Online shop 'taxes' buyers using an old browser
Filed under: Shopping & Deals
So why did they do it, and could this idea take off with other retailers?
The 'tax'The site is calling it the world's first "Internet Explorer 7 Tax". A spokesperson for the electricals site, Kogan.com, told the BBC the aim of the charge was to make back the time and costs involved in "rendering the website into a antique browser".
Apparently it was an idea the chief executive came up with during a site redesign. He realised that despite only making up 3% of users, those using the old browser were absorbing an inordinate amount of attention, because the site had to be able to work with the old technology. The tax is his idea of payback.
In a statement on its website, the company explained: "The way we've been able to keep our prices so low is by using technology to make our business efficient and streamlined. One of the things stopping that is our web team having to spend a lot of time making our new website look normal on IE7. This is an extremely old browser, so from today, anyone buying from the site who uses IE7 will be lumped with a 6.8% surcharge - that's 0.1% for each month IE7 has been on the market."
No need to payThe good news is that buyers will be able to avoid the charge by upgrading their browser to something more current - for free. It even offers a link to sites such as Safari and Firefox to enable them to do so. The site has admitted that it doesn't expect anyone to pay the charge - but hopes it will persuade the last remaining Explorer 7 customers to update their browser.
It added: "As Internet citizens, we all have a responsibility to make the Internet a better place. By taking these measures, we are doing our bit."
Will it spread?The question of whether the idea will take off may depend to a great extent on the publicity garnered by this move. The low number of IE7 users, and the fact that it is highly unlikely anyone will ever pay the charge, means it's not going to make the company any money.
However, the fact that this story is being covered around the world may be enough to get PR departments excited about the possibility of generating some free advertising with a similar move.
It is also getting some in the IT community excited. One reader of Kogan's blog responded: "I would LOVE to implement this on our site. It would be amazing to see the befores' and afters'. In fact, wouldn't it be great if this one action made people across the world UPGRADE THEIR DAMNED BROWSERS?"