27
Jan
4

Newegg.com’s Usability Blunder

I buy a ton of the computers and IT products for my company through newegg.com. They have always had great prices and rock solid policies.

I tried to make a purchase from them this morning, and much to my astonishment, I couldn’t log into my account. I was sent into an infinite loop between their image verification and log-in scripts. After some investigating, I concluded they are now requiring Firefox users to have network.http.sendRefererHeader set to 1. Many Firefox users, myself and every computer in my company included, set this value to zero, which prevents websites from seeing where you came from. To me this is simply a privacy concern, as it’s nobody else’s business but my own to know the last website I visited. Some anti-spyware software automatically set this value as well, so you may not even know if your is set to zero.

7. If you are using Firefox, type “about:config” in the address bar. Set the “network.http.sendRefererHeader” value to 1.

By requiring the value, newegg is completely preventing a huge number of Firefox users from using their site, and subsequently becoming customers. Not only is this unneeded and is most likely due to some corporate idiot that thinks they can add to the bottom line by tracking users better, but this is an unacceptable coding practice. They have currently lost me as a customer (I can honestly say that it is a sizable loss).

If you own an ecommerce site, don’t ever make changes and requirements that force your customers to lower their privacy standards or lower their browser security. I promise that you will lose customers as a result of making changes like this. This is completely fixable, but at the expense of your own privacy. I’m surprised that newegg would do this given that a huge number of their customers, if not the majority, are tech savvy shoppers who are likely to also block referrers.

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4 Comments:
  1. Jon Schneider 27 Jan, 2009

    Upon reading your post, Jamie, I assumed that this behavior was just a bug in their site that newegg had neglected to test for. I was surprised when I followed the link in your post, though, and saw that newegg has documented this issue in their FAQ — which implies that it’s a known issue — instead of just fixing it!

    I’m also a newegg customer. While I can’t say that they’re going to lose my business over this issue, it is pretty surprising to me that they’d opt to document this bug instead of fixing it, and thereby risk losing other users’ business (like yours, as you mentioned).

  2. Newegg Support 27 Jan, 2009

    Dear Customer,

    Thank you so much for you writing this blog. We truly apologize for any inconvenience this issue has caused you. Just to let you know I have went ahead and brought this issue up to our management team in which was reviewed quite quickly. The response we can give you to this matter is that we will start removing this kind of check from our web site. We truly Thank you for your information and asure you this will be taken care of. If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact me personally at alex.a.villarino@newegg.com or via phone at 800-390-1119 ext. 25040.

    Sincerely,

    Newegg Support

  3. louis vuitton 8 Mar, 2010

    Upon reading your post, Jamie, I assumed that this behavior was just a bug in their site that newegg had neglected to test for. I was surprised when I followed the link in your post, though, and saw that newegg has documented this issue in their FAQ — which implies that it’s a known issue — instead of just fixing it!

    I’m also a newegg customer. While I can’t say that they’re going to lose my business over this issue, it is pretty surprising to me that they’d opt to document this bug instead of fixing it, and thereby risk losing other users’ business (like yours, as you mentioned).

  4. dsadsa 8 Apr, 2010

    dsfdsin their site that newegg had neglected to test for. I was surprised when I followed the link in your post, though, and saw that newegg has documented this issue in their FAQ — which implies that it’s a known issue — instead of just fixing it!

    I’m also a newegg customer. While I can’t say that they’re going to lose my business over this issue, it is pretty surprising to me that they’d opt to document this bug instead of fixing it, and thereby risk losing other users’ business (like yours, as you mentioned).

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