Shady Marketing Is Here To Stay
It should come as no surprise that businesses and individuals sometime (more often than we know) reach into that deeply dark bag of marketing tricks known by many different names. I’ve heard marketing techniques called shady, deceptive, slick, crafty, underhanded, indirect and my favorite misleading, doesn’t misleading almost sound like they didn’t mean to do what they did.
Anyone who has been around the block more than once, has been misdirected by a fast talking slick huckster in the guise of a well meaning sales person. Don’t get me wrong I’m not disparaging salespeople, I’m disparaging those who pretend to be something they are not and use marketing as a cover that paints everyone in the business with the wrong brush.
And yes shady marketing is here to stay, but the more light we can shine on the slick practices taking place the more people will know to keep their eyes open.
Fast Company recently highlighted the actions from industry leader LinkedIn in one of their stories that highlighted the penalty they received A $13 Million Dollar Problem.
Still, what this amounts to is a non-trivial penalty for a company using dark UX patterns to trick users into doing things they don’t really want to do. As Dark Patterns, an excellent resource on these kinds of tactics, explains, this sort of bad design is purposeful. “They are not mistakes, they are carefully crafted with a solid understanding of human psychology, and they do not have the user’s interests in mind.”
The online world is no exception to these practices and as we recently learned not even highly successful online companies are immune from putting their toe into the dark water of shady marketing practices. It’s important that we hold these businesses and individuals accountable and I’d hope part of any settlement would include money for ongoing PSA campaigns to help educate the public.
Under California law, the sitting judge says has deemed this illegal. Consequently, if you were a member of LinkedIn’s “add connection” program between September 2011 and October 2014, you can submit a claim to get a payout.
You can read the judgement here.