Kogan to Tax IE7 Users

By Grant Arnott | 14 Jun 2012

Online retail maverick Kogan has rolled out another headline grabber, this time enforcing a 6.8% tax on visitors to his site still using Internet Explorer 7 in an effort to ‘make the internet a better place.’

Forever looking for a novel promotional edge to attract media attention, Kogan, the online electronics retailer, has launched a tax on users of the outdated browser Internet Explorer 7. The move will no doubt have the web development community of the entire universe cheering (or at least one I know of in my office, anyway).

“Internet Explorer 7 has long since passed its use-by date,” says Ruslan Kogan, founder of Kogan.com.au. “It’s a constant source of frustration for our web guys and we’re sick of burning cash on a browser that hit the market nearly six years ago. It goes against everything Kogan stands for.”

Browsers who purchase a product from Kogan.com.au using the IE7 browser will be slugged a 6.8% surcharge. A pop-up window will alert the visitor they should download an alternative browser or at least a newer version of Internet Explorer.


18 thoughts on “Kogan to Tax IE7 Users”

  1. Ever heard of an “SOE” that is nothing to do with search engines and stands for Standard Operating Environment. Corporations all over the world establish SOE that enforce standards for computer environments. IE 6 and IE 7 are still very much part of the standard environment that employees have to use. So many of Kogan’s buyers I suspect will be hard working employees of those firms and probably shop at the office because they work 12 hours a day or more. Of course the other group are just the technology challenged with older PCs and Laptops that they can’t afford to replace.

    So whereas the web development and design community might get a kick out of this some users will get a kick in a different way and probably just browse away from Kogan. IE accounts for around 32% of browser usage and IE6 and 7 are around 20% of the IE usage. You want to translate that to real users? So as much as we technology providers would like to see users on the latest version of everything it is just not practical or possible. Therefore you have to have a cross browser and backward compatible environments that support multiple platforms like tablets, PC, Mac, smartphones etc. If you do then you might just get some of Kogan’s pissed off and lost customers who work hard or are technology challenged.

    1. Rhys Lloyd says:

      The accumulative market share of IE6 and IE7 is less than 10%. You also need to consider where the stats are pulled from, and which countries they include. I do believe that in Australia IE6 usage has dropped below 2%, and IE7 is closer to about 6% (although I’m happy to be proved wrong if anyone has any solid source).

      I can tell you now that it’s near impossible to support all devices *and* old browsers. Many of the new features and techniques of web design require modern browsers, which are supported by all Smart Phones and Tablets.

      As a web developer I’m happy to tell a user that their browser should be upgraded. Chrome and Firefox even auto-update (Chrome does this without the user even knowing), so there is little to no excuse for using legacy browsers when there are so many easier, faster and safer alternatives available (even from Microsoft themselves).

      We are still paying for Microsoft’s ignorance and negligence a decade ago – innovation they are not known for.

      1. @Rhys wrote “The accumulative market share of IE6 and IE7 is less than 10%.”. So if I take 20% of 32% you get less than 10%. Congratulations we agree.

        This is not a technology issue it is about customer service and expectation. I am sure that one day IE6 and IE7 and many other technologies will die out and be buried. The point is that I do not believe that it is the consumer that should have to pay when they probably cannot change it.

        1. Rhys Lloyd says:

          Apologies, I misread your mathematics originally.

          There is always a choice: http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/firefox_portable

          SOE’s may cost many millions to upgrade – but it seems many of these systems are close to a decade old. That’s like giving your employees old Datsun 1600s as company cars. The longer they wait, the more it’s going to cost.

    2. iruka says:

      Sorry John but you’re just plain wrong here, and making an absolute crap-tonne of assumptions to justify a dangerous laziness. And where do you pull ‘probably shop at the office because they work 12+ hours’ from? That’s puffery pulled out of nowhere to support your own laziness.

      Have you ever actually worked in corporate IT? Managed a large forest of AD or end-user workstations? If an IT administrator is even HALF competent at their job, they should be able to roll out and upgrade to IE with very little effort.

      Just because ‘its in the SOE’ doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. And if your SOE can’t be updated and IE6/7 is still in it then what other outdated software is in it? How big is your risk profile if you can’t easily patch software? Not only that, BYOD makes the requirement of having an SOE look outdated in and of itself. Fix your problems and stop complaining about it.

      What you’re doing is making excuses, when you should be looking at solutions. Your ideas are backwards, outdated and frankly, they’re the technological equivalent of being against Vaccination.

      1. @Iruka yes I have worked in corporate IT and yes I have administered large scale systems and no I have made no assumptions. I won’t really comment on the bulk of the post as it would just get us nowhere.

        Comparing this to being against vaccination well I think you have to be careful where that takes you. But what if you were taxed to leave your home if you where not immunised against certain illnesses do you think that would be a good idea?

        Let me repeat again that I don’t like old versions of browsers any more than anyone else who has commented here. But it is not about the technology it is about customer service.

