Australian retailer charges customers IE 7 "Tax"

Australian retailer charges customers IE 7 "Tax"

Summary: It's more of a marketing stunt than anything else, but Austalian electronics retailer Kogan really is charging IE 7 users an extra 6.8% "tax."

TOPICS: Browser

Australian online retailer Kogan is levying an IE 7 tax.

Australian online retailer Kogan is levying an IE 7 "tax."

If you're shopping for electronics online at Australian retailer Kogan, an Oz equivalent of the U.S.' Best Buy with the horribly out of date Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 7 browser brace yourself for a nasty surprise. Kogan will charge you an extra 6.8% sales “tax” on your purchase.

In a blog post, the company explains, “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.

While I'm sure this is primarily a sales stunt, there is some truth to Kogan's problem. It has been expensive to write Web pages that will render properly in both IE 7 and the even more out of date, but not dead yet, IE 6. Today, according to NetMarketShare Web browser numbers, 6.17% of the Web population are still using IE 6 and 3.43% are using IE 7. That's a lot of zombie Web browsers still in play.

Mind you, companies like Amazon and Google stopped supporting IE 6 in 2010 and Microsoft started strongly encouraging people to dump IE 6 in 2011, but like a bad horror movie monster IE 6 "lives" on. Despite everyone's efforts, even by Microsoft's own official count in May IE 6 still staggers on with 6.3% of the market.

Kogan could have, and should have, levied a surcharge on IE 6 users as well. Besides being more numerous, supporting IE 6 is actually far more troublesome for Web designers.

What Microsoft wants you to do is to switch to IE 8, if you're running Windows XP. There is a newer version, IE 9, but Microsoft won't release it for XP. If you're running Vista or Windows 7, you can move to IE 9. Windows 8 will offer IE 10.

Kogan doesn't care if you stay loyal to Microsoft's browsers. In fact, their IE 7 alert message carries the icons for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Apple. Me? I think the best use of any version of IE is to download a better browser, say Google Chrome.

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Topic: Browser

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  • As usual no research whatsoever ...

    "While I???m sure this is primarily a sales stunt..."
    If you could have just looked around or even tried yourself.


    But hey, I have given up expecting truth,facts or research from you.
    • SJVN should include an update to his article

      with that revealing scoop. Nice find, but it does prove his hunch that this whole thing is primarily a [s]sales[/s] publicity stunt.
  • Just don't support it

    There's a much easier way. Just have the server detect the browser and if it's IE6 or IE7, just serve up a page, "Sorry, you are using Internet Explorer 6 or 7. This website does not support those obsolete browsers."

    Realistically, the number of people who would be affected and ticked off is miniscule.
    • Indeed!

      And they shouldn't be shopping for discount flat screen TV's at work anyway. I'd say 98% of the browsers running IE6 and 7 are on enterprise machines that had ASP apps written for them shortly after the turn of the century that are now not compatible with later versions of IE!
      Most of the Oracle HR suite only run on IE7 as its latest version.
    • They're obviously trying to motivate people to upgrade!

      Refuse people's business and they will just go elsewhere instead. And probably keep using IE7 too.

      Personally, I like this new approach :-).
  • yeah . . .

    "While I???m sure this is primarily a sales stunt, there is some truth to Kogan???s problem. It has been expensive to write Web pages that will render properly in both IE 7 and the even more out of date, but not dead yet, IE 6."

    As somebody who was doing web development for a while back then - good grief, yeah, it was a major, [i]major[/i] problem getting things to work with IE6. Glad to see IE6 usage is down - but [b]not[/b] glad to see it's still above 1%, grr.

    I wouldn't mind developing for IE8 or 9 so much, they're big improvements from what IE used to be. But IE6 - *shivers*. No, don't want to think about it anymore. I don't think I'll ever develop for IE6 ever again.
  • Hire some new programmers

    I produce interactive eLearning using HTML/Javascript with graphics, text and synchronised audio and video which uses either Flash or HTML 5 for audio/video. It works on IE 6 thru IE10, as well as the other browsers.

    While I can sympathise with supporting various browsers and versions, we are only talking a web page, nothing difficult, as you can see if you went to Kogan's site. Seems more like the people he got to do it were using a stock CMS and just wanted to make the job easier for them.
    • Yeah, right.

      You can find comparability libraries for IE6 but it is a pain in the ^*&* to develop for IE6/IE7. And rendering is slooooooowwww. I mean try to render 10000 nodes in IE6/7. I will see you next month.
      I can believe that Flash apps work fine in IE6. HTML5? Give me a break. You have to jump through some Javascript hoops to get it working. Same with IE7 or IE8 for that matter.
  • Huh?

    I'm a bit confused - you say, "In fact, their IE 7 alert message carries the icons for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Apple." Safari is Apple. Apple makes Safari. There's no difference. Why list both?
  • RAW HTML is my choice.

    When I'm finally ready to start coding, I will be engaging in Linear Programming in RAW HTML. I will not be using Java or Flash. I will not be using some weird interface to create junk-filled code for me. That means that my product should be able to run on almost anything from Netscape 2 all the way to IE 10. When it comes to PHP and Tables, my opinion and approach may change.