Firefox Marketing Project, Week 2

Thursday July 15th, 2004

Blake Ross writes: "Many thanks to everyone who participated in our first marketing project. As I write this, 1369 people have given Firefox a 96% approval rating, and 1220 people have rated it straight fives across the board. Firefox is now on the most popular list, above other heavyweights like MSN Messenger, AIM, and Winamp. This was an amazing launch to our 'ten weeks, ten ideas, ten million downloads' community marketing campaign.

"For our second initiative, we're stepping it up a bit and asking you to help us manage the enormous volume of press coverage that our products enjoy daily. We're seeking to mobilize a team of determined individuals that can manage itself in identifying three types of press coverage — factually inaccurate stories, stories that don't mention Firefox or Thunderbird but should, and stories that are factually correct and balanced — and respond to them accordingly. A new mailing list will be used to coordinate daily activity; the team will be determined, focused, easily mobilized and not prone to the sort of long and aimless discussions that plague other lists. The Foundation's in-house press relations team will continue to handle the 'tier 1', most prominent stories, but for everything else we need your help. More information about the initiative and how you can help is available at my blog."

#8 Race to Construct. Not War to Demolite.

by danielwang <>

Friday July 16th, 2004 3:57 AM

You are replying to this message

> We _are_ a grassroots movement and there's nothing wrong with this project utilizing all of it's resources the best way it can

While I agree with this, I do not agree with using this line of defence for everything that happens in the community. While it is true that Asa and Blake explicitly ask people to give honest reviews both in the initial announcements and their respective blogs, it is also true that MozillaZine (where most fans go for information) has not publicly denounced unfair reviews. I do not know if MozillaZine is the proper bulletin board for such thing. However, the project did cause some controversey and we did need a open channel where we could calm people down.

I do not think anyone here argue against the intention of the project. We know Asa and Blake meant well. However, the project had many faults. The poll system on was too open and thus open to spamming. We did not have a place where participants can talk about the campaign. We did not have a place where those who started the campaign can respond to criticism and events that happened. The initial announcement did not contain strong enough a message against fraudent reviews.

There are things we can improve. I urge Asa and Blake to more openly accept criticism and suggestion to improvements. I also urge everybody who disagrees with the first campaign to calm down. What we need is constructive discussion on what can go wrong with this campaign and how to prevent that. There is no point starting a war here over what happened in week 1.

Week two should be better. We are not targeting any particular press, and we are not suggesting any particular action. Instead, we open a mailing list and ask people to suggest what news articles to respond to (or not to respond to) and what kind of actions to take. Discovering and responding to news articles take some effort, and this should ensure that most participants will be more thoughtful and not take shortcuts. The marketing aims here are accuracy and fairness. If a reporter recommands another browser or criticizes Firefox or Mozilla, but does so with facts and logics, I'm sure most participants will let the reporter go and some would even praise the reporter.

The action that is emphasized here (or at least I think should be emphasized) is fact finding, not the actual response. As I wrote in a message to Raiph (who was working on a similar but independent project):

. Lots of news out there are misleading and contain wrong or incomplete information. . We need a place where people can get the correct information before sending out . comments. Having such info ready, furthermore, would has more substance than . notes on NPOV and propaganda. An informed audience will be able to send out NPOV . comments without being told to.

Responding to press is nothing new. We have been talking about this ever since the marketing-public mailing list opened. Most participants will be serious people. There is just no comparison between the first campaign and the second.