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Nvidia's UMAP policy. (Or why Nvidia hates online shoppers.)

[H]ard|OCP has posted a fabulous article about how Nvidia is forcing e-tailers like Newegg and TigerDirect to make it harder for you to compare Nvidia video card prices. Here you can read a document from Nvidia on their UMAP (Unilateral Minimum Advertised Price) policy and how Nvidia will destroy the testicles of those who attempt to thwart their evil designs (like Newegg). I strongly suggest you read the short 2 page article but I will try to break it down for you.

For the certain video card types (9800 GTX, 9600 GT, 8800 GT and others) that Nvidia has included in their periodically released UMAP schedule, retailers may only show (advertise) the UMAP price until the shopper has taken some action (clicked a button). So when you go to Newegg's site and search for the 8800 GT you will get a list of all the 8800 GTs that Newegg is selling. Before UMAP, you would see the final price you would pay for each 8800 GT on this search result page. After UMAP, any card that has a rebate or that is sold under the UMAP price will display like this on the search result page:

Newegg List

When you click those "See price in cart" buttons you will see a new pop up window for each button you click:

Pop ups

At the top of these pop ups Newegg has strategically used the word "suggest". "Suggest" is a major understatement here folks. Nvidia has UNILATERALLY DEMANDED compliance to UMAP. Notice that Newegg has tried to soften the blow to their customers by giving them a button for "Just Looking" and they added a paragraph letting them know that when a product does not have an advertised price, that it is actually a good thing.

Now for TigerDirect's concessions. On the front page of TD's video card page (or after you search for a video card) you will see a crossed out price with a blue icon next to it if the price is below the UMAP price. Clicking this blue icon will yield the following pop up:

Pop up TigerDirect

Once again they use a pretty kind verb ("requested") to describe Nvidia's tyranny. Here is a screenshot of a card page with a "Lowest Price Tag" before and after the click:

Tag

So now we have seen what Nvidia is forcing these sites to do and we have seen what will happen if they refuse to comply. Now lets talk about why Nvidia is doing this. Are you ready? You may find this to be hilarious and maddening at the same time.

Nvidia is trying to combat the "confusion" that a person feels when they see very similar video cards at several different prices. Nvidia does not want confused people to not buy from Nvidia (or to buy from ATI) because they are confused by the difference prices of an overclocked 8800 GT and a stock clocked 8800 GT. So instead of trying to educate the consumer (by sending them to GPUReview.com) they are trying to trick their customers into thinking that all their cards are the same price and offer the same performance.

Mike and I both thinks that UMAP sucks noodles. We encourage you to tell us how this makes you feel in the comments. Please remember that this is entirely Nvidia's doing. Newegg and TigerDirect have no choice in the matter unless they want to lose huge amounts of money. By the way.. if you have any INQUIRIES about the UMAP policy you can contact Timo Allision at tallision@nvidia.com. 

EDIT:

I forgot to mention that this will not affect GPUReview's Newegg price links. We do not sell video cards so Nvidia does not have any power over us. 


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