The two browser trick is a way in which to multiply an event for your benefit. There are a number of applications of it already known, some published openly, and some discussed in the forum. Broadly speaking, the idea of the two browser trick is to ‘beat the buzzer’ on having a second item vanish. And it does raise questions on ethics and legality.
I find this a safer option to discuss, here’s a two browser trick in action: Amex gives you an offer for something outstanding, like $50 off a $1000 montblanc pen when you sync your credit card. It offers you this on each of your credit cards, but as soon as you pick ‘add to card’ it vanishes from the others.
From an ethical and legal perspective, I see no mention from Amex that the offer should only be for one of your cards, indeed, it seems to me that it is offered on all of them in order to push the sale through to you (IE they increase the chances of you being a schmuck and getting it by offering it across every card you are browsing). But the sudden removal implies that they also don’t want you to have too many of these offers at any given time.
There are other occurrences of this where we see firms offering the keys to the kingdom, but their intent was to only offer 1 item to any given customer (or customers). Software inefficiency creates opportunities for back door approaches.
For me, this really brings up the concept of ‘us and them’ and ethics. For example, if you were to be a loyal Hyatt Diamond from last year (and subsequently betrayed by your loyalty program) how would you feel if you saw 100 empty rooms at the Park Hyatt, but only could book one at any given time using your points, as they throttle inventory? Is it fair to ‘take two’ when they only wanted you to take one?
Ethically, this is a challenging topic for me. If they explicitly stated at Hyatt that you could only ever book one room before you spent $10K on staying for a year to earn your Diamond status and your points, it would be one thing, but if they imply that you could redeem points and later throttle you silently, is it fair to rebalance things and ‘unthrottle’ them?
My Vegas Gig
The Vegas gig is a great ethical example. The casino loyalty guys at mLife are falling over themselves to get me back into their property (or a partner property). As I guessed during Travelcon in Vegas, they think I’m a top notch player and want to ‘treat me well’. The problem is that the unwritten rule here is that they really want to attract a person to lose as much as possible at their casinos, so as much as it appears nice and friendly, their motive is quite evil.
No different from the credit card companies really. They offer you free points in the hope that you will become deeply in debt, and they can double dip from you (once from transaction ‘swipe’ revenue, once again from horrendously punitive interest rates).
What the Vegas guys don’t know about me is that I had a gig there, and the gig was to do just enough upfront to make them excited, and over offer me goodies. Since returning (with my room, food, beverage, and spa picked up by the casino) from Vegas I’ve now received 4, or perhaps 5 offers, depending on how to do the two browser trick.
- Offer 1 – Any room in mLife comped
- Offer 2 – 7 night cruise on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean (two browser opportunity)
- Offer 3 – 4 nights in ‘The Cove’ at Atlantis, $300 resort credit, $200 slot play
- Offer 4 – A room plus entry to the ‘Big Game Party’ for Superbowl in Vegas
Horizontal and Vertical ‘two browser tricks’
The horizontal two browser trick is Celebrity and Royal. They have different codes, is it possible I could book both cruises if I do so fast enough? Is it wrong, they do want me on either cruise, but do they want me on both? If I really was a big shot player, I would say certainly.
The vertical two browser trick is to lock in Offers 1-4 (or 1-5 with two cruises) in one go. The idea here is that future offers are based on previous events… EG if I was to book a room at mLife today (offer 1) and not give the casino any action, that starts degrading my expected value to the brand, and offers may decline. While they may not be able to redact offers 2-4 based on a bad experience, they may stop sending in offers 5-8 (whatever they might be).
The idea is that once the trip is booked,it is locked in. So the goal would be to book as many offers as possible as far away as possible, and hopefully continue to be on the list to receive new ones before my first trip anywhere, and they start to clue in that I’m not the type of guy they want around, because they can’t leach enough money from me.
The essence of the two browser trick
The idea of the two browser trick can be found in many places, sometimes you are racing to ‘tab and click’ before some not so smart software removes future options, and sometimes you are racing to secure as many great deals as possible before a human clues in that you aren’t doing what they thought you would. Both may have ethical concerns, and it is really hard to be ethical with companies designed with a goal to take as much money from you as possible, and leave you in debt…
What do you think, is it ok to change the rules back to the way they were presented to you, or should you allow software and people to dictate your luck?