Marketing Currents - Business and Marketing Current Events

‘Dark patterns’: Regulators eye tech tricks that hurt consumers


Tech companies, subscription apps and e-commerce sites have for years used subtle tricks to nudge people toward a decision or purchase they might not otherwise make. There’s even a name for the tactics: dark patterns.

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Discussion Questions:

  1. What are “dark patterns”, as it relates to marketing, based on information from this story?
  2. What is one specific example of something a company might do that would be considered to be a dark pattern?
  3. What is deceptive marketing?
  4. What are ethics?
  5. Is deceptive marketing legal? Is it ethical?
  6. Is deceptive marketing the same thing as dark patterns? Why or why not?
  7. Can you think of a time where you personally have been subjected to deceptive marketing or dark patterns?
  8. Who is the FTC?
  9. In addition to the FTC, who else is responsible for protecting consumers from deceptive marketing tactics?
Chris Lindauer
After working for nearly a decade in professional sports, Chris Lindauer, formed Sports Career Consulting to provide unique sports business education opportunities in and out of the classroom. In the eighteen years (and counting) that followed, Chris has inspired thousands of students to pursue their passions and explore the career of their dreams. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, two teenage daughters and their dog.