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Smart Pricing: How Google, Priceline, and Leading Businesses Use Pricing Innovation for Profitability by Z. John Zhang, Jagmohan Raju

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6. Name Your Own Price

“The price tag is obsolete.”Jay Walker, founder of Priceline

On June 1, 1998, less than two months after its launch, Priceline.com was “already one of the hottest consumer sites on the Internet,” according to a 1998 BusinessWeek article.1 In the following 13 months, more than two million people reportedly bought something through Priceline. The Industry Standard, a popular trade magazine of the time, described it as “a whole new way of doing business on the Internet.”2 Excitement climbed so high that Forbes even asked in a headline whether founder Jay Walker was “An Edison for a New Age.”3

Millions of consumers were thrilled. What excited them was not that they could buy airplane tickets online—even in 1998, consumers ...

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