Call of ACM: help think about preventing online deception of consumers


Would you like to help think about the prevention of deception and unwanted online behavioral persuasion? Do you have any expertise in influencing consumer behavior, either as an academic, policymaker, public affairs advisor, or online marketing expert? If so, we invite you to help flesh out professional standards for online behavioral persuasion. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) would like to ask you several questions about behavioral persuasion in online choice architectures for consumers.

ACM is working on guidelines for businesses regarding online behavioral persuasion of consumers

ACM is working on guidelines regarding consumer persuasion in online choice architectures. How do online consumers choose their products or services, and how does the online company influence that choice, for example, using bigger buttons, pop-ups, additional colors, pre-ticked checkboxes, or texts? More and more consumers shop online, for example in online stores, through comparison websites, and in mobile shopping apps. Businesses collect data on consumers who shop online. With that data, they become increasingly better at steering consumer behavior. ACM wants businesses to take into account consumer interests, when persuading those consumers online in order to make certain choices. And ACM seeks to combat persuasive strategies that are based on deception and coercion. ACM will publish practical guidelines so that businesses are able to make the right choices in their behavioral-persuasion decisions. In order to make the guidelines as relevant as possible, ACM would like to hear from different civil-society groups what trends and developments they are currently seeing, and what their opinions about those trends and developments are.

Why should you answer this call for information?

Your responses to the questions will help ACM include familiar and real-world examples of good and bad persuasive strategies in the guidelines. You will also help ACM gain insight into the questions that representatives of businesses and consumers face. That is how you can help improve the protection of online consumers and create a level playing field for online businesses.

Who can respond, when and how?

ACM is specifically calling on behavioral and online marketing experts in the private sector and in academia to respond, as well as individuals who have expertise in this field, working for trade or consumer associations. The questions can be found here.

You can send your responses to ACM’s questions to Please send them no later than August 16, 2019.

The information that ACM collects will be used in the drafting of the ‘Guidelines regarding online choice architectures’. The draft version of the guidelines will be released in the fall for public consultation. ACM expects the final guidelines to be released in late-2019.