After having analyzed reams of data from their searches, researchers at Orbitz discovered that people who search using Apple computers buy pricier hotel rooms than those using Windows-based machines. So they have changed the way results are displayed based on whether the search initiated from an Apple computer. Here is my initial post on the subject. My first take was that it was a form of third-degree price discrimination. But others convinced me that I was wrong in a discussion on Facebook. In that discussion Doc wrote (shared with permission):
Sounds more like a good case in the economics of information. Orbitz is not much different from car dealers, real estate agents, etc..... anyone who is in the matching business and who is paid, at least in part, by commission. The better job they do matching, the more business they get, especially on a repeat basis for Orbitz. They probably earn more in commissions if they can steer customers to higher-priced alternatives, but if they steer high-end customers to low-priced options and if they steer low-end customers to high-priced options, they'll lose business. So their goal is to develop a matching algorithm that is efficient for both the customers and the hotels/restaurants. If, indeed, Mac users tend to prefer high-end alternatives (as is the case in our family), then this information is valuable, useful, efficient, etc. [addendum: it's also probably like online dating services. I'd be surprised if at least some of them don't include Mac/PC as a matching tool].
Searches are costly, even web searches. You can argue that Orbitz is providing value to consumers by simplifying their searches. If I don't even consider the budget motels, why make them prominent in search results and make me spend my valuable time sorting through them?