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posts categorized as “mozilla”

from underneath the giant spatula

My friends from across the parking lot David and Ken have begun a blog debate on whether a Firefox Super Bowl Ad is a good idea. I’ve been chatting with Ken about this recently and agree that it’s a great idea. So, to back up Ken, I’d like to respond to a number of David’s points.

Does a Super Bowl ad “feel” Mozilla, even with community involvement? Unlike Download Day or the NY Times Ad, appearing on the Super Bowl just doesn’t seem to fit our DNA.

Yes. I think the community coming together to plan and organize something makes anything feel Mozilla, whether it’s sending a laptop to space to claim 100% of the non-Earth market share, sponsoring every Red Panda exhibit in the world, or running a historic Super Bowl ad.

In fact, Firefox is growing even faster overseas. Which makes advertising on the Super Bowl curious. As a very US-centric event, there’s little reason to spend nearly an entire year’s marketing budget on something that so few current and potential new Firefox users will see.

Firefox’s amazing growth overseas is certainly great, but I see it as even more of a reason to make sure our growth in the US stays strong. I disagree that there will be “so few current and potential new Firefox users” watching the Super Bowl — I think it’s the perfect opportunity to get exposure in front of the non-technical audience that’s hardest for us to reach. And, who isn’t a potential new Firefox user, anyway?

It seems that over the last few years, the only way to generate press from your Super Bowl Ad is to show scantily clad women or do something incredibly controversial. … Simply running user-generated or community sponsored commercials is unoriginal and likely wouldn’t provide any additional press.

I’ve never really been one to fit in, but I have to think there are others like me who remember well-done ads long before they can remember a sexual or controversial ad. All we have to do is peak someone’s interest enough to get them to do a search for “firefox” a week later when they see “web browser” mentioned on a website and never thought twice about it before.

NBC used to use the slogan “If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you” to promote re-runs. Any Firefox community member who sees a Super Bowl ad would get goosebumps. Any Firefox user who sees a Super Bowl ad would be proud. And I really don’t see a non-Firefox user or reporter who sees a Super Bowl ad saying “community-backed commercials are so unoriginal” and refusing to pay it any attention. I think it’s much more likely that when the Firefox logo appears, one of the people at a Super Bowl party says “Hey, I use Firefox! It’s great!” and the other people at that party remember what he said next time IE crashes.

Retention marketing is indeed a challenge. However, the linkages between Firefox and improved retention by spending an entire year’s marketing budget on 60 30 seconds of TV is misguided. To retain a user (or buyer), an organization needs to consistently engage with them over time.

For existing Firefox users, this isn’t going to come and go in 30 seconds. Before the commercial, getting support and funding for this will be a monumental task, and will involve Firefox users talking to their friends and keeping them involved. After the commercial, when a coworker walks up and sees you using Firefox and says “hey, didn’t I see an ad for them last month?”, you can proudly tell them that they did and why you love it.

The effects of the crop circle, Download Day, and the New York Times ad weren’t constrained to the first-hand witnesses of the events. They had effects on Firefox users and non-Firefox users alike who heard about them and wondered (or already knew) what was so great about a web browser that made people do these things. That’s engaging with users over time brought to a whole new level.

I think the idea is worthy of further discussion and look forward to reading additional points of view. And by the way, I haven’t watched the Super Bowl in years.

AMO in 2009

As Nick mentioned on the Add-ons Blog yesterday, we’ll be giving a presentation tomorrow on what’s in store for addons.mozilla.org in 2009. You can tune in to Air Mozilla Thursday at 12:30pm Pacific time to watch the presentation and ask any questions you might have.

I hope to see you there!

How do you measure a year?

In daylights? in sunsets? in midnights, in cups of coffee? How about love? Both Ken Kovash and the cast of RENT can tell you that a year is 525,600 minutes. But I measure my years as the time between each Ken Kovash Day.
Picture of Ken Kovash
As December 19 approaches each year, I start to get an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and purpose. Not because of anything I’ve achieved, but because I think of all that Ken has done over the last year. To give just a small glimpse into some of Ken’s doings since last KKD:

  • Thursday, December 20, 2007: Ken wakes up, goes to work, and pioneers analytics.
  • Friday, December 21, 2007: Ken wakes up, goes to work, and pioneers analytics.
  • Saturday, December 22, 2007: Ken wakes up and pioneers analytics.
  • … and at least 362 other accomplishments

I only wish I had such dedication — to think, even pioneering analytics on weekends! That’s why I was so happy to discover that the official Ken Kovash Day website added a new feature for this year’s KKD: a widget where you can express your desire to be like Ken Kovash. It even keeps track of how many people share your aspirations in real time!

I have to say, the Friends of Ken Kovash organization really stepped it up a notch for this year’s celebration of Ken Kovash. I encourage everyone to check out their Ken Stories section for this year and to submit your own if you have a particularly heart-warming Ken Story or revelation.

No other course; no other way. It’s Ken Kovash Day.

Add-on-Con Wrap-up

Yesterday, despite the best efforts of a snowstorm in the South, I made it to the first ever Add-on-Con hosted at the Computer History Museum about a minute or two away from Mozilla’s office. The event exceeded my expectations and was a great experience.

It was a weird, great feeling being around so many people that spend their time working on add-ons and care about them as much as I do. Some of my thoughts about the sessions:

  • In the opening keynote panel on add-on business models, it was great to hear that our compatibility outreach with Firefox is helping developers and that being featured on AMO has such a positive impact on extensions.
  • Brian King gave a great talk on the state of the Mozilla Add-ons universe, covering the history of extensions in Mozilla, AMO, Mozdev, and a number of other topics.
  • I was unexpectedly part of the Add-on Distribution Strategies session panel, along with Rey Bango (Mozilla), Pat Buckley (WebMynd), and Alec Jeong (Cooliris). It was interesting to hear and talk about the journeys add-ons go through for better distribution and exposure, and reminded me how important metrics and statistics are to making those decisions. I have some follow-up notes on this and will be blogging about this more in the future.
  • The closing keynote was a browser vendor panel of Microsoft, Mozilla, and Google. I was very glad that the questions were all add-on related rather than a generic browser panel seen at other conferences.

One of the things that struck me about yesterday was that “AMO” was mentioned in every talk I went to without ever being defined. I usually always define it the first time I use it, but everyone at the conference seemed to know what AMO is, which was a very strange feeling.

Overall, the conference was a really great thing for both business folks and technical folks, and people on the add-on development side as well as people on the browser vendor / distribution channel side, especially for being its first year. I can’t wait until next year.

Impact Mozilla, Thunderbird 3.0b1, and Firefox 3.1b2!


Voting has begun for the Impact Mozilla contest, and after taking a look at all of the finalists, I was very excited to see that about half of them involve using add-ons to promote Firefox and increase retention. Check out the finalists and vote before next Wednesday!

Today, Thunderbird 3 beta 1 was released. I tried it out and immediately switched to using it as my default client. The upgrade from 2.0 was seamless, and I’m really enjoying the new features and interface. Of course, one of my favorites is the new Add-ons Manager, first introduced in Firefox 3. It will now be possible to install extensions from AMO directly in Thunderbird by searching for them in the Add-ons Manager.


Speaking of beta releases, Firefox 3.1 beta 2 was released yesterday with Private Browsing mode, TraceMonkey turned on, and one of my favorite less-announced features: being able to drag the window around on Mac from any part of the chrome (also available in Thunderbird 3.0b1!).

Lots of exciting things so far this week, and it’s only Tuesday!