Kogan, an Australian online electronics dealer, has started imposing a “tax” on customers visiting its site using Internet Explorer 7 (and presumably below, though the announcement doesn’t mention IE6). Yes, that’s right, IE7 users visiting Kogan will pay more than those using a modern web browser. Or, more likely, they’ll just shop elsewhere.
Here’s how the tax will work according the Kogan’s blog: “From today, anyone buying from the site who uses IE7 will be lumped with a 6.8% surcharge — that’s 0.1% for each month IE7 has been on the market.” The post goes on to claim that the move will help Kogan “keep prices for all smart shoppers down.” Sure it’s a cheap, attention-getting gimmick, but who hasn’t wanted to ban IE?
Even Microsoft is frustrated with older versions of Internet Explorer that still hang around. The company already has a site dedicated to tracking the demise of IE6, and it’s not a stretch to imagine that it will soon be extending that death wish to IE7.
That said, browsing through Kogan’s site it’s hard to see what about it is causing IE7 headaches for Kogan. We’re no fans of IE 7, but building websites following best practices like progressive enhancement means your site will work even in older browsers. It may not always look exactly the same as more capable browsers, but it will at least function. In my brief testing it appears that Kogan’s site does indeed work in IE7, though the company might need a few lines of IE7-only CSS to clean things up.
Contrary to what Kogan says, starting with the foundations layering on extras as you go means supporting IE7 isn’t a cost of doing business, it’s just a nice by-product of the process of building successful websites — like supporting older mobile browsers, feature phones, televisions, gaming consoles and dozens of other web-connected devices that aren’t always going to function as well as a desktop browser.