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The Internet Australia Internet Explorer Technology

Aussie Online Retailer Impose IE7 Tax 365

Posted by samzenpus
from the cost-of-an-upgrade dept.
First time accepted submitter Techy77 writes "Online retailer Kogan will impose a new tax on its customers that visit its website using Microsoft's outdated Internet Explorer 7 web browser, which means they will spend 6.8 percent more than customers on browsers like Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome. From the article: 'Kogan said his company was able to keep prices low by using technology to make its business efficient and streamlined. however its web team was having to spend a lot of time making its new website look normal on IE7. "It’s not only costing us a huge amount, it’s affecting any business with an online presence, and costing the Internet economy millions,” Mr Kogan said. “As Internet citizens, we all have a responsibility to make the Internet a better place. By taking these measures, we are doing our bit.”'"
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Aussie Online Retailer Impose IE7 Tax

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @05:44AM (#40320361)
    Wouldnt it just be as effective to block IE7, or stop making effort to code for it ?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:01AM (#40320447)

      No, 'cos that wouldn't get you the free publicity of being on /., boing boing etc. I've never heard of Kogan, and I lived in Aus for 7 years. Do now.

    • No.
    • by arbiter1 (1204146)
      What i was thinking, since site can be coded for certain browsers like computer and mobile, they could set it separate page up for if they are using IE7 it sends them to a simple page saying you are using an old version with links to either firefox, chrome or the newer version of IE.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      No, just state up front 'we care about your business, we don't support your browser since its really really old and you may have problems, but good luck'. That would be a better solution to give a PAYING CUSTOMER.

      Except for the *AAs ( and the book publishers now i guess ) which have completely lost their minds, when did it become accepted business practice to piss on your customers?

  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CTU (1844100) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @05:44AM (#40320367) Journal

    While I am sure there will be people complaining, I do have to say I think this is a good idea. It helps get people to using more up to date web browser and stops dragging things along. It also helps keep prices low by making those people help pay the extra coast to keep there outdated browser still working for this their site.

    • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) <(mojo) (at) (world3.net)> on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:23AM (#40320861) Homepage

      Most people using IE7 are probably stuck with it at work or on a work laptop and can't do anything about it, so I doubt it will "encourage" much upgrading unfortunately.

    • by fa2k (881632)
      This thing is indeed pretty harmless, but it scares me that vendors can set different prices based on arbitrary criteria. It shifts the balance of knowledge (power) from the consumer to the vendor. Companies do secret discounts all the time, but usually just for B2B relationships and one-off sales. Suppose Amazon shows me a book, and the price is $ 20, but if a better customer looks at the book, they see $ 10 (Amazon got a patent for this some years ago IIRC). We'd be in for all kinds of confusion, as comp
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @05:52AM (#40320409)

    Then we can can go back and eradicate the outhouse developers who wrote code that doesn't run on browsers other than IE7 in business environments and for which there is no budget to develop new costly solutions.

  • IE6 (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ...gets you shot.

    • by Yeti.SSM (869826)
      As I can tell so far, using IE 3.0 doesn't (I just tried). The "BUY NOW" button doesn't work, though.
      Same stuff for Mosaic 1.0 and 3.0 (crash). The site seems to work in Lynx but I was unable to find the shopping cart in the 23 pages of rubbish.

      The fancy JavaScript doesn't work in SeaMonkey 2.13a1 nightly (build 20120613003002) for some reason. Too bad, I won't buy anything then (here in Europe)...
  • economy of scale (Score:2, Insightful)

    Presumably if this has the intended impact of motivating people to upgrade their browser, or even if it just drives them away from the site, as the number of IE7 using customers decreases, the rate of tax will have to increase.

    The same amount of effort will be required to make the site IE7 compatible, but there will be less people paying to cover that cost. Eventually I suppose it would come to a point where the tax would need to be so high that everyone will have upgraded or left.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No. At some point there will be so few people using IE7 that they will stop supporting it.

    • by Dan B. (20610)

      Read the article. it is less than 1% of people who visit the website

    • by dkf (304284)

      as the number of IE7 using customers decreases, the rate of tax will have to increase

      That would only follow if there was a requirement to cover the costs of IE7 out of the revenue obtained from the customers. Private businesses do not have to follow such a restrictive rule (and in fact almost always don't). Nor really do governments, but politics is a dirty game run by people who feel it necessary to act like morons.

      Look at the details, and you'll see that the costs of supporting IE7 were already wildly disproportionate to the revenue obtained from it, so increasing the charges still won't

  • Suckers! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:08AM (#40320493) Homepage

    I'm on IE6 and don't have to pay the tax lol.

  • by tsj5j (1159013) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:23AM (#40320571)

    Many users who run IE7 either have a.) no choice or b.) no idea what is IE7/IE8/IE9 and the differences between them.
    Instead of imposing a tax on them which confuses non-tech-savvy end-users, why not display the "IE7 not supported, please follow these instructions to upgrade"?

    This tax probably unnecessarily increases complexity in their billing systems, which is never a good thing.

