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Gap Inc. locks Safari users out of clothing sites

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Gap Inc., one of the world's largest specialty clothing retailers, has made changes to several of its websites that prevent users of Apple's Mac OS X Safari Web browser from browsing and shopping its brands.

This week Safari users began reporting problems when attempting to visit the websites of Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy -- three trendy brands owned by San Francisco, Calif.-based Gap Inc.

"It looks like the new gap.com, bananarepublic.com and oldnavy.com do not support the latest version of Safari," said a disappointed Safari user shopping online for a new pair of jeans. "The pages just reload continuously with no content."

The Gap websites appear to be redirecting Safari users to this page, which says: "We're sorry, but we do not support the version of the browser you are using."

For Mac users, Gap recommends "Netscape 7 and above" or "Mozilla (Firefox) 1.0 and above." Both browsers are popular amongst Mac users but are not as widely used as Safari, which ships as the default browser on the Mac OS X operating system.

Data recently released by Apple indicates that there are now well over 10 million active users of Mac OS X and counting. The growing popularity of the Mac platform has also helped Safari become the third most popular Web browser on the Internet.

In April, real-time website analysis firm OneStat said Safari held a 1.26% share of the browser market, which was up approximately 0.05% from February. Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft's Internet Explorer are the only two browsers with more users; they hold a 8.69% and 86.63% share of the browser market, respectively.

It's unclear if Gap plans to restore Safari support on its websites in the near future. Representatives for the company were not immediately available for comment.

Ironically, it was Apple and Gap who teamed on a joint promotion in August to offer shoppers a free Apple iTunes song download if they tried on a new pair of Gap denim jeans.

The two companies have also had a history of consulting one another on business initiatives. Millard Drexler, now heading J. Crew, joined Apple's Board of Directors in May of 1999 while he was CEO of Gap. Less than four months later, Apple's Steve Jobs took a seat on Gaps board -- a position he held until October of 2002.
post #2 of 37
Dumb, but why exactly is this on Apple Insider? I could see it being a back page story on MacNN but not Apple Insider....
post #3 of 37
i couldn't care less. i don't shop there, and if I did, it would be on camino. i like it a lot better than safari. and it's also specifically and exclusively made for mac
post #4 of 37
Turn on Debug Menu. Set "MSIE 6.0" as User Agent.

Nuff said.
post #5 of 37
I hope this is a big mistake on Gaps part...Safari/WebKit is probably the second most compliant browser if not the first (if we take into account the nightlies, I'd wager it's *the* most compliant.)

Would be a sad if Gap simply left it at that.
post #6 of 37
This is 99% the design firms fault. (and 1% the clients for letting this slide)

There is absolutely no excuse for making a site that blocks Safari other than lazy or arrogant programmers/designers.


I guarantee the design/dev company is gonna be hearing from Gap very soon.
post #7 of 37
For bananarepublic.com you can change the user agent all you want, it won't help. They use DHTML that simply doesn't work in Safari. I've already sent an email to them a few weeks ago and also told them I'll no longer be shopping there.
post #8 of 37
I'm glad I read this. I encountered that problem last night and just assumed it was another buggy thing happening since my upgrade from Panther to Tiger.
post #9 of 37
Why do people shop at the Gap anyway? stuff costs 2x as much as it does at LS Ayres, Pennys, Macy's and so on

On top of that, all their stuff has their lo0gos all over it, why the hell pay twice as much to advertise?!?!?!?!?!? If I were gonna advertise for someone, I want them to pay ME!!!
You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
Why do people shop at the Gap anyway? stuff costs 2x as much as it does at LS Ayres, Pennys, Macy's and so on

On top of that, all their stuff has their lo0gos all over it, why the hell pay twice as much to advertise?!?!?!?!?!? If I were gonna advertise for someone, I want them to pay ME!!!

