In an attempt to "make the Internet a better place", one online retailer is taking aim at a much-maligned web browser: Internet Explorer 7.
Kogan, an Australian electronics shop, has declared that a 6.8 per cent 'IE 7 tax' will be added onto the bill of any customer who uses the browser to make a purchase. The tax, they say, is designed to offset the cost of making websites look "normal" in the 6-year-old web browser.
"But don't worry, unlike other taxes, we're making it easy to get around this one with a simple upgrade away from IE 7," wrote the company on its blog.
"Customers who enter our site using Internet Explorer 7 can avoid the impost by simply downloading an up-to-date browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera or even a more recent version of Internet Explorer."
As Mashable pointed out, users who attempt to buy products from Kogan using IE 7 won't actually be taxed. The 6.8 per cent surcharge appears initially when a customer places an order, but is deducted on the final payment screen.
Kogan's tongue-in-cheek campaign may be more publicity stunt than money grab, but the fake tax has sparked a real conversation about the economic consequences of designing websites to be compliant with out-of-date web browsers.
"If we choose to make a website pixel-perfect in Internet Explorer 6 to 8, then we are doing up to 100 per cent more work," wrote Greek Web developer Lea Verou on Smashing Magazine in November.
"No matter how many frameworks, polyfills and other scripts we use to ease our pain, we will always be doing at least 30 per cent more work for those browsers. How many of us actually charge 30-100 per cent extra for this work?"
Kogan chief executive Ruslan Kogan told BBC News that while his stats show only 3 per cent of his customers using Internet Explorer 7, his web development team had become preoccupied with making pages display properly on the browser, which is notoriously behind when it comes to complying with web standards.
"It's not only costing us a huge amount, it's affecting any business with an online presence and costing the Internet economy millions," writes Kogan.
According to W3counter's Global web statistics, Internet Explorer 7 made up only 5.11 per cent of the market share last month. Firefox 12, Chrome 19 and IE 9 were the top three most popular choices.
How picky are you about the internet browser you use? Do you make sure it's up to date? Let us know in the comment section below.
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