Shadow of Subscription Services:Dark Patterns
Shadow of Subscription Services:Dark Patterns
  • Kim Hyeon-seo (ST Cub-Reporter)
  • 승인 2024.07.08 13:37
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The subscription service is activated, and many people probably used it at least once. However, dark patterns can also cause consumers to consume unreasonably. Learn about the types of dark patterns, and hope that Soongsilians use the subscription service wisely. ......Ed


     Soongsilians have probably used subscription services at least once. Recently, many people have subscribed to OTT(over-the-top) services such as Netflix, YouTube Premium, and so forth. Subscription services refer to economic activities where users regularly pay a subscription fee for the use of goods or services. There are three main types of subscription services: ‘Content type’ OTT services require you to pay a subscription fee for the unlimited use of the service for a month. ‘Regular delivery type’ delivers a certain amount of goods, while the ‘Rental type’ lends high-priced goods. These subscription services have become popular as the demand for non face-to-face services increased after COVID-19, and users’ consumption habits have changed.

     By using these subscription services, consumers can save time when choosing products. Also, they can enjoy different experiences rather than merely buying something at a low cost. However, these subscription services use ‘dark patterns’ to make consumers spend irrationally. Dark pattern refers to a user interface that is designed to deceive people. It is called a consumer-inducing scam or a trick design. Dark pattern induces consumers to make irrational purchases, such as by making it difficult to cancel membership or by adding hidden costs. The Fair Trade Commission proposed a dark pattern regulation bill, which focuses on four types:

     1. Deception type: It refers to a scam that unknowingly extends a subscription, or adds additional charges to the price that was first presented at the time of payment.

     2. Trickery type: It induces mistakes or misconceptions. It misleads consumers by pretending that the product or service is discounted even if it is not, or by pre-selecting a specific option.

     3. Interfering type: It refers to making it too difficult to collect and analyze information necessary for decision-making. A typical example is hiding the ‘cancel’ and ‘withdraw’ buttons.

     4. Pressure type: It refers to the act of pressuring consumers psychologically to prevent specific actions, such as canceling purchases or services. An example is displaying phrases like ‘Giving up benefits’ or ‘Stock running out soon.’

     Subscription services are a typical example where these dark patterns are used. They bring convenience to our daily lives, but they also induce irrational consumption through dark patterns. I hope Soongsilians will carefully look out for these dark patterns when using subscription services so that you can use these subscription services wisely.


Kim Hyeon-seo (ST Cub-Reporter)

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