    • by ledow (319597) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:07AM (#40320803) Homepage

      1) This is mainly a publicity stunt with an end message.

      2) If your billing system can't handle something like this, you probably shouldn't be running a business of that size.

      3) Do you really think they will argue if you phone up and tell them you were using Opera or Firefox with User Agent Switching and ask for the original price?

      4) Hitting customers in the wallet is the BEST way to grab their attention. I guarantee the response will be larger than if they'd put a 600-pixel-high red flashing banner warning about IE7 for IE7 users of their website.

      5) The point is: The people "with no choice" do have a choice. They can pay more or not order at all. Which is incentive enough, if you use this company a lot, to see about upgrading / switching to a better browser. ("Why have our costs to suppliers go up 10%? Because we use IE6? Why don't we install Firefox just for that purpose if nothing else?").

      IT has hidden behind the "the IT guys won't let us" banner for too long. If your systems absolutely, categorically cannot upgrade to later versions of IE or Firefox, then you have to wonder what your IT department actually DO for a living and just how much concern they have for the safety of your business data.

      It's no different to saying "Sorry, I can't stop logging in as root on an unfirewalled machine to browse Flash websites, the IT guys won't let me." - That would wash with my employers about as much as asking them to use Sinclair ZX Spectrums and pocket calculators instead of PC's. And what better way to demonstrate how out-of-touch your IT department is than to charge them MORE because of the hassle they cause OTHERS by using that old software (let alone the potential hassle they cause themselves).

  • by chrismcb (983081) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:38AM (#40320645) Homepage
    Aren't you effectively telling your customers... Try our site in ALL available browsers to see which one gives you the largest discount? Today they are charging for IE7, tomorrow for Opera and the day after that for Firefox?
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:56AM (#40320751) Journal

    This is a stunt, pure and simple. IE7 use is trivial and you can readily conclude that people who haven't upgraded in 10 years are NOT the primary customer of a computer retailer. People that cheap, don't buy stuff.

    The owner of the company is well known for pulling publicity stunts. And hopefully most aussies got a better sense of humor then the whiners above.

    As for those saying he should instead display a warning, the site does exactly that, http://www.afr.com/rw/2009-2014/AFR/2012/06/14/Photos/724adc40-b5bf-11e1-a3fb-e6c175e978e8_IE%20tax--236x197.jpg [afr.com]

    I wonder why so many are offended by a joke, maybe a lot of them really shouldn't be on this TECH site because they still run IE7 themselves?

    This is NOT a business plan or a real tax. It is a publicity stunt to create traffic at the cost of non-existent customers. You don't think that this company really thinks that after a plain warning that customers will be charged more, IE7 users will really pay the increased price? Mind you, they are IE7 users. In reality Kogan looked at their stats, saw a tiny non-significant IE7 usage that their web dev team still had to develop for at greater cost then this groups produces in profit and decided to stir the pot, get some free publicity and be considered by anyone with a sense of a humor as a bunch of all right blokes.

    • by Kidbro (80868)

      This is a stunt, pure and simple. IE7 use is trivial and you can readily conclude that people who haven't upgraded in 10 years are NOT the primary customer of a computer retailer.

      (emphasis mine)

      IE8 was released three, not ten years ago. Heck, IE7 wasn't even released ten years ago.

    • I looked at that image. "Avoid the tax; Use a better browser."

      The next two points are: "Don't mention IE8 / 9. Get sued into oblivion by Microsoft."

      This won't end well.
  • The steps (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:00AM (#40320785)

    1) Unknown company(lets call it B) reads story about another unknown company(lets call it A) becoming known by saying something about IE support.
    http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/05/29/1222235/startup-skips-ie-support-claims-100000-savings [slashdot.org]

    2) Unknown Company B makes up it's own press release about IE support

    3) Unknown Company B becomes known

    4) Profit.

  • by mcavic (2007672) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:16AM (#40320833)

    its web team was having to spend a lot of time making its new website look normal on IE7

    That's a common problem with "new" web sites. Try writing an "old" web site. It will do everything you need it to do, but it'll be faster, and run on every browser. It can still look very pretty, too.

    Or, at the very least, test in increments using various browsers, instead of once you're finished. When I was in college, incremental testing easily made the difference between passing and failing a programming course.

  • Wasn't there a story some months back about stores charging higher prices to those shopping from an iPad? Nothing to do with supports, just targetted pricing: Market research determined that iPad users would be willing to spend more in general (Presumably the penny-pinchers wouldn't buy iPads), and so it made business sense to use this correlation to determine more optimal prices on a targetted-for-the-user basis.
  • I used to work for a company some time ago and I clearly remember the amount of days those web dev spent just to get the website looking like all the others. I was surprised by the amount of days and headaches those guys spent just so that IE6 and 7 would look like all other browsers. But fortunately, the company was paid to do so, and their clients paid them....thank god they did.
  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @09:05AM (#40321477)

    I hate to be picky about word use, FSM knows I play fast and loose myself, but isn't it time to drop the use of tax as a word that is synonymous with fee and go back to the traditional meaning?

    Tax: a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.

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