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The dark side of marketing.

Howdy, money nerds. Rise and shine. It’s time for your daily dose of top money stories from around the web. Today, we’re looking at the dark side of marketing.

Dark patterns at scale. [Princeton University] — “Dark patterns are user interface design choices that benefit an online service by coercing, steering, or deceiving users into making unintended and potentially harmful decisions. We conducted a large-scale study, analyzing ~53,000 product pages from ~11,000 shopping websites to characterize and quantify the prevalence of dark patterns.” [See also: the dark pattern challenge.]

How advertisers convinced Americans they smelled bad. [Smithsonian magazine] — “Naysayers might argue that western society would have eventually developed its dependence on deodorants and antiperspirants without Murphey and Young, but they certainly left their mark in the armpits of America, as did the heat of New Jersey’s summer of 1912.” [This story is fascinating! Did you know B.O. used to be considered manly? True story.]

Microsoft’s ebook apocalypse shows the dark side of digital books. [Wired] — “Your iTunes movies, your Kindle books — they’re not really yours. You don’t own them. You’ve just bought a license that allows you to access them, one that can be revoked at any time. And while a handful of incidents have brought that reality into sharp relief over the years, none has quite the punch of Microsoft disappearing every single ebook from every one of its customers.”

And here’s an instructive little video on how IKEA (and other stores) gets you to impulsively buy more. It’s like “dark patterns” in real life, eh?

I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of marketing. Manipulating people into purchasing your products doesn’t sound ethical or nice. (I’m sure I’ll get hate-mail for saying that…)

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