In an attempt to “help make the internet a better place” and encouraging those stuck in their particular internet browser ways to upgrade to more up-to-date software, Australian online retailer Kogan.com has started a scheme to ‘tax’ those using Microsoft’s long-running (and painfully out-dated) Internet Explorer 7 to purchase items with a 6.8% charge placed on top of anything they buy through the store.
Although the strategic taxing of its users is not a lot more than a light-hearted appeal for its customers to move with the times in switching to a browser more in-keeping with modern internet standards to make its job slightly easier, Kogan itself is describing the move as a ‘world first’ and defends the tax wholeheartedly. In a tongue-in-cheek message aimed at IE7 as they try to click through to checkout, the retailer jokes; “It appears your system administrator has been in a coma for over five years and you are still using IE7. To help make the internet a better place, you will be charged a 6.8 per cent tax on your purchase from Kogan.com.” Customers are then given direct links to download any one of the most popular, recent web browsers including Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera.
In a blog post, Kogan.com defended itself in saying, “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.” Meanwhile, out-spoken founder of the retailer Ruslan Kogan has been characteristically defiant in pushing the tax onto customers and has already tweeted Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard urging her to push the tax into Australian law. He joked, “heard you’re good at [it]”.
An arrogant, stubborn and somewhat selfish excuse to make its own business run more smoothly at the expense of alienating its customer base, or a worthwhile and understandable attempt to implore the users of the internet to move with the times?