Smart or unfair? We discussed on CNN today and here are the deets:
Targeted marketing is nothing new. Online retailers just continue to get smarter about how they target particularly when it comes to Mac users:
• Average household income for adult owners of Mac computers is $98,560, compared with $74,452 for a PC owner - Forrester Research
*Courtesy Orbitz, Wall Street Journal, Forrester
In fairness, Orbitz CEO, Barney Harford, was on CNN earlier today. He wanted to make it very clear – PC and Mac users do not pay different prices. The custom algorithm is just presenting you with what it feels is best for you as a user – this is allegedly happening only in recommendations. And you can always sort by price (which is what I always do). Still, users are being targeted differently.
On a personal note - I will say – I’m a Mac user. And due to an insane amount of travel, I regularly use (and like) the Orbitz site making bookings 2-3 days a week. (And no, I’m not into Hipmunk, sorry.) So, I felt a little disappointed when I heard this. But, on the flipside I completely get it from a data aggregation standpoint. Plus, I can rely on my own search skills to ensure I’m getting the best price.
I was, however, more surprised by my friends and co-workers reactions. They found this discriminating. A reaction I kept receiving was "This is not right."
Should users prepare to be targeted depending on what browser they are using or whether they are on a mobile device?
Absolutely, we are going to see more and more predictive analysis. It would be silly for businesses not to target users based on their spending habits. However, now more than ever, we’re living in an age of transparency – if you charge a user on one browser one fee and another a different fee for example– better be able to respond and back it up.