The recent media coverage of Orbitz’s OS-based content targeting was intriguing, if not surprising. The Wall Street Journalbroke the story about how Mac users were presented with higher priced hotel options than PC users on Orbitz’s site. This was NOT, mind you, a case of any actual difference in prices, but, rather, simply pricier hotels presented in search results. Within a few days, there was a minor social media backlash, with the facts of the situation being misrepresented and Orbitz being accused of nefarious behavior.
Orbitz did something that was smart, was right, and benefited consumers. Yet, because they did it by sniffing out easily detectable information — the operating system of visitors to their site — they were (unfairly) accused of bad behavior.