This BusinessWeek article explores how technology will make it easier for companies to "customize" pricing for goods and services:
Why do corporations want your personal data? The simple answer, according to Andrew Odlyzko, the director of the University of Minnesota's Digital Technology Center, is that such information is the key to a holy grail of capitalism: discriminatory pricing. Economic theory posits that price discrimination -- where companies charge individuals based on their ability to pay and their value as a customer -- is desirable since it makes trade more efficient. Yet it rankles consumers, who perceive differential pricing as unfair. The fact that business travelers, whose corporations can arguably afford it, pay more for airline seats than a vacationer has made air travel more popular and routine. At the same time, the price discrimination that charges two people different prices for the same class of service infuriates those who pay more.
In a paper to be presented at the Fifth Annual Conference on E-Commerce this fall, Odlyzko, a Bell Labs researcher for 26 years, doesn't argue for or against discriminatory pricing. He focuses on how technology can bring it to new levels of sophistication and prevalence.
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]
If you like to DIY and you like helicopters, you’re going to really love the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit. This copter blows traditional models out of the water: it includes everything you need to actually build your own hexacopter, and then pilot it like a pro, too.The construction is complicated enough to give you a challenge, […]
This week’s top deals from the Boing Boing Store range from lobster to wine to desk organization. 1. Get Maine Lobster (50% Off)With these discounted packages from Get Maine Lobster, you can experience the sweet, fresh flavor of world-renowned Maine lobster right at your own dinner table. There are four options to choose from, each at […]