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What if we added a 6.8% tax to your ThinkGeek order if you checked out using IE7? UK electronics site Kogan.com is trying it & says it's to offset the cost of web devs designing for IE7: http://j.mp/M7Mfok
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109 comments
 
Only government agencies may levy taxes.

Call it a "convenience fee." Everyone bends over and pays those.
 
it wouldn't matter, I doubt any geeks out there still/ever used IE7
 
That's hilarious! Also, I wouldn't mind. I use Chrome!
 
Too bad this fee couldn't be passed on to MS for their crappy non-standard-compliant approaches.

I'd phrase this as "still using IE 7 or below." Some idiots out there are still plugging along on IE 6 or even (gak) 5.
 
That is brilliant idea!
 
I'd support that, but you'd have to include IE8 somehow in the icons, and possibly link to upgrade the garbage away. You'd get some cart falloff though unfortunately
 
it'd get people to switch to a superior browser.
 
I think it's perfectly justifiable, since it really takes a lot of additional effort to make websites look good in IE. But in the specific case of ThinkGeek, there shouldn't even be a tax, just a page saying IE? You're not a geek; you're the opposite of a geek. GO AWAY!
 
Tax on stupidity?  I'm all for that!  Do we get a discount if we use Chrome?
 
Diabolical behaviour, not everyone upgrades at the drop of a hat, and not everybody knows they have a choice.
 
+Karl Windle This will teach them they have a choice. They don't have to complete the purchase...
 
Or they could just do a browser check that redirects users to the IE8/9 download page and not be jerks about it.
 
The only thing that could make this more hilarious is if they simply refused to take the order via IE7...but then you run the risk of losing customers. Then again, would you really care if you lost an IE7 customer?
 
+Paul Basehore And what of those who don't know how to excercise their choice?  Or what about the right to use IE7 if they wish, forcing people to use or not use a specific product is frowned upon in a lot of places.
 
They're not forcing people to use or not use a specific product. They're charging more because their costs are higher. That's fair.

EDIT: Yikes, just saw I used the wrong "their". = Embarrassing.
 
Unfortunately a lot of people are forced into their browser selection by their employer. I imagine the people that refuse to update on their personal computers are a small group.
 
I think this is an amusing idea. I like it.

People do of course have a right to use whatever browser they want, this wouldn't "force"  them to use or not use a specific product to make a purchase. They would just pay a bit more for it if they used an outdated browser.
 
+Jay Stembridge That's a good point. I can't imagine many people would be purchasing things from ThinkGeek for their jobs, though.

Although, that would be awesome.
 
+Jay Stembridge hopefully if more websites do this, more admins will hear complaints, so they will put pressure on their vendors to update their bs webapps.
 
Karl: Unless you've worked in web development, you probably aren't aware of the problems IE causes.  It's non-standard in a lot of ways, which requires painful fixes and tricks to work around.  I fully endorse charging a surtax on those that insist on being the cause of extra effort.

There are four different browsers listed on that screen as options.  They "force" no specific choice, just standards compliance.
 
+Karl Windle They may not know they have a choice or that they should make one.  They also may not have discovered that round thing with the buttons is NOT a foot pedal.  But then they would CERTAINLY NOT be geeks or thinking like geeks.
 
As a web developer who has spent many hours going out of my way to make sites work in IE, I fully support this.
 
Why would you even try and design your website to work properly with IE7 these days? Just pop up a message telling users to upgrade or the site won't work properly.
 
I'm tired of hearing that people who use IE7 are stupid. I support a lot of nonprofit agencies who have specialty sites they must visit. These sites are also not for profit and cannot update their websites due to funding. This means they require IE7 to run. It is more common than you think. Now I do support using an alternative browser for anything that does not specifically require IE7, but not all users are savvy enough to do so or want to Sotheby's extra work (having a default browser is convenient for people). This I ok by me. A computer should do what you need it to, you shouldn't have to cater to it. However, calling a user stupid for that, is not right.

As for the tax. I see both sides so I am not taking a stance for one or the other. I'm just angry that people call other stupid when they don't know the circumstances...
 
I require IE at work too for certain apps, but guess what, I still have Firefox and Chrome for normal web browsing.
 
+Sarah King My problem is not people using ie 7, it's companies not ever upgrading their webapps. That is bad for your nonprofits, it's bad for me, it's bad for the internet. Using activex in 2012 is a fail, imho.

(And I have a dog in this fight: I use Linux almost exclusively. IE only sites bug the crap out of me.)
 
I just visited kogan.com with Chrome. The site looks like crap, so I suspect they have more trouble than just with IE7.
 
