Why we’re all paying different prices online

By Analysis by The Big Story Podcast

In today’s Big Story Podcast, you and a friend might be given two different prices by the same website for the same item. You might be given two different prices yourself depending on where you are when you’re browsing the site. It’s a phenomenon that began as dynamic pricing — a computer balancing supply and demand to ensure everything was sold at a price the market was prepared to pay — but it’s now gone well beyond that.

Colin Horgan wrote about personalized pricing in The Walrus. He says the concern here is the opacity of the pricing systems and the data they use.

“There’s very little transparency about what information they’re gathering about you, that is the real crux of this issue,” he says.

As algorithms become smarter and more advanced, and as we voluntarily offer our devices and the companies we do business with more of our information, the prices you see may take into account everything a machine could possibly deduce about you and your shopping habits.

Is this the kind of shopping experience we want? If not, what do we do about it?

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify.

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today