Thursday, January 9, 2020

Dark Patterns on Travel Websites

Chris Baraniuk:

Being a cyber-security researcher, she was familiar with web code so she decided to examine how OneTravel displayed its web pages. (Anyone can do this by using the “inspect” function on web browsers like Firefox and Chrome.) After a little bit of digging she made a startling discovery – the number wasn’t genuine. The OneTravel web page she was browsing was simply designed to claim that between 28 and 45 people were viewing a flight at any given moment. The exact figure was chosen at random.

Via Nick Heer:

Also, many of the biggest travel booking websites are owned by just a couple of companies: Bookings Holdings runs, Priceline, Kayak, and Cheapflights; the Expedia Group owns Expedia,, Hotwire, Orbitz, Travelocity, and Trivago. Each group shares the same inventory, and they all use the same tactics. Users simultaneously get the impression that they’re shopping around and competing with other users, when neither is true.

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I reckon most people suspected as much but it's nice to have it confirmed. Wonder if getting people to rush into a purchase due to false information legally constitutes fraud?

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