You do realize, a_greer, that that's what a lot of Wintel guys say about Mac users ;-)
post #11 of 37
I can confirm that the site works if you are using Safari with WebKit built from source (or using NightShift) and switching the user agent to MSIE. Very, very stupid design.
post #12 of 37
The best reason not to shop at the Gap... Their parent company is trying to destroy 235,000 acres of old growth redwood forest. Oh, and they run sweatshops as well. Great folks.
http://www.gapsucks.org/gwa/new/2001.html

And BTW, if they can't program for Safari, there's a simple action you can take to punish them. Just try to load their page... and keep your browser going, trying to load the page (just do it in a tab and move on to another tab). If a bunch of Mac users do that, it will effectively take down their servers. No fault of yours... you're just trying to access their site.
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by TheToe
The best reason not to shop at the Gap... Their parent company is trying to destroy 235,000 acres of old growth redwood forest. Oh, and they run sweatshops as well. Great folks.
http://www.gapsucks.org/gwa/new/2001.html

What? A corporation trying to make money regardless of all else? And a clothing manufacturer that runs sweatshops? Crap, I'm shocked! Shocked, I say!

Oh, and taking info from a site called "GapSucks.org" (and a 2001 article as well) doesn't exactly hold itself up for impartiality. If you quoted something like "All Mac users are gay egomaniacs who just like to think their not inferior to the rest of the world" from some MacsSuck.org site, you'd get blasted.

By the way, the best reason not to shop at gap is that their stuff is way overpriced, and not that special. But, then again, people waste sooooo much money on clothes from one designer or another ("hey, let me get a new shirt with "Tommy Hilfeger" written all over it!", so I'm sure there's idiots who think shopping at the Gap is not a pointless venture.
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
What? A corporation trying to make money regardless of all else? And a clothing manufacturer that runs sweatshops? Crap, I'm shocked! Shocked, I say!

Yes, corporations do indeed suck that way: http://www.thecorporation.com/

But it particularly sucks to destroy old growth redwood forest. When it's gone; it's gone forever. And fwiw, there are quite a number of clothing manufacturers and retailers who are certified as not using sweatshops and/or child labor.

Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
Oh, and taking info from a site called "GapSucks.org" (and a 2001 article as well) doesn't exactly hold itself up for impartiality. If you quoted something like "All Mac users are gay egomaniacs who just like to think their not inferior to the rest of the world" from some MacsSuck.org site, you'd get blasted.

Well, OK, here are 190,000 other links:
http://www.google.com/search?q=gap+redwood+Fisher
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by rawhead
You do realize, a_greer, that that's what a lot of Wintel guys say about Mac users ;-)

Well, sort of...With the Mac you get a superior OS, few people buy mac for the hardware -- With a t-shirt, or golf shirt, we are talking about the same thing, same quality, the only differance is the billboard effect on the OldNavy/Gap/Abacrombie put on their stuff and the price...
You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
Reply
You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
Reply
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by rawhead
You do realize, a_greer, that that's what a lot of Wintel guys say about Mac users ;-)

That was good.

A_greer, don't try to justify it, just wipe the salt off your shoulder and move on. I am sure it was meant in good fun.
-Justin Winokur

15" Core i7 MacBook Pro, (circa July 2010)
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-Justin Winokur

15" Core i7 MacBook Pro, (circa July 2010)
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post #17 of 37
Who in their right mind would use Safari when Firefox is available.
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Placebo
Who in their right mind would use Safari when Firefox is available.

I would. Not that i have anything at all against FireFox, but i just enjoy Safari more. I could switch if something came up that facilitated the need but for now, i just prefer Safari. The quality of both is really at the point where it comes down to personal preference.
-Justin Winokur

15" Core i7 MacBook Pro, (circa July 2010)
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-Justin Winokur

15" Core i7 MacBook Pro, (circa July 2010)
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post #19 of 37
Safari has a better feel (when you drag URLs from the address bar, they appear as little floating windows, etc) but the plugin support, theming, and overall support and stability of Firefox is something I really like.
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by TheToe
Yes, corporations do indeed suck that way: http://www.thecorporation.com/

I've lost count how many times I've wanted to mention that film when the topic of corporations comes up, with a comment like "if you haven't seen it, come back after you, then we'll continue the original conversation". So, I'm grateful you exploited the brief off-topic moment to mention it here, TheToe.

Finally saw it last year (unfortunately not sooner) and it still has a profound impact on me and seems at least as relevant now. It's one of the few movies I'd recommend to everyone (excluding anyone unable to understand it, like a young child, of course).
post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Placebo
Who in their right mind would use Safari when Firefox is available.

Safari has a better feel (when you drag URLs from the address bar, they appear as little floating windows, etc) but the plugin support, theming, and overall support and stability of Firefox is something I really like.

