Sunday, 20 March 2011

The great US$ pricing rip off

One of the great features of the Internet is it's truly global nature. A business can offer services without having to worry about geographic constraints. The electronic delivery cost are the same if you are Texas USA or Almaty in Kazakhstan. Coupled with credit card payment your company can have a global presence for no additional cost. For electronically delivered products you no longer have to worry about overseas shipping or warehouse costs.

It is regretful to see some  companies attempt to take advantage of this Internet opportunity by giving differential pricing depending on your location. One example of this is a company called who provide hosting of online webinars and web presentations. They target the business world around the globe. However if you are located in the UK they attempt to charge you 149 British Pounds a month for their basic subscription. If you are based in the USA, their fee is 149 US Dollars per month. On today's rate of exchange they are charging UK customers 162% of the USA price. There is no excuse for this type of price gouging.

Brighttalk use a technique called IP Address Geolocation to identify where you are based. If you are based in the USA your web browser will be show a price in USD; if you are located in the UK your web browser will show a price in GBP.  The geolocation technique detects the Internet IP address assigned by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to your business. There are central lists of the location of the IP addresses assigned to ISPs. Those lists are used to translate  into an approximate geographic location for your business. Unfortunately for them there are techniques which allow people to change the "geographic location" of the client PC; so we can see the differential pricing. They also embed location details in "cookies" stored on your PC by them when you access their website.

Of course Brighttalk are not alone, there are USA based software companies like Adobe conduct similar inexcusable price gouging on software downloads.

The company I provide consultancy services to has a programme of video webcasts for its marketing and educational services delivered by the Internet. Needless to say we will not be using Brighttalk. That company has been blacklisted by us for its I-gouging practices. We are not the only people upset by Brighttalk.


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