ninemsn Cynicsm

Maybe I’m just getting old. Logged into ninemsn’s music download site because I wanted to buy an album. I was asked to confirm my details, and presented with this message next to a checkbox:

“If you wish to receive information from ninemsn about promotions, special offers or competitions, please un-tick this box.”

Read it carefully. It says, if you want to receive promotional spam, don’t check this box. It’s a carefully thought about piece of psychology. If you are a regular net user, you’ll be used to these sorts of marketing list permissions. Except, the normal behaviour is that you check a box to accept something, to agree to something. Except here you are ‘unchecking’ the box to agree to something. In fact, by checking the box, you are NOT agreeing to something. If you follow my drift.

What ninemsn is hoping is that you will, like me most of the time, read the first part of the sentence, realise it’s a marketing list authority, presume that by checking the box you are agreeing to something EG accepting marketing emails. So you don’t check the box. And thus wind up getting marketing emails.

It’s a cynical reading of the anti-spam and privacy laws. What they really want you to do is accept being on a marketing list. So they’ve crafted an underhand statement to try and con you into agreeing to be on the list.

It’s sneaky, and completely unwarranted.

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