Sunday, July 22, 2012

Different Prices for Different People?

According to a recent article in The Economist, some Websites including the popular travel Website Orbitz ( are using software designed to identify the most affluent online customers in order to offer them higher-priced goods. The Internet was supposed to give consumers equality before merchants, and in many cases it has been good for consumers of travel products. Now you don't need to deal with a travel agent to buy an airline ticket or book a hotel, you can check prices and availability yourself online.
But according to the article, the type of computer you use and where you live may influence the products and prices you see. Users of Apple products are considered to be more affluent than those of us with humble p.c.s, for example. It is relatively easy to get around this--just don't buy Apple products. I know many people swear by them, but the only Apple product I ever owned caused me to swear at it. It was an Ipod nano, and it was so hard to use that when it was stolen I never bothered to replace it.
Changing where you live may be more difficult, expensive and even undesirable. But if you live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, expect to be quoted higher prices than some unfortunate person who lives in Camden, NJ.
It appears to be an online jungle out there, pricewise. As for me, I will probably avoid booking with Orbitz even though I don't have an Apple. If I were more tech savvy I would be able to tell you about clearing your browsing history and eliminating cookies, the pieces of software that enable Websites to track customers, but that discussion must be left to the future.

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger Doreen Pendgracs said...

This quite an amazing post, Margaret. I had no idea that websites would quote different prices based on what kind of computer we have or where we live!!!

Despite the computer difficulties I had over the past few weeks, I would never go back to a PC. LOVe my Macs (desktop, laptop, and iPhone!)

3:35 pm


Post a Comment

<< Home