+Christian Smith, I agree with you, I wish they could update, but not all companies can do that. And when the good outweighs the bad (more people get helped because they save web-design money) then I have to support it. Of course, I don't have any non-profits that use Linux systems. I do have some that use MACs, but we work with bootcamp and parallels to help with some of that. Those are more savvy users though. Not all of my clients are.
 
It also hinders the use of better more open standards by not making an effort to use a different browser, if you need IE 6 or 7 for that one application (and can't upgrade), fine, but realize you're holding others back since they still have to support your outdated browser (and putting your network at risk by browsing the public Internet with an unpatched browser). I see no reason why someone can't take 5 minutes to install another browser, and use that for general web browsing.
 
Again, not all users are savvy enough to understand that they have to open one browser for that one program and can use a different browser for other items. I know it is hard to believe that some users are not able to understand nor do they want to, but that doesn't mean that it is ok to call them stupid.

Some, especially the elderly, are very set in their ways and it is very difficult for them to learn something new.
 
As a web developer, I can definitely remember the pain of finding out that a significant portion of visitors to our site needed a page that was almost completely different due to using IE6 and the perfect images we made not being recognized properly (along with having to have 3 versions of javascript for doing some simple dynamic style changes)
 
Forget taxes and fees, just drop support for it.

Your developers will also be much happier.
 
So it's a fee for being old and a PC user. Classy.
 
Utterly ridiculous.  Suck it up and support it or don't.  Welcome to the Internet.  
 
I work for a non-profit and the computers get put on our desks with the usual MS programs loaded by IT. I'm lucky that IT trusts me enough to leave my unit opened up, a lot of the computers around here are locked down. I think a lot of it comes down to catering to a lot of users who aren't tech savvy but know MS products (barely at that) and saving the sanity of the IT folks. They have to keep it simple for the users who don't know better and easier on themselves when the users do something stupid.
 
+Jill Pullara Are you saying old people can't learn to change? How is that any worse than outright calling them stupid like +Sarah King is complaining about? Saying a user isn't "savvy" enough is just a politically correct way of saying that they are too stupid.
I disagree with both ideals. Not wanting to change, and not being able to change are two different things. And neither of those things make you stupid.

(also: all those browsers in the pic have native windows versions)
 
+James Symmonds it's not always about it being easier on IT. I care a lot about the non-profits that I work with. And if I am helping them increase their productivity so they can help more people, by being relaxed on a few things I don't let for-profit customers get away with, then I will do it.
 
+Dusty Monk It's essentially a decision about whether all users of their site should be charged for the extra cost, or just the subset that cause the extra cost.  It seems relatively fair other than calling it a tax rather than a fee.
 
+Sarah King that shouldn't be everyone else's problem because a minority of people are too lazy to put forth the effort to educate themselves on something very simple. The world shouldn't pause for every 50-90 year old who is stuck in their ways. Computers are not new, they are long past any doubt of being a fad, and if they haven't figured out the world is constantly changing by now and they can just go to a different site as those customers are more expensive to keep and aren't likely to be doing online shopping for tech products anyway. I will expect no less when I'm their age. If you want the benefit of using your old tech and exert extra effort, you should pay more, the same way I pay more for a mechanic who knows how to work on my classic car then a Honda Civic or my grandma who paid more for gas at a full service station because she didn't want to learn how to use the gas pump and never had to until recently.

Besides, I think the problem here is the IT department. It's easy enough to install an alternative browser on the desktop, especially if they have to force users to use an older version of IE. It was their bad decision to use apps written exclusively for IE using proprietary standards and languages that even MS doesn't support fully support anymore rather then standard JavaScript. Now they should deal with the cost of updating it, it's called TCO for a reason.
 
Does anyone remember that faked study that came out saying that people who use IE have a lower IQ than people who use other internet browswers?

SIDE NOTE:
Washington State has certain government websites that only work with IE... We use chrome in our office. Needless to say i have written nasty letters to the state of Washington requesting that they get with the times. 
 
Implement the fee.

It compensates the website owner for their extra efforts and encourages either updating or changing browsers.
 
+Natalie Paquet Another huge site that requires IE, is the windows update page :p
I've come across others while browsing that require at least a certain version of IE or a certain version of Firefox that didn't recognize Chrome as satisfying their requirements.  Those are the pages that I find the most annoying actually.
 
+Mike Kayser but it requires an updated version of IE, that is more compliant with modern standards, not IE7. Given you can only run IE on Windows, and Windows Update is only for Windows, there is no conflict of interets. No one says don't use IE, just use a version of IE that is at least up to date. This isn't an IE9 tax, this is an IE 7 tax.

