Chrome will start to warn for websites that charge users with unclear subscriptions

Posted 09 November 2018 23:56 CET by Jan Willem Aldershoff

A new version of Google Chrome will warn users for unclear subscription pages. Every month, millions of Chrome users encounter websites that try to sell subscriptions with unclear conditions, according to Google. Usually, the subscription starts by simply entering a mobile phone number.

Users often only notice they have a paid subscriptions once they receive their phone bill. The pages from which the subscriptions are sold are usually unclear about the (recurring) costs. Google wants this to change and wants website owners to make clear to users that they are purchasing a subscription and how much it will cost them per month.

When the new Chrome version detects pages from which subscriptions are sold, but where no clear information is provided about the subscription, it will show a warning before the page is loaded stating, “The page ahead might try to charge you money”. Users can then decided to proceed or to go back.

Webmasters of  websites where the unclear subscriptions are sold, are warned through the Google Search Console. Once they fix the issue, the warning will be removed. Google has published best practices for webmasters that describe how they can comply with, what Google calls, a clearly visible and understandable billing process.

The measure will be rolled-out to both the desktop and mobile version of Chrome 71, which is scheduled for December.

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