December 14, 2004 6:40 PM PST

Firefox ad readied as market share increases

The Mozilla group expects to run a thank-you ad in the New York Times by Christmas as new market share numbers showed continued progress against Microsoft.

The Mozilla Foundation, an open-source group founded by Netscape Communications to develop its browser and spun off last year by AOL Time Warner, has been executing an unorthodox, volunteer marketing campaign. To mark last month's official launch of the Firefox browser, the group planned to take out a full-page New York Times ad thanking financial contributors.

That fundraising and marketing scheme inspired so many contributions that Mozilla volunteers ran into technical difficulties squeezing all their names onto a single ad. Now, with the unsolicited help of an Adobe Illustrator engineer, the group has surmounted those problems and submitted the ad to the Times for what volunteers expect will be a pre-Christmas run date.

"We're looking forward to getting this ad out so everyone can use it as an example of community marketing in action," said Mozilla volunteer Rob Davis, who is spearheading the ad effort. "It was nice to hear from the folks at Adobe and get the tweaks that made the process go faster."

Mozilla, which on Sunday marked its 10 millionth Firefox 1.0 download, has opted for a cheaper rate at the Times by giving the paper discretion to run the ad on any day in a two- to three-week window.

Mozilla promised both a surprise in the ad and a longer term goal of doubling the download number.

"Now it's done and we're pushing to get the ad out in the next few days, giving us just enough time to celebrate our 10 million download success before we make a move to double that number!" wrote a Mozilla volunteer on the group's Spread Firefox marketing Web site. "We'll let you know the day before the ad is set to run. You'll want to be sure to stake out a copy for yourself--we've got a surprise for you!"

Firefox market share increases
While the group and its 10,000 donors wait to see their names in the paper, new numbers from Web site metrics firm WebSideStory indicate that Firefox's first month as a full Version 1.0 release boosted its market share by a point at the expense of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.

Firefox has won good reviews and a number of awards. But its biggest selling point up until now is that it isn't IE, whose reputation has suffered amid an ongoing series of security problems.

Firefox's "usage share" climbed from 3 percent to 4 percent since just before the launch of Version 1.0 in early November, according to San Diego-based WebSideStory, which sells Web site traffic monitoring software and services. Firefox appears to have taken that percentage point directly from IE, which slipped from 93 percent to 92 percent.

Another Web site metrics firm, Amsterdam, Netherlands-based, last month showed IE dipping below the 90 percent mark.

By WebSideStory's count, non-Firefox Netscape browsers accounted for 3 percent of the market, unchanged from the prior month, and other browsers--which include the Opera browser and Apple Computer's Safari browser--accounted for 1 percent of usage.

On a daily basis, WebSideStory derives its global data from the travels of 30 million Internet users from more than 200 countries visiting more than 20,000 sites.

"Firefox's gains are clearly accelerating," Rand Schulman, WebSideStory?s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. "Much of it has to do with the release of Firefox's version 1.0 on Nov. 9, after several months of offering a preview version. Firefox's stated goal of gaining 10 percent of the market over the next year no longer seems unattainable."

Microsoft declined to comment directly on the new market share numbers, but acknowledged demand for competing browsers.

"While Internet Explorer is the choice of hundreds of millions because of the unique value it provides, we respect that some customers will choose an alternative," a Microsoft representative said in a statement. "We also know that choosing a browser is about more than a handful of features. Microsoft continues to make major investments in Internet Explorer."

In other Mozilla news, the group said it expected to mark the millionth download of its recently released Thunderbird e-mail management software on Thursday.


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Blah! Blah! Blah! Mr. MS Representative
The MS representative said: "While Internet Explorer is the choice
of hundreds of millions because of the unique value it
provides..". Yeah right! And I'm a saint! Haha! We all know that IE
is used by so many people because they are not aware of other
browsers  that they have choices and because, I don't intend to
offend anyone but, the majority of these persons that use IE are
just plain ignorant about the technology they use.

So, for the idiotic representative, it is ok to dream that
"hundreds of millions" use it "because of the unique value it
provides..", but that is not the reality. People are sick and tired
of the disgusting experience IE and the entire Windows platform
provide. IE and Windows are two disabled creatures walking
hand in hand...ruining whatever they touch. And even if you
obtain Firefox or Opera, you still have to deal with the garbage
Windows operating system. That's why I switched to the Mac and
I am very happy. After a year and a half of using a Mac, I got my
sister to change and she can now get her work done faster and
easily. Her Mac has never crashed nor have any programs
frozen...everything runs smoothly. Even her husband, who was
very reluctant to switch, is now doing his job's work faster and
easily...the entire family is very content with their Macintosh. My
sister even mentioned that she plans to buy an iBook soon
because she is very happy and convinced that Apple provides a
better experience than the combination of MS's Windows and
whatever computer-maker company out there can provide.

And for those that complain about Macs being too expensive,
stop complaining and start saving...the eMac is just $799 (that is
OBTAINABLE..don't tell me that's too expensive) and it beats the
hell out of PCs priced at $200, $300 and even $400 dollars

I've used Windows 98, 2000, XP Home and Pro on cheap and
expensive PCs, and not one of these came anywhere near what
Apple provides on the Macintosh.
Posted by (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Blah! Blah! Blah! Mr. Mac Representative
I wouldn't call ppl using IE stupid, I call them satisfied with it. just like you are satisfied with your mac.

also you can build your own powerhouse pc for under $500 can't do that with a mac.
Posted by simcity1976 (136 comments )
Link Flag
corporate network requirements
Firefox doesn't satisfy corporate network requirements of remote manageability and user configuration lockdowns. Until Firefox can provide these things out of the box, IT departments will find it hard to switch to Firefox. It's not that we don't want to, but we can't.
Posted by nrlz (98 comments )
Link Flag
One Problem...
,,, most computer users have no idea that the PC/Windows
concept isn't the only way to go. Possibly they don't care, or
know enough to care. The hardware hasn't really improved since
1984. And MS is just responding to the people's expectations
with the Windows OS and all it's embedded applications (and
massive DLL libraries to try to fix hardware glitches).

Sure, a Mac is a better computer, and when all costs are factored
in, it's also cheaper than a PC ...... for those who understand and
can appreciate the difference... and for those who aren't locked
into the PC world by the programs they have to use.

Anyhow, preaching to the masses isn't going to make any
difference. Some PC users really think that the PC is the best
platform, and for them, maybe it is. Most PC users, however, are
the gray covered crowd in that original Mac ad.

And that's the way it will be, no matter who says what. If you
need proof, try searching for intelligence in any aspect of the
recent political campaigns.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
beauty counts
Maybe it just me, but no one seems to be pointing to the native XP interface firefox provides, as a major contributing factor to its success. I use firefox and i must say, the nice interface and ofcourse tabbed browsing are the real reasons i use it. For less technical users, the familiar UI may prove to be a comforting factor, i know i could never get used to the motif/java UI.
Posted by bit-looter (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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