Plus if work still requires you to use IE7 do your online shopping at home. Work computers aren't for personal use anyway.
 
I myself am against Internet taxes of any kind and choose not to patronize sites that enforce such taxes.
 
+David Mitchell sorry... you can only run IE on Windows? I hope that was poorly phrased because I've seen IE on Linux and iOS.

As for Windows Update only being compatible with IE, that makes sense. Microsoft provides Windows Update, Microsoft provides IE; that's a circumstance where I don't see the developer needing to cater to other browsers. Besides, if you keep XP, Vista and 7 up-to-date, you get critical updates in XP without having to run IE for Windows Update. Vista and 7 have it built into the Control Panel now (at least what I remember of Vista), so you don't have to run IE at all. In fact, IE tells you to use your Control Panel when you attempt to visit Windows Update.

For those of you defending or making excuses not to upgrade IE7, the update is free. IE may not be the best browser out there, but they did put one thing in: compatibility mode. Microsoft thought far enough ahead to realize there are sites requiring older versions of IE still and tried to accommodate.

Considering security issues online, you should keep your software updated (be it IE, FF or Chrome). If you can't make the updated version work with a web page, I don't care if you're company or NPO needs to access a certain page, that page needs to be updated. It doesn't have to be fancy, it has to be functional and compatible. How many more updates will someone need to release before you (the developer of any IE7 compatible page) finally get that you must update the page?

I agree with the comments earlier that relate to "Why are you shopping at work anyway". We're all mature enough (or should be) to know that we shouldn't be doing this unless it's business related.

As for the main post, I say don't bother with the "tax" and don't bother making the site compatible to any but the last two versions of a browser; in this case, IE 8 and 9. If it works with an older version than that, the user can consider themselves lucky and so can the IT staff at the company or NPO.
 
IE is only supported on Windows, Wine and emulators aren't exactly out of the box solutions to running IE. So yes, IE is supported to only run on Windows without some sort of emulator or Win32 API layer. Literal interpretations aside, its only intended by MS to be run on Windows, if someone runs it on Linux and expects Windows Update to work or sees Windows Update not working with Chrome on Linux as a problem, that's a bit silly.
 
+Chris Roeszler On iOS? Since when? It was on OS X for a while but it was removed years ago. (First thing I did on my iMac was drag the big blue E into the trash, and that was the last version of the OS that had it, 2003 or so, IIRC)

And on Linux? Huh? You have to go through a ton of effort to do that, anyone capable has other browsers.
 
Do it, make it 100% for ie6 ;)
 
Wow, I really thought an emoticon with the tongue sticking out would signal that I was just kidding on at least that part of it.  I'll have to remember how hard it is for some people to notice sarcasm.

I have no problem with the windows update only working with IE.  In fact, you'd have to be crazy like me to even know the website to go to without clicking on the update link in the appropriate section on your computer.  I did think it was hilarious that I had to have a more updated version of XP on a computer to download the updates for XP though.  That was interesting trying to find updates that worked for a computer that had never been updated apparently (got it for an extremely low cost from college for family members and didn't bother making sure it was updated at the time).
 
I usually tell clients I will make the site compatible with IE7, but that support is not given. 
 
+Rob Myers sorry, you're right. I've gotten so used to calling everything apple "iSomething". OS X would be the last place I saw IE on an apple product.

I know there's other (better) browser options on Linux; I wasn't referring to or even thinking of WINE when I commented, nor did I mean MS necessarily intended IE to run anywhere but Windows. The point is that IE has been on other platforms and was never restricted to just Windows. It may not have run well or been widely accepted, but it was there. :)
 
Well, it's easier to get away with. Because it works find with some simple guidelines, but if they complain about not liking something I say: no support, sorry. Win win!
 
I like the small print.  "avoid the tax, use a better browser" :)
 
It really bums me out that that's even a thing.
 
OK at first I read this wrong and though it was a DISCOUNT for IE users and I was like...that's terrible.

Now that I reread it, I think it would be pretty funny.  :P  I don't think many of your target customers use IE anyway haha
 
+Nathan Guenther There was an article recently about a startup that wasn't supporting IE at all. Saved them something on the order of $100K
 
This is actually a good idea, I think the tax calculation they make is a little steep, but it definitely is something justified.
 
