What A Difference A Few Browser Cookies Can Make When You Shop

Have you ever wondered what kind of difference your browsing history can make when you shop? We were surprised to see this before/after photo that reader David sent. He tells us that he was shopping Hotwire for car rentals and took screen shots before and after he cleared out the cookies in his browser. It’s striking how different prices are when Hotwire thinks that he’s a new visitor who has never been to the site before.

Cookies are tiny pieces of information about you that websites store on your computer for their own use. David is probably a frequent Hotwire customer, and the site remembers that.

Update: As many people pointed out to us, it looks like clearing those cookies and/or logging out of the site changed what vendors Hotwire displayed to David. That’s the real reason why the prices magically fell.

With cookies.

Without cookies.