Note the big, bright green “STAY PREMIUM” button at the bottom of the form shown here. It screams “click me!”, unlike the “CONTINUE” link that fades into the background. When the user clicks on the giant button, Spotify has successfully tricked one of their customers into keeping their paid subscription, right?
While this might seem like a slick, revenue generating idea within the confines of a Spotify conference room, reality is much different. The user has decided to cancel, they’ve entered their password and filled out the form. Rather than happily continue with their membership after being tricked, the user will start the cancellation process again. However, the second time around they will be frustrated. Is this the sort of feeling Spotify wants its users to walk away with?
For good measure, Spotify uses this dark pattern again on the next screen in the cancellation process. Not a surprise from a company that has made the cancellation of their premium service difficult in the past.
Spotify’s users deserve better treatment than this. As I said before, Spotify provides a great service that many people are happy to pay for. There’s no need to trick customers into keeping their service when they are trying to cancel it.
Update 2014-11-12: Spotify made some changes that make this pattern slightly less dark.