June 19, 2012
Australian eCommerce Site Looks To Rid The Web Of IE7 With A Tax
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com
Whether they stick with Internet Explorer 7 because they don't like change, or they don't notice the Windows Update icon in the system tray, about 4 percent of internet users worldwide still use Internet Explorer 7. The headache it causes web designers reaches migraine levels to continue coding for an outdated browser is well represented by an online consumer electronics dealer based in Australia. Kogan.com has instituted a highly avoidable 6.8 percent tax for users of the legacy browser.
"Today at Kogan we've implemented the world's first 'Internet Explorer 7 Tax'. The new 6.8 percent tax comes into effect today on all products purchased by Kogan.com, by anyone still insistent on using the antique browser," a notice states on the Kogan.com website.
Kogan.com makes its efforts to get people to abandon a browser released over five years ago a comical issue. The impression is that the online retailer would really rather not charge a penalty for users of the old browser. The notice to IE7 users, which states, "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% tax on your purchase from Kogan.com."
The warning offers a way out of the costly tax. "This is necessary due to the amount of time required to make web pages appear correctly in IE7." The notice then post icons and links for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Opera, which users can install and log into Kogan.com to purchase items without paying the IE7 penalty.
While the eCommerce site's beef is with IE7, and doesn't appear to have complaints about later versions of Internet Explorer such as IE8 and IE9, the notice does not offer IE9 - the current version of Microsoft's browser - as a suggestion.
The online retailer says about 3 percent of its site visitors use the outdated browser. It came up with the 6.8 percent to tax that minority of users by adding 0.1% for each month IE7 has been on the market. It's possible, though Kogan.com hasn't said it, that the tax will increase if users continue to use IE7 to purchase goods from the site.
Kogan.com's tax is a marketing ploy. As much as the site instituted it to get people to ditch an old browser; the online retailer publicized its new tax to get media attention. It has gained media pickup from news organizations including The BBC; Gizmag, an international news site with operations in Australia; Forbes; The Times of India, TechCrunch and a number of other news sites on the web. It's not Kogan.com's first attempt to grab some media attention. In March 2008 it launched Kevin37 HDTV as a spoof on the popular stimulus packages enacted by many countries, including Australia.
Still, Kogan.com is not alone in its quest to kill off Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7. The site The Internet Explorer 7 Countdown has one goal: "Moving the world off Internet Explorer 7." The site urges internet users to join the cause; educate others; and tell friends in order to get the 4 percent worldwide figure of IE7 users to transition to a more current browser. By the site's estimations, North America and Asia have the highest percentage of IE7 users with 5 percent each. Australia, where Kogan.com operates, has 4 percent of its population of internet users still loading up IE7 to go online. Some of the numbers listed on the countdown site might be outdated, but StatCounter's global stats shows a gradual decline with the browser approaching zero at a slow pace. As of May 2012 IE7 accounted for 1.53 percent of internet users worldwide.