Fascinating discussion. Let me share something that I do believe is
I've been talking with the webmaster for several porn sites to learn
more about streaming video. She (yes, she) told me a creepy story about
how one site coerces new subscribers to submit to the recurring monthly
charge rather than the one-time-only three-day sample period. In other
words, rather than paying a one-time fee of USD 9.95, your credit card
gets billed USD 29.95 each and every month.
Here's how the scam works.
On the sign-up form, you check which payment period you want.
There is a really goofy field on the form that is almost always filled
out wrong. For ethical reasons, I'm not going to go into details. But
surely you are all clever enough to design a bad form of your own.:-)
When you submit the form, it points out your error. What most people
miss is that the checkbox for payment period has been reset. So folks
correct the highlighted error and submit - but without reviewing their
The site sends a confirmation e-mail where the amended payment period
information is innocuously mentioned. That means when you complain, the
company can refer to their original confirmation e-mail - "If there are
any errors in your order, please report them to us within the next 24
hours." Virtually no one notices the error - they're too busy looking at
tits and ass.
So, the company has suckered 29.95 out of people instead of 9.95. And
apparently most people don't react until the second month is well
The funny thing is, I regularly run into dumb forms that reset things
when I need to correct an entry. Since money is rarely involved, I just
get irritated. But in generic terms, this is almost the same thing. For
example, try registering for the German social networking site www.mixxt.net <http://www.mixxt.net/> . It's really easy to make errors
and some stuff gets reset, if I remember correctly.
Conclusion: as the guardians of user-experience design, we have an
obligation to protect users.
The FatDUX Group
Copenhagen, Denmark http://www.fatdux.com
office: (+45) 39 29 67 77
mobile: (+45) 20 12 88 44