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Reading Summary - Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users Information.docx

4 Pages
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Department
Geography
Course Code
Geography 3422A/B
Professor
Milford Green

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Description
Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users Information 3/11/2013 10:46:00 AM Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users Information  A Wall Street Journal investigation found that the Staples Inc. website displays different prices to people after estimating their locations o Staples appeared to consider the person's distance from a rival brick-and-mortar store, either OfficeMax Inc. or Office Depot Inc. o If rival stores were within 20 miles or so, Staples.com usually showed a discounted price o The Journal's testing also showed that areas that saw the discounted prices had a higher average income than areas that saw higher prices o When assessing Staples’ potential pricing formula, by far the strongest correlation involved the distance to a rival's store from the center of a ZIP Code  That single factor appeared to explain upward of 90% of the pricing pattern  Testing suggested that Staples tries to deduce people's ZIP Codes by looking at their computer's IP address  Websites are adopting techniques to gain information about visitors to their sites and then deliver different versions of the Web to different people o Prices change, products get swapped out, wording is modified, and there is little way for the typical website user to spot it when it happens  Companies such as Staples, Discover Financial Services, Rosetta Stone Inc. and Home Depot Inc. were consistently adjusting prices and displaying different product offers based on a range of characteristics that could be discovered about the user o Offering different prices to different people is legal, with a few
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