Virtuous cycle

Bartlomiej Owczarek weblog

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Google adds fuel to Firefox flames

PKiN and bleak skyThe sky is depressingly white and it’s becoming dark so fast. The Warsaw is not a very energizing place right now.

I am working on a case study for students and it takes more time that I expected, or perhaps I am not particularly productive for all this adverse conditions described above. Anyway, since I’ve never done this before, I would like the stuff to be as good as possible. How it will look in practice, I will see the coming week. And the next week – Russia, Ukraine, or something else – you never know.

Elsewhere in the world, interesting things are taking place. “Battle of giants” kind of things.

Let’s take my favorite app, Firefox browser. This open source (i.e. principally non-commercial) program has managed to gain ca. 10% market share (estimations vary and there is also significant geographical distribution) within a year. It generated a lot of noise in the process, for all its gains were mostly at the expense of the dominant Microsoft’s IE.

Firefox is fast, has some innovative features appreciated by power users (like tabbed browsing) and a clean interface. These virtues proved to be enough to allow it spread fast by a word of mouth, but there have been also certain grass-roots, gorilla marketing initiatives, like Spread Firefox. Firefox has always had a friendly relation with Google, to which it defaults its search box and a starting page. Google in return made sure its web properties were Firefox friendly and provided some hosting assistance. It refrained though from a more decisive support, even as people speculated about a possibility of some kind of “branded” Google browser based on Firefox code.

It changed now as Google offers bounty for every Firefox download through its “referral” program. Web publishers will place referral buttons on their sites and for each downloaded copy they will pocket 1$.

Kill Bill's BrowserIt will take some time to judge the outcomes. More innovative promotional activity can be expected now, when there is a tangible reward in place. Some examples are already there.
I like especially this battle cry (open letter on “Explorer Destroyer”):

Mozilla built us a wonderful tool. Google gave us a carrot. Now take the stick and beat IE’s a**.

Since I am happy to recommend Firefox anyway and so far didn’t have any contacts with Google’s ad program (hell, this site is not even indexed, still) I was curious to try how this new thing works. Referral program requires to join Google’s AdSense first, so I filled a form and got through verification process in something like 6 hours. So far so good.

It seems, however, that the Firefox initiative is limited to the US only. So my original reason for all of this is gone, but maybe I can make that up by having some fun with AdSense program. At least I can make referral to this one:

…Only it doesn’t work now. Ok, enough for one day.