All dandy for you, but spare us the insult. There's no need to rudely accuse anyone (myself including) of not being in their right mind because they prefer Safari, for as equally valid reasons as you have for preferring Firefox.

Who the fsck really cares which browser someone prefers? Well, I guess you might care if someone's choice has irresponsible side effects
post #22 of 37
I have used Mozilla till 1.4, and Firefox after it turned 1.0. Shortly thereafter I started using Thunderbird. Then, somewhere along the way, I switched from Windows to OS X. The thing is, I have used both Firefox and Thunderbird for years and they just keep feeling worse. They are the best apps of their kind on Windows, not so on OS X.

Sure there are powerful features in there, but the UI does strange things. Some browser tabs cease to respond to mouse input, others cease to respond to keyboard input. Thunderbird tries to make the user go insane if the IMAP server doesn't bother answering its calls for a little while. Mails disappear in inbox, only to reappear once you switch folders and switch back. The "Today", "Yesterday" labels duplicate and jump around. Bookmarks and e-mails do not get indexed in Spotlight. There is still no way to use keyboard for navigation in Firefox!

I switched to Safari+AcidSearch a while ago. Thunderbird will go next.

Only thing I ever used Firefox' extensibility for was a small toolbar button which enabled you to whitelist or blacklist cookies for the current page without digging into Preferences. This really should not be an extension but be in the default install under "customize toolbar". Sadly, Safari can't whitelist cookies at all, but I expect I'll manage. If not, I'll turn to Opera.
post #23 of 37
Unfortunately we care because if Mac users are locked out of the web, no one will be buying Macs anymore. There is a web design company out there who locks Mac users out. They have other clients. That's not good.

MM
post #24 of 37
Hey Gon - Opera recently removed the ad from the free version. This is a good time to get into Opera. BTW- Its built in email client is far superior to Thunderbird, IMHO.
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by marmotton
Unfortunately we care because if Mac users are locked out of the web, no one will be buying Macs anymore. There is a web design company out there who locks Mac users out. They have other clients. That's not good.

MM

Any retailer who chooses to deliberately decrease their sales by 3-4% is in deep trouble. Hardly anyone has margins big enough or competitors few enough that they can afford that luxury (only exception I can think of is... Apple!).

If you run a business, what would you say to someone who came in your door and said, "We can make your website a little spiffier. Oh, and sales will drop by at least three percent. They don't have to drop like that... we just choose to alienate three or four percent of your customers. Is that OK?"
post #26 of 37
i wear a fair amount of Gap clothing. i don't have any that says 'Gap' anywhere but on the tag, and come to think of it, other than a few sweatshirts, i don't usually run acrossed much there that does have the logo on it.

The main reason i wear their stuff is i like how it fits and it seems to stay nice longer than anything else I have. I do agree that the clothes there are pretty expensive. I would be happy to switch to something else, and since everyone here says Gap costs 2x as much as other clothes of equal quality, where can i find these other clothes of equal quality (and equally as attractive looking) for half the price? I'm not trying to be a pain, just asking.
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by TheToe
Any retailer who chooses to deliberately decrease their sales by 3-4% is in deep trouble. Hardly anyone has margins big enough or competitors few enough that they can afford that luxury (only exception I can think of is... Apple!).

If you run a business, what would you say to someone who came in your door and said, "We can make your website a little spiffier. Oh, and sales will drop by at least three percent. They don't have to drop like that... we just choose to alienate three or four percent of your customers. Is that OK?"

It's even better than that. You have to wonder if maybe Mac users are right in line with their target audience. In fact, I remember when Bang & Olufsen released their BeoSound2 mp3 player, it didn't work with Macs. There was a huge uproar that Mac users were a large part of their market as they share similar qualities like design over functionality, luxury brand, etc. B&O relented and now the BeoSound 2 is compatible with Macs and iTunes.

For apparel, it may be less so but still, you have to wonder. Especially for Banana Republic.
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by funkfeend
Hey Gon - Opera recently removed the ad from the free version. This is a good time to get into Opera. BTW- Its built in email client is far superior to Thunderbird, IMHO.

Thanks, I was aware of that, and I also have a license stashed from Opera's anniversary free license handout they had just a while ago. I have used Opera for some downloads that weren't Firefox compatible, but like Firefox, it doesn't feel quite exactly like OS X software, so I'm trying Apple's software first as it at least has the potential to be perfect.

