Two Pieces on Mozilla Press Coverage
Sunday October 10th, 1999
Kelly McNeill writes, "osOpinion has an enlightening editorial piece expanding upon Time Digital article entitled 'Whatever Happened to Netscape 5.0?' Here's a quote from their piece: 'It's quite an extraordinary thing when a major media outlet publishes an article that manages to get every single fact wrong. It appears that Time digital has made the extraordinary happen. This article condemns Netscape for not releasing a version 5.0 browser this year. Furthermore, it attempts to blame the Mozilla Project for the delay. Anyone that has taken the time to follow the history of Mozilla knows how outrageous these assertions are.'"
Also, we have a new reader review by David Santiago that addresses some of the misconceptions in Mozilla's press coverage.
Someone should write an article called "What ever happened to Netscape 5.0 coverage?"
The whole Netscape/IE spin war kinda reminds me of the Dukakis/Bush campaign in '88. Believe it or not, Dukakis had a huge lead going into that campaign (remember the "wimp factor"?) But then, after a couple of embarassing PR debacles (ie, Dukakis in a tank), the Dukakis campaign basically stopped campaigning for about five weeks, while the Bush campaign strategized and went on the offensive ("the 'L' word", etc.) Leaving this five-week window open was deadly to the Dukakis effort and Bush totally took advantage of it.
So what happened? Dukakis's lead shrunk, then disappeared, and Bush won by a landslide. Dukakis was never able to pull himself out of the hole he dug when he stopped campaigning.
Dole had a similar problem-- his campaign basically stopped for a few weeks too...
Ok, so what does this have to do with with Netscape, IE5 and media spin? Basically it seems that Netscape has essentially stopped its publicity campaign. IE5 on the other hand has been massing a huge PR effort.
What's the result? Unfair, biased and ill-informed media coverage.
The same thing happened with Apple, who admittedly deserved much of the shit it was getting from the media two years or so ago. But once they got their asses in gear and came up with a strong campaign (and a great line of products too), public perception turned around, and the pro-apple media spin began. (See this week's Time cover).
So all I can say is... we need a positive, consistant campaign to bring Netscape back to good graces w/the media. The media will follow whatever perception AOL or WHOEVER creates. Netscape has the product to back it up, it just needs a message, press releases, slogans, etc.
that's my opinion. You may start flaming now. Anon
I have seen hardly any Netscape efforts to promote Mozilla/Netscape, and the techie-talk on mozilla.org may be comprehensible to developers, but not to the common public.
If Mozilla is groundbreaking, it's about time Netscape/Mozilla went ahead to promote their new product, especially now that the nightly builds/milestones are becoming inceasingly stable.
And even though the Mozilla beta might be out before the Netscape one, it might be a good idea to go ahead with a good press release, explaining what's good, new and ground-breaking about Mozilla, elaborate on the possibilities for the future, some basic open source explaining, and the reason why they wrote the thing from scratch. And add some reviews and a recent stable Mozilla build, too.
When Netscape first announced the fact that they were open-sourcing Navigator, they got pretty good press coverage, and there wasn't even a product then! I don't think telling the world about Mozilla would lead to an embarassment at this stage of the project. I'm sure there are plenty of companies and individuals who'd be highly interested in the Second Coming of Netscape.
#2 Two Pieces on Mozilla Press Coverage
Tuesday October 12th, 1999 3:57 PM
"...we need a positive, consistant campaign to bring Netscape back to good graces w/the media..."
No flames from this quarter, just 110% agreement.
Imagine being an Internet provider, web-mail provider, online shopping centre or some other Internet-based company that *depends* on browser software to get customers. Imagine the possibilities of using XUL and Java for their site. Web-mail providers can create professional pop-up windows with their own interface, ISPs can create their own customised browser with company look, and I won't even elaborate on the possibilities for online shopping.
But the only way you can keep your customers happy is by supplying them improvements. That's what competition is all about. There might be a lot of ISPs who'd love to use Mozilla, but are forced to sign a contract with Mircosoft to use IE5 and upcoming versions for the next 5 years, simply because they need to survive and can't live on "empty" promises or expectations. Either they don't know about Mozilla and its possibilities, or are losing customers because they're still shipping NS4 while everyone wants to use IE5.
There are two ways to win these companies for Mozilla. One is to release a superior product, the other is to refer to an upcoming superior product and inform them on its possibilities. If an ISP can tell its customers, "well, we're not switching to IE5 because there's something *better* coming up soon. And if you want to know what it is, read here." <insert link to Mozilla press release> their customers might want to stick around.
Microsoft did it with its press releases on Win95, Win98 and now Win2000, and by releasing demo versions to developers etc. etc. and making promises on their upcoming product when it wasn't even there. If Netscape wants to survive, they better get on it quickly. And, contrary to Microsoft, they *have* a product to back up their claims and promises.
Come on, how hard is it to release a stable-ish build, complete with explanation, a cool story to go with is, and links to a bunch of cool XUL/Java demos that show the possibilities and advantages for various companies? Any Netscape-based XUL wizards that have time to create a simple Webmail interface in XUL, or a few cool skins?