I don't see what Kogan.com is doing that is different than anyone else. I'm in the U.S. I can't imagine a company being able to arbitrarily charge a tax for their inconvenience. Raise prices.. sure, but charge a tax.. no. Consumers can go somewhere else with the click of a mouse. If the majority of sales arrives through IE7, then I do not suggest taxing those users. Developers should quit whining. Recognize on which side the bread is buttered....albeit thinly buttered.
 
You obviously have no idea the effort that is required to make a website function properly +Brad Jennings in all the diff versions of IE let alone other browsers. IE versioning changes are so long between (till recently) that its effectively a completely different piece of software on each version. Web development cross browser is expensive and a hassle and multiple IE versions with their differences makes it 100x worse.

Theres no reason a company cant choose to charge for having to support it. Software companies charge fees to support software, most charge more for the older the software, why cant a website do it? Shoppers can go elsewhere or upgrade for free to avoid it, problem solved.

Till IE9, to get things to work PROPERLY in IE versions, didnt matter which, required a ton of extra coding and tricks just to get it to do the right thing with web standards that other browsers worked with like they should. This company is simply adding an extra fee to recoup the expenses of that and I see nothing wrong ethically in that.
 
+Brad Jennings They do know where their bread is buttered. IE 7 is less than 7% share, probably significantly less at an electronics site.

They are raising prices FOR THOSE USERS. The user costs more, therefore raise the prices for them. They're doing exactly what you said, except in name.
 
As +Rob Myers points out, probably less than 7% of site visitors come through IE7. But, if that <7% produces 50% of your sales, then don't go biting the hand that feeds you. Programmers will always whine about something. ;-) It's our nature to find fault and nitpick. There are a plethora of valid reasons, aside from some vendor's website, that should entice consumers to upgrade their browsers. Not every user has a System Administrator in a coma...or a System Administrator period.
 
The only thing I've used IE for was to download Firefox. Tax it!
 
Brad, if IE7 users were most of their purchasers, they wouldn't be doing it this way.  Chances are they decided to do it because a customer with an ancient browser had a problem that they had to resolve or their web admin sees a small blip of these browsers in their web stats.  Heck, if it affected even 1% of sales they would probably do things differently.
 
+Mike Kayser  do you realize how frustrating it is to work on web pages and specifically have to worry about IE and whether or not it will show up differently than all other 38,000 browsers out there? Do you realize how much more time you have to spend in developing specifically for IE?
 
Thank goodness for truth and justice, +Christopher Orr ... yes, Kogan is very definitely an Aussie company.
 
If you don't want difficult work, stop writing computer code. So tired of so called 'programmer' complaining because something is difficult. 
 
+Garrett Moffitt There's a difference between something being difficult because it's inherently complex and something being complex for absolutely no good reason.
 
+Garrett Moffitt I don't think it's a lot to ask people to not use dangerously out of date software. 6 years old in internet terms is insane.
 
:( Unfortunately, we still have to use ie7 at work! I hate it!
 
+Scott Dexter Of course. I just hate the 'it's hard' reason. I somehow managed to write coe that worked in netscape and IE in the 90s without complaining about my job being hard. Should people stop using IE7? yes. Is 6 years an insane time for the internet? no. Large organization can not, and general should not, be constantly rolling out bleeding edge software. Oh, an it's not a tax, it's a fee. Governments levy taxes.
 
wow!  now stores create taxes? 
 
I like how they don't list a newer IE as a possible choice at the bottom.  :D
 
+David Cooper Obviously I know... I specifically commented on this earlier...  I've had to make sure our sites are compatible with IE6, although we tolerate things looking worse in IE (down to one site using completely different pages for older IE).

I don't think anything I've said would imply that I think what they are doing is bad/unfair.  I've said that it makes sense.  I've said that they would have done it differently if they had a significant number of users of ancient browsers.  Nothing I've said would imply I don't understand how annoying it is to waste time making things compatible across browsers.

Something you imply is that all other browsers function the same.  I have 6 browsers installed on my work computer, so I know that there is some code that has to be worded differently for Opera for example.  I also know that IE has/had some functionality that other browsers don't, since it's not part of the standard (ability to change color of scroll bars for instance).  It's not strictly a case of doing things two ways, it's just that IE takes most of the work since there are so many arbitrary differences.

I highly doubt there are 38k different browsers in use.  Even if there are, developers are only going to make sure the most popular ones work and possibly a few others that the developer likes or thinks is important.
 
Actually, Mac now has a native version of IE, so your point is somewhat moot.
 
bankofamerica.com.... no longer is compatible with Chrome..... I HAVE to use IE... grrrrr
 
I'd say that you should vary the tax based on IE version. For example, only a 5% tax for IE7, but a 15% tax for IE6.
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