Granted, I like "power" features and am therefore likely to find Opera nicer in the long run. Is it stable? Do mails and bookmarks get indexed to Spotlight?
post #29 of 37
As for the thread topic, I think this is just what to expect from a big, unwieldy company - left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. That is, it's what to expect from today's business. I don't see the retail business of the future to be different in a revolutionary way, but smarter, more adaptive and more personalized, all of that accomplished cost-effectively with new technology and a razor sharp focus on the customer. Screwups like accidentally (?) locking many percent of your customers out of your web sales is not something that a company can tolerate if it wishes to still be a big player in ten years.
post #30 of 37
Gap is to blame for lack of QA, but then again you probably find their site was done by management that is happy that it runs on 85% of the browsers out there. The only question is how does that percentage actually compare to the type of market interested in GAP.

I did a few tests of mine own and here are the results:

Works:
- Firefox

Does not Work:
- Safari
- OmniWeb
- Opera

And there are still others that I have not tested, including iCab.
post #31 of 37
They're not "locking out Macs", it's just that Safari is unable to cope with their website design.
post #32 of 37
FWIW, it appears that someone at the Gap realized that alienating customers is not so good for business...

gap.com now redirects to:
http://www.gap.com/store-closed/Gap/.../en/index.html
which says:
Quote:
Thank You for Visiting the New Gap.com

We're updating our site with innovative new features to bring you an extraordinary shopping experience.

We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.
Please check back soon.
post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by TheToe
FWIW, it appears that someone at the Gap realized that alienating customers is not so good for business...

gap.com now redirects to:
http://www.gap.com/store-closed/Gap/.../en/index.html
which says:

I emailed Gap's customer service and told them about the issues with the Safari browser. They told me that they will work on it. I hope they fix it soon.

Edit:

Here's Gap's reply:

Dear Soren,

Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding the enhancements we have made
to our website. We were sorry to hear of your frustrations regarding
Safari accessibility. Customer feedback is very important to us. In an
effort to improve the shopping experience for everyone, please be
assured your comments will be forwarded to our Technical Team. We
appreciate the time you have taken to share your concerns with us and
hope you will give us another opportunity to serve you in the future.

If we may be of further assistance, please contact us via e-mail at
custserv@gap.com or by calling 1-800-GAP-STYLE. Our Customer Service
Consultants are available 24 hours a day for your convenience.

Sincerely,

Shannon
Customer Service Consultant
post #34 of 37
I develop web applications and have run into ridiculously stupid bugs in Safari's JavaScript implementation. The truth is that Safari's JavaScript is not ready for primetime. Why should Gap put in workarounds to make up for Safari's bugs? Blame should be placed squarely on Apple.
post #35 of 37
Kaiser79 - The site does not work on Opera 8.50 on Windows either. It exhibits the same behavior described at the top of this thread; constantly reloads without showing anything.

Gon - I don't know if Opera integrates with Spotlight. I kind of doubt it. I am on windoze and the Macs that i admin are on Panther.
post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by kaiser79
I develop web applications and have run into ridiculously stupid bugs in Safari's JavaScript implementation. The truth is that Safari's JavaScript is not ready for primetime. Why should Gap put in workarounds to make up for Safari's bugs? Blame should be placed squarely on Apple.

IE and Netscape are full of bugs too. The reason Gap might want to work around a bug is to increase their sales by three or four percent. Presumably they want to make money more than they want to enforce good coding principles.

It would be like a fast food joint making their drive-thru only wide enough to fit cars, and telling customers with SUVs that they should have bought a standards-compliant vehicle. True, those people are ruining our roads and our environment more than regular cars, but presumably McDonald's still wants their business.
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by kaiser79
I develop web applications and have run into ridiculously stupid bugs in Safari's JavaScript implementation. The truth is that Safari's JavaScript is not ready for primetime. Why should Gap put in workarounds to make up for Safari's bugs? Blame should be placed squarely on Apple.

This attitude is exactly why the web is such a screwed up mess. IE is in no way the most web compliant browser out today yet this doesn't stop lazy web site designers from blanking out other browsers. Are you saying that IE is 100% Java compliant?

The Gap is just unfortunate to be using nincompoops to design their site. Hopefully they will get this corrected soon.

As has been said, Safari is now the 3rd most commonly used browser. Wake up.
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