Use Internet Explorer 7, Pay Extra: Retailer
An Australian retailer claims it will charge Internet visitors an extra 6.8 per cent tax if they buy from the vendor while browsing its site with Internet Explorer 7 (IE7). Not surprisingly, it appears users may not actually have to pay this fee.
Visitors to Kogan.com who are using Internet Explorer 7 will see a special pop-up screen reading:
"It appears you or your system administrator has been in a coma for over 5 years and you are still using IE7. To help make the Internet a better place, you will be charged a 6.8 percent tax on your purchase from Kogan.com. This is necessary due to the amount of time required to make web pages appear correctly in IE7." (Source: bbc.co.uk)
Ruslan Kogan, the company's chief executive, has since revealed that the idea came out of his frustration with trying to make the site compatible with Internet Explorer 7, which originally debuted in 2006. It's now widely regarded as technically outdated.
IE7 Time-Consuming For Developers
Kogan said that during a recent site revamp, it took as much time to get the pages working properly for Internet Explorer 7 as it took to ready the site for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
IE7 users who click to buy a product on the site will see the extra charge listed in their shopping basket. The 6.8 per cent figure was chosen to represent the 68 months that have passed since the browser version was released.
Browser Tax All Smoke and Mirrors
Once users get to the final payment page, however, the "tax" disappears and the user is charged only the correct price with no extra add-ons. As this isn't clear to users in advance, observers are eager to see if the site loses many IE7 purchasers because of concern about the extra fee. (Source: mashable.com)
Many think the 'tax' is primarily intended to highlight the problem of people using outdated browsers. Internet Explorer 7 was included on Windows Vista computers when they first shipped five years ago, so most people still using it have simply not bothered to update to a newer browser, despite it being free to do so.
Outdated browsers are a double security risk. First, they don't provide the added security features of newer browsers. Second, hackers have had more time to hunt down its security loopholes.
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