Hidden Traps

01 Dec

We all shop online. The sequence is usually to scan through all the possible websites which offer a product and choose the one with the best price and have a reliable background. Once we do this exercise couple of times, we end up with a preferred vendor with whom we trade often. As a preferred customer, we would hope that the vendor gives us reasonably good deals. But, that is not entirely true.

As I just heard recently, internet based online shopping companies use some dubious strategies to price a customer.One of the common method followed is that, the online retailer looks at your stored cookies to find out how many other similar sites you have visited for a given product. If they know that you have been doing a lot of searching, they try and give you the best deal. If not, they raise prices. Apparently, a customer who was searching for a product in “amazon” found to his surprise that the price dropped by 15% as soon as he cleared off his cookies in the internet browser. If you log-on to a vendor’s website, you are the all the more sure to get a not-so good deal. This is one of the many tactics used by vendors as a strategy to do product pricing. I am sure there are many similar tactics used. So, make sure that you do a reasonably good comparison before buying a product online. A “preferred customer” might be the first one to get ripped off afterall…


Posted by on December 1, 2005 in From AM-KICKING blog


6 responses to “Hidden Traps

  1. Calm & Serene

    December 2, 2005 at 12:42 am

    Wow…..this is interesting and certainly ingenious! I will be a more aware shopper hereon….

  2. BrainWaves

    December 2, 2005 at 6:16 pm

    I read about this couple of months back and the article mentioned that online retailers are thinking of implementing such thing.
    Did not realize it is already done. Wow!

    But again, is it not illegal (esp. for companies like Amazon) to look into our private cookie folders etc?

    Overall, the problem with online shopping (and less human interaction in general) is lost privacy. Someone somewhere knows your credit card information 🙂

  3. sdpal

    December 2, 2005 at 10:25 pm

    Oh man..idhula evvlo vishayam irukkaa..
    Anyhow.. I normally find a deal in deals2buy or edealinfo or in similar sites.. then tend to buy that. Avoid, any sites, which isnt famous, even if they have better deals.
    But good to know..

  4. Mindframes

    December 3, 2005 at 1:23 am

    I googled about this and found that it is called “Dynamic Pricing” or “Price Discrimination” dates back to as early as 1999 and 2000 (online shoppers). Following is a paper which discusses about some underlying details. Read it when you find some time….

    Dynamic Pricing Paper
    Economist – Price Discrimination
    Academic View on Price Discrimination

  5. bumblebee

    December 3, 2005 at 3:45 am

    When I first heard about it, I cried, “That’s unfair!”. But then how can we define “Fair”? In free-markets, buyers and sellers decide on the price. The buyer always (or almost always) has the choice to not buy, but then if he decides to buy, then that means he’s amenable to the price. Of course, your article is a good reminder of being smart buyers. Caveat Emptor.

  6. IamwhatIam

    December 7, 2005 at 2:52 am

    Hey thanks for that tip. When I buy something in amazon i get suggestions like “Customers who purchased this also got….”. I did not realize that they go to the extend of checking our cookies to find how much research we are doing and what kind of purchases we are doing. I know what I will do next before I shop online. Research all the websites and check the price once, clear all the cookies and check the price once.


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