Retailer PR stunt puts ‘tax’ on Internet Explorer 7 users

18/06/2012

Australian online retailer Kogan.com has introduced a spoof ‘tax’ on Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) browser. Customers who use IE7 will see a 6.8% extra surcharge on online purchases made through the firm's site appear on their bill. However, once they go through to the final checkout phase, the ‘tax’ will disappear.

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To help customers avoid the ‘tax’, Kogan has included a pop-up on its site which encourages customers to download either a different browser, or a newer version of IE. Kogan believes that the tax will contribute to improving the Internet.

Customers can easily avoid the tax by simply installing another brower (like Firefox, Opera, Safari or Chrome) or just by updating to a more recent version of Internet Explorer.

Chief executive Ruslan Kogan said the fake 6.8% charge represents 0.1% for every month since the IE7 launch.

He added that keeping the website compatible with IE 7 is costing lots of money.

Kogan CEO Ruslan Kogan told the BBC that “the amount of work and effort involved in making our website look normal on IE 7 equalled the combined time of designing for Chrome, Safari and Firefox.”

Kogan said that even though only 3% of his customers used the old version of the browser, his IT team had become pre-occupied with making adaptations to make pages display properly on IE 7.

Kogan said his goal is to encourage users to download a more up-to-date version of Internet Explorer or a different browser.

The PR stunt has certainly paid off, with Kogan’s blog post already generating several thousand shares on Facebook and Twitter.

According to StatCounter, IE7 users comprise 1.5 per cent of total Web browser users worldwide as of May 2012.

IE7 was launched in 2006, but since then Microsoft has released two major updates to the software. The launch of Internet Explorer 10 is due in the autumn.

Read the official company announcement here

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