Adobe charges up to £100 extra for using 'the wrong browser'

Is this the most bizarre example of A/B testing yet?

Read this very carefully, because it could end up saving you a lot of money. If you're planning to sign up to Adobe's Creative Cloud subscription plan, you run the danger of using the 'wrong' browser.

Because we just checked on a Chrome browser on a Mac and it came out as £45.99 per month. Yet when we went to the same site through Firefox or Safari, it cost £37.99 per month.

That's a massive £8 a month difference simply because we'd accessed the same site via a different browser. But then again, we also checked on Chrome using a Chromebook and it came up as £37.99. Doing the same on a PC gave yet more varying results. On an Android phone it came up as £46.88 – a whopping £106.68 difference from the cheaper price over a year. And on it goes...

Viewed on a Mac, on Chrome, the full plan costs £45.99 but...

As our Mac screengrabs show, the more basic packages also varied wildly in price depending on how we accessed the site.

For us, the basic photography package was £8.49 in Chrome but £7.99 in Safari/Firefox; the single app subscription was £16.99 in Chrome but £14.99 in Safari/Firefox.

On Mac using Firefox it's only £37.99!

Note, though, that Adobe is not discriminating against particular browsers in general; it's more to do with the information contained in your specific browser. So when we cleared our browsing data on our installation of Chrome, we got the price down to £37.99/month. Result! But not something we would have ever thought of doing previously...

So why's this happening? This doesn't appear to be a website glitch but a (very odd) application of website A/B testing, according to Ali Salih of Burst magazine. Salih has posted a slighty surreal online conversation he's had with an Adobe representative called 'Patrick' who says: "This is an A/B test on Adobe.com. This means that Adobe.com visitors in UK, France and Germany, will be randomly split into four equal groups during the price test period." (You can read the full transcript here).

We asked Adobe's Emma Wilkinson, senior communications manager for Adobe Systems Europe Ltd, for a comment. She replied: "From time to time we run tests on Adobe.com to help us ensure we are providing the best experience possible for our customers. These tests cover a range of items, including pricing and may or may not be presented to all visitors to Adobe.com. We are currently running a number of tests in Europe.”

So it's official: if you want to sign up to the Creative Cloud, make sure you delete your browsing data first, and it's probably worth trying a few devices/browsers to make sure you're getting the best price!

[via Burst magazine]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.