Avoiding online price creep

Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2014 - 12:29 PM |
Tagged: dirty pool, online retailers, wretched hive of scum and villany, airlines

Have you noticed that prices seem to creep up slightly every time you visit an online ticket site hoping for a deal?  As many are probably already aware, the cookies dumped on your machine when you browse allow the sites to keep track of how many times you have visited a site and can base their pricing off of that count.  In other cases they can tell if you are browsing their sites mobile device version or the desktop site and of course if you are logged in as a member or not.  So far none of these practices is technically illegal but they are also laughably easy to defeat.  Simply browsing in anonymous mode, clearing your cookies or even just using a different device will reset those prices and is a habit you should get into.  Slashdot has linked to a PDF which details many of these questionable practices and of course those ever polite commentators under the headline will offer sage and on topic advice.

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"For instance, the study found, users logged in to Cheaptickets and Orbitz saw lower hotel prices than shoppers who were not registered with the sites. Home Depot shoppers on mobile devices saw higher prices than users browsing on desktops. Some searchers on Expedia and Hotels.com consistently received higher-priced options, a result of randomized testing by the websites. Shoppers at Sears, Walmart, Priceline, and others received results in a different order than control groups, a tactic known as “steering.”

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October 24, 2014 | 02:17 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I used to think that it was weird that I always shop using anonymous/in private mode when I shop online, but I guess it isn't so weird now. I also sometimes use a VPN.

October 26, 2014 | 03:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Ah those lower prices are just bait and switch to get any new clients into the system, and then the price savings are not as good.

Rule number 1: The less information they have on you, the better your bargaining position is, as they have no idea what you have paid for similar goods/services in the past. It's that knowledge is power thing that can sometimes come back to bite you in the A$$, especially if they have knowledge of your purchasing history! It's best to give them No info whenever possible, In private browsing/VPN, TOR, etc.!

Rule number 2, Avoid any new OSs, and stick with 7(no search everywhere on the start menu), and less metrics gathering baked into the OS for 7 than 8.*, or 10! Best yet Get secure Linux( Tails, TOR, etc.) instead, as a good portion of the snooping that "in private" browsing did prevent is being baked into the newer OSs(8.*, 10, chrome, android), and can not be turned off as easily as it has been in the browser. A secure Linux distro on a dual boot system, or just a secure Linux on a live distro USB/DVD, may be necessary for privacy, and there are Linux distros out there that are specially made for maximum anonymity, and they have no place to phone home to with your private metrics, and these secure Linux distros have web browsers that follow the secure Linux OS distro's Privacy Mantra.

M$ really was never interested in the user's privacy in the first place, as much as they were interested in keeping Goole/others from profiting from its OS, and IE's use, and now M$ just wants to bake all the snooping into its latest OSs(8.*, 10), to get all the metric gathering business, all while claiming "privacy" in the browser is there for the user's benefit.

I'll never accept any requirement to login online, just to be logged into my PC/Laptop/device, It's locally logged in, and no data slurping from the OS, or is Sayonara OS, and Its snooping ecosystem for good. M$, Google, whoever, will have to make do without as much info from me, as little as possible, but no personal info at all would be best.

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