Australian TV retailer Kogan has introduced a ‘tax’ for customers using its site with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7.

Kogan said it had spent a fortune optimising its site for people using the IE7 browser, which was released way back in October 2006.

Now, to encourage customers to give their browser a refresh, Kogan is adding 6.8% tax onto every purchase made through IE7 – amounting to 0.1% extra for every month since IE7 was introduced.

Anyone visiting Kogan.com through IE7 is greeted with a pop-up message, explaining: “It appears you or your system administrator has been in a coma for over 5 years and you are still using IE7.”

Customers are told the surcharge is to cover the costs of maintaining the site for IE7 – and are told to “use a better browser”, with links to the most recent IE, along with Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

The tongue-in-cheek approach probably won’t recoup any of Kogan’s development costs, but it’s been a very canny Internet marketing stunt.

Chief executive Ruslan Kogan said he introduced the tax to cover costs of ‘rendering the website for an antique browser’.

Only around 3% of the site’s customers still use IE7 – but Kogan’s development team has to spend as much time ensuring its pages work on that browser as they do for Chrome, Firefox and Safari combined.

He also said he doubted anyone would actually fork out for the supplement – but that he hoped the ‘tax’ was a call to arms for customers still using outdated software.

Internet Explorer is due for its third major update in the six years since IE7’s launch this autumn, with the release of IE10. Microsoft’s browser has remained the most popular on desktop PCs for many years, but is beginning to lose its lead to Google’s offering, Chrome.

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