scarcity. Neither was fake.
It won’t get you new buyers but it’s a great way to nudge people who were thinking of buying anyway over the edge.
However, if you do it systematically, if you offered that "special day" discount also yesterday and will offer it tomorrow then it's de facto the regular price, telling that it's valid only today is literally a lie, violates false advertising law (which goes into detail on how discounts can be advertised, so simply gaming it with definitions doesn't wowrk) and would get your store fined so hard for lying to customers.
Yes, misleading people to drive them over the edge works, that's the whole point. If it didn't work then we wouldn't care, but since it does work we as a society have chosen that we don't want that and merchants aren't going to be allowed to use such practices.
The same goes for advertising & only having few items. For example, supermarkets that advertise a special offer need to have "reasonable" amounts in stock - you can't say "new iPhone X only 10 Euros" to draw in buyers and then just have two in stock.
If you want an example: https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/j-sainsbury-plc-a17-404229.ht...
Rotating a price between £4 and £3 every 21 days was considered to be misleading.
Reality may be shades of gray, but the simple gold standard of transactions is still "exchanging currency for value at a price point optimal to both parties". Under this standard, all these techniques are dark.
If you want to get rid of marketing dark patterns, the solution is simple: just make sure all humans remove emotion and feelings from every decision, and give them the time and money to find all possible alternative sources for the desired product or service.
When one side gets to obscure facts like this and honestly just be downright deceitful, it's time to get out the paddle. Unfortunately I don't really have a lot of faith in the US government to do the right thing right now. Maybe the EU.
because they worked in the past.
For me I can list Digikey ( https://www.digikey.com/ ), my recent experience ordering from them was flawless.
I'm a repeat user of your booking site, why would you treat me like a naive fool?
"Consumers Are Becoming Wise to Your Nudge"
We didn't put it there to create urgency. The feature is there due to customer demand for it. Customers do not want to be surprised and disappointed when something turns out to be back ordered. They've made it very clear that they want this transparency.
Perhaps some sites misrepresent this (or just make it up). But the fact that inventory information is shown isn't in itself a dark pattern.
In a capitalist market where the one main goal is to earn as much profit as you can people use everything legal on a big scale because they won't have a chance to beat competition otherwise.
The really big ones even invent new "dark patterns" and more than enough are also willing to do stuff which is illegal as long as they can cover their tracks or think they can.
It's a flaw in the whole system because incentives lead people to morally questionable decisions. It doesn't advance humanity or something like that - a free market is free so no one stops the evil geniuses to get the max. out of it.
Probably the original dark pattern.