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Too cool for IE?

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday August 29, 2007 )

It’s cool to stick it to “da man”. It’s cool to be counter-culture. It’s cool to be different. But sometimes it’s not cool to be this sort of cool on an ecommerce site catering to Joe Surfer – if you want to make the most of your business. Or more accurately, you need to be careful how you display your self assumed coolness.

I visited a site today that seemed to displaying rather badly when I noticed a little bar across the bottom right hand corner of the browser window boasting “too cool for IE!” Yes, I was using Internet Explorer. No excuses needed, I *like* IE.

Clicking on the button took me here, where I’m told “The site you are trying to view has been deemed Too Cool for Internet Explorer”; followed by a selection of other browsers.

Very cute. Not quite cool, but cute. Turns out this has campaign has been around for quite a while.

Two problems here:

a) A substantial majority of the world still uses IE. The site owner is basically inferring I’m uncool as I don’t use Firefox. Not a great way to kick off a potential business relationship. I’m very cool – so cool that I don’t need to be told by someone else if I’m cool or not based upon the browser I’m using. I’m extraordinarily comfortable in my mildly eccentric coolness, even if I’m the only one who recognizes just how cool I am.

b) I was distracted by the button and went to the site about browsers that were cool enough to view the cool site I just left. I was then distracted again and I can’t even remember which site I was on. The site owner lost a sale. Totally uncool.

Something like this is probably a great feature to have on a site where you know that most of your target audience are hard-core FireFox users, but otherwise it should probably be avoided.

It’s great to make a strong statement about where your loyalties lie, even if it’s regarding an item as petty as a browser; but I think something more subtle is required at times in order not to alienate and distract what your ecommerce site is about – selling stuff.

Of course, the site owner may have been so rich already, my business wasn’t really needed.

… and that’s cool by me; I went elsewhere.



2 comments for Too cool for IE?
  1. I agree.
    I have tried a few browsers, and I also use IE, and sometimes FireFox.
    Other browswers may suite different net activities, but it is not cool to tell potential customers they are not cool, and I would be put off by being told I am not cool.Cos I am!

    Comment by Ern — September 1, 2007 @ 12:42 am

  2. Hi Ern, I do believe the coolness we assign to ourselves is the best kind of cool of all. Cool bestowed by others is just so transient ;).

    Comment by Michael Bloch — September 1, 2007 @ 2:08 am

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