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Illuminating Dark Patterns

If you spend any time online—and these days, who doesn’t?—you’re probably familiar with confusing user interfaces and the often-frustrating elements of the online experience.

Pop-ups that shame you into providing your email address to sign up and save. (No, thanks. I don’t want to save 10%!)

Deep discounts and special offers that you can only get if you join a loyalty program or sign up for a subscription.

Checkout processes that force you to navigate through screen after screen offering upgrades, premium options or “limited time” offers. (“Only hours left to save!”)

Sometimes it’s so subtle you could easily miss it: prechecked boxes that opt you in to marketing emails. Additional items like extended warranties, protection plans, subscriptions or service fees that are added to your cart right before checkout. Free trials that convert to paid services once the trial ends. Or subscriptions that are difficult to cancel.

As these manipulative online practices—known as “dark patterns”—multiply like pop-ups in your browser tabs, regulators, lawmakers, class action lawyers and consumer watchdog groups are taking notice—and taking action.

At Loeb & Loeb, we know that today’s online marketplace is more competitive and complicated than ever. Reaching consumers with attractive offers and steering them through the sales process is critical to driving revenue, but the line between a great online user experience and one that violates consumer protection and privacy laws is becoming harder and harder to navigate.

That’s why many of the world’s most recognized brands, from consumer, health and beauty, retail, automotive, entertainment and telecommunications companies to leading tech companies and e-commerce platforms, turn to Loeb & Loeb to help create compliant—and effective—digital marketing and avoid regulatory actions, consumer complaints and costly litigation.