Does the world need yet another browser? That's the question Dan Farber and I put to Flock CEO Shawn Hardin in our latest Working Webware video interview.
I'll disclose right now that Flock is my default browser, and I love it. I find it more stable than Firefox, probably because it doesn't need two dozen add-ins to function the way I like--it's all built in.
But does that make a business? Hardin explains the model, which is pretty straightforward: search advertising. The little built-in search box in the upper-right of the browser generates Yahoo affiliate fees for Flock, which add up quickly. Hardin says Firefox, which has the same business model, made more than $65 million in revenues in 2006. Flock doesn't have as many users as Firefox, but its user base is growing 50 percent a month, Hardin says. Of course that expansion rate can't be maintained forever, but it's impressive nonetheless the competition.
Flock is based on the Mozilla open source engine, as is Firefox, and Hardin says the Flock team shares its own improvements back into the codebase, to the benefit of Firefox and other Mozilla browsers.