  2. Bill says:


    Who cares about SOE? Those people behind those networks should be working and not online shopping. It’s the laziness of IT administration teams and their higher ups that won’t roll out better browsers. IE6 is one of the most unsafe browsers ever made.

    Online retailers should not be held to ransom by some lazy IT people in basements.

    Even Microsoft agrees : http://www.ie6countdown.com

    Cheers KOGAN, you’ve done the right thing.

    1. Great opinion Bill but not very smart or knowledgeable about corporate process or costs. Changing SOE and technology in a large corporation can cost millions of dollars and affect 10,000’s of employees and users. Online Retailers are not being held to ransom by anyone they just want to save money at their customers expense. There is adequate technology available that supports legacy systems. The laziness is on the part of web developers and designers who don’t want to do their job properly. All browsers and web systems have vulnerabilities and it is also up to the web developers to manage those vulnerabilities. A customer using the latest Firefox, Chrome or IE will be just as much at risk if the online store has not been built and managed correctly. Take Linkedin or Sony as examples.

      1. Simon says:

        John, I couldn’t agree with Bill more. As a web developer that also owns and runs a business, there is a real cost in ensuring a website works correctly in IE 6 and 7. The time we used to spend tweaking valid HTML to be non valid HTML to suit the quirks of IE 6 and 7 was probably closer to 15% of our developers time, not 6.8%.
        When 10% of the users to your site cost you 15% more in developer salaries then you start losing money. You’d struggle to find one business owner that would see that as a smart move.

        1. Hello Simon our developers don’t spend 15% of their time correcting for legacy systems probably not even 2% or 3%. If you use the right technology then as a developer it will take very little to be backward compatible. But that is just not the point it is consumers and customers that make the business money and not the website. If you fail the customer then it really doesn’t matter how up to date the website is. It comes back to a fundamental customer service issue and once you start to charge your customers special fees and charges because of technology then as a business you have lost the plot. We already see some businesses charging customers to use certain types of payment methods and it is a proverbial lead balloon. Some airlines have been charging special fees for cheap online transactions and it is back firing big time. So basically this is not a technology issue and if developers think that way then they misunderstand why they are in business in the first place.

          1. Rhys Lloyd says:

            We need to push to use newer technologies, such as those in HTML5 and CSS3 which provide far better user experience. Legacy browsers are the anchors preventing the web from truly moving forward at the pace it should.

            Since our company dropped IE6 support, our development costs dropped close to 30%. As an experiment, we developed a project supporting only modern browsers, using technologies such as HTML5, CSS3 and even SVG, and the project development time dropped even further – much of the time saved was from browser testing.

            Simon’s prediction of 15% is much closer to what we experience. If you’re only spending 2% to 3%, I can’t imagine you’re pushing the boundaries with what can be achieved; which is fine, not every site needs to. But when developing Web Applications, the newer technologies on offer make development much easier with a far better UX to boot.

          2. Clunking Fist says:

            “So basically this is not a technology issue and if developers think that way then they misunderstand why they are in business in the first place.”
            A simple customer service issue. This “tax” would be similar to charging fat women more for drinks in a bar, becaise their presence is unwelcome to other patrons and therefore the management.

          3. Clunking Fist says:

            I meant to say: most developers shouldn’t be let near customers!

  3. Ben Harrison says:

    you’re probably not noticing that this is likely a mac only scenario, as ie7 is the last available version for mac (you’re highly unlikely to be using it otherwise) and safari is offered as a viable upograde.

    1. Rhys Lloyd says:

      IE7 was never on OS X (Mac). The last version of IE to be on OS X was IE5, and that has had discontinued support for close to a decade now. Those old Macs Apple also stopped supporting a long time ago.

  4. Michael S says:

    obviously Kogan hit a nerve…. love the comments. but lets face it a browser is like a credit card. everyone has at leat 2 in their wallets. I am sure most people would use 2 or more browsers. Think about Apples and Android devices market share growing.
    Good on Kogan for stirring the pot!

    1. Clunking Fist says:

      “I am sure most people would use 2 or more browsers.” Eh? By “most” I assume you mean more than 50%. I would be surprised. My Granny doesn’t even know what browser she is using, but she is a big online shopper due o her lack of mobility. Piss her off, and she’ll go elsewhere. THAT is John’s point that everyone here seems to be missing.
      Rhys Llyod says “We need to push to use newer technologies, such as those in HTML5 and CSS3 which provide far better user experience.” My Granny doesn’t even know what you are talking about. She bought her HP computer preconfigered from a retailer and has not changed many setting: she just wants to use the thing, not play tweaking, not upgrade not mod. (She thinks she wants an apple next time, because her friends tell her “you just use it, no fiddling, no fussing”)You know how some folk are about cars: “it just has to get me from A to B”? Some folk are like that about computers.

  5. Chris says:

    The only people looking at the web via IE 5, 6 or 7 are developers trying to make their applications work in either IE 5,6 or 7!!!!

    Perhaps understanding the difference between positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement might lead to a better result for Kogan and consumers alike.

    Rule number one of good business – never crucify your customers for YOUR internal issues.

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