January 10, 2004

Site Review: SpreadFirefox.com

Firefox fever is spreading like wildfire, if the active community espousing the open source browser from Mozilla is any indication. SpreadFirefox.com is a Web site created by and for fans of Firefox and is the hub of a quickly coalescing community dedicated to marketing and supporting the new browser. SpreadFirefox.com and Mozilla are celebrating the appearance of the two-page New York Times advertisement that appeared on December 16, and welcoming the influx of new visitors and users the exposure has inspired. Even copies of the ad itself are becoming a hot property. The New York Times pages that show the Firefox ad are up for sale on eBay.

Firefox has been downloaded more than eleven million times since November 9. And those aren't the only impressive statistics surrounding the only browser that is shaping up to provide some real competition for Microsoft's Internet Explorer. According to statistics published by w3schools.com, the browser is the only one in recent years other than Explorer to enjoy a double-digit share of the market, increasing from 8.2% of total browser usage in January 2004 to a current high of 21.2%. Internet Explorer's share has dipped from 84.9% in December, 2003, to 71.7% this month, after a year of monthly decreases in usage.

The SpreadFirefox site provides help forums for users, and it also creates a space for fans to come up with marketing projects designed to get the word out about Firefox. Registered users get a blog to use as a soapbox, and many of the blogs are well commented, an encouraging sign of heavy activity at the site. Every minute or so, a new name appears at the top of each page designating the latest person to place a Firefox button on their Web site linking back to SpreadFirefox.com.

One interesting feature of the site is the user-created gallery, where you'll find pictures of Firefox in action, as well as photographs of people in Firefox tee-shirts, cars with Firefox bumper stickers, and cell phones sporting the little fox with his tail wrapped around the world. There's even a picture of an exquisitely carved Halloween pumpkin that is the exact image of the Firefox logo.

SpreadFirefox.com also provides visitors with some easy tips for spreading the word. Suggestions include adding tiny buttons and text links to email signatures, placing buttons on Web sites, giving Firefox free ad space in your publication, and rating Firefox at popular download sites like c|net's Download.com.

If you'd like to volunteer to help with the actual Firefox project, there's a page at SpreadFirefox.com that will tell you all about how you can help fix bugs, find security vulnerabilities, help test Firefox, contact Web sites that don't work with the browser, or even become a volunteer copy editor and work with all the content posted at the site.

The most interesting part of the site is the Marketing Ideas forum. It's a gigantic brainstorming session where anyone is free to toss an idea into the mix. Also fun to peruse is the "Favorite Switch Quips" section where everyone posts one-liners describing why they made the switch to Firefox.

Mozilla had a great idea when it decided to create and release the Firefox browser, and it had another great idea when it decided to create SpreadFirefox.com as an inexpensive marketing tool and a place to "unite the community into one cohesive marketing force that even competitors with unlimited resources can't compete with."

Category:

  • Open Source
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