2014/11/20

Amazon v Amazon

I was reading up a while back about how Amazon (and others) do differential pricing depending on who you are (or who they think you are) including factors such as the type of computer you use. As a very quick test I decided to do two searches...

One (let's call it "open") from my own laptop via my default browser used for everyday activity, logged in to Amazon, full of tracking cookies and history etc....

The other ("closed") from a TOR'ified Linux VM running a clean browser, privoxy and appearing (for now) to be surfacing out of Liberia.

Both searches were for "macbook air" (not that I intend on buying one but they're common and relatively expensive).

Results were pretty much the same, but not quite and the example below shows a difference...

From "open":Open

 

From "closed":Closed

£686 v £669...

So, if proof were needed.... you can't get Amazon Prime in Liberia! (at least not from amazon.co.uk)... Because that's really the only difference. You can still buy the device (new) for £669 on the "open" version, it's just not the "obvious" option.

However, the first item in the "closed" search did suggest purchase via Prime as it did on the "open" version...

Liberia Prime

So there is a difference, but how significant is debatable. It may be a classic diversionary sales tactic - the top item via Prime is more expensive than another via Prime lower in the list but this one (which they want you to buy) is still more expensive than you could have got it for... If they can make you buy that one because you think it's a bargain over the top item then it's a good sale!

Who knows... I'm likely reading too much into this after too many beers... In any case it's largely up to us to be conscious that such behaviour goes on and that we; as human beings, are susceptible to all sorts of strange and suspect sales tactics.

Go search elsewhere, multiple times, from other devices, in Liberia... then save the money instead.

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