Customers shopping at Australian online retailer Kogan.com will be charged an additional browser tax if they are visiting the web site using Microsoft Internet Explorer version 7. The company cites the extra time and therefore costs in making their website display and work correctly in an “antique browser” as the impetus behind implementing the tax.
The browser tax is set at 6.8 per cent or 0.1 per cent for every month since the launch of IE7. Chief Exec Ruslan Kogan said that while only three per cent of customers use IE7 a hugely disproportionate amount of time gets used by his web design team massaging their pages to work and display correctly within the browser.
Ruslan Kogan is the entrepreneur behind Kogan.com, an online retailer in Australia projected to hit over $100 million in sales this year. Mr Kogan is Australia’s wealthiest self-made business person under 30 and likes to court controversy and of course, make money. This latest wheeze seems to be helping him do both as it’s been widely reported worldwide and “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” in fact the tax has been welcomed by most comments published so far. Especially vocal support comes from comments made by self confessed by web hairdressers designers.
Visitors to the Kogan.com site do get a warning about the tax they will have to pay and are offered download links for “better browsers”. The Kogan Blog explains the company's earnest and altruistic motives behind the tax “As Internet citizens, we all have a responsibility to make the Internet a better place. By taking these measures, we are doing our bit. This will help us increase our efficiency, help keep prices for all smart shoppers down, and hopefully help eradicate the world of the pain in the rear that is IE7! So, what are you waiting for? Time to upgrade your browser!”
However the whole IE7 tax thing is, unsurprisingly, a marketing stunt as the fellows at Neowin.net illustrate with their badly rendered IE7 screens taken from Kogan.com and also the revealing the fact that at the payment stage the IE7 tax is not charged to the purchaser. Actually the Kogan website credit card payment page doesn’t even function correctly in IE7…
Instead of this negative reinforcement technique of trying to get people to change browser it would be more genuine of Kogan to provide positive reinforcement for people who use the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, IE, Opera or whatever by offering those users a discount. That might not get as many headlines though.