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Firefox Community, Sickly Out of Control 339

Posted by Hemos
from the how-to-promote-yourself dept.
darlingbuddy writes "After users started reporting Firefox's 150 million+ downloads, this article mentions why it's a bad move on the community's part. The author writes, "I'm proud of the community that pitched in enough donations for Firefox to get a full-page advertisement in The New York Times print edition, and I'm delighted to see them think of creative ideas for promotion, but reporting total downloads every so often and immaturely degrading Internet Explorer is ridiculous. The thing with these numbers is that they are misleading at best, and the only thing they accomplish is immature fanboyism. It's a fact that Internet Explorer is inferior to Firefox with its extensive collection of extensions and ability to support qualified web standards, but does the community need to resort to using third-class promotional tactics with total downloads number?"
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Firefox Community, Sickly Out of Control

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  • I call troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bj8rn (583532) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:39PM (#14858694)
    This story is nothing but a blatant troll. It has no content other than "the Firefox community are immature". The only proof the author offers to support his claim is that "the number of total Firefox downloads is misleading". I can't really tell what one has to do with the other, as the author has sort of jumped to the conclusion...nay, not even that. He's first come up with the idea that the members of the Firefox community are immature, and only then tried to come up with "arguments" to prove this.

    Personally, I can't see anything wrong with the promotional tactics "criticized" in the article. It is, after all, an easier way to get the message across than the ones the author of the article suggests ("Release updates, innovative extensions and add interesting features (not necessary by default) to promote with value", which, while a good thing, is hardly a good way to promote Firefox).

    Yeah, I know, I shouldn't have fed the troll. But it felt so bloody good I just couldn't help myself :7

    • Re:I call troll (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Bogtha (906264)

      Personally, I can't see anything wrong with the promotional tactics "criticized" in the article. It is, after all, an easier way to get the message across than the ones the author of the article suggests

      There's one crucial difference: honesty. I don't think that the ends justify the means. I think Firefox is a much better browser than Internet Explorer, as a web developer I wish people would switch, and as a user I wish web developers paid more attention to it. But I'm not going to parrot a meaning

      • Re:I call troll (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sbrown123 (229895) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:02PM (#14858953) Homepage
        There's one crucial difference: honesty.

        Mozilla is honest. The figure they give is how many downloads they have counted . Now, how many of those downloads were from unique users? Thats a mystery there.

        McDonalds has for years advertised they have served "millions" and later "billions" of people. Interestingly, they never spent the time to figure out that some of those billions served were sometimes the same people going back for more (sick bastards). But that fact doesn't matter since the truth is that McDonalds "served" that many people, not "served" that many unique people. And McDonalds is an advertising monster! They thought advertising the number served was a good idea. Probably 99.9% of Americans today know of that particular advertisement. That advertisement campaign was sooo good we all remember it! So, your idea that number counting in advertisements is not an effective means of promotion you are really, really wrong in that assumption.
        • by KarateExplosions (959215) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:15PM (#14859081)
          And then the question becomes... Is McDonald's more immature for advertising how many billions they've served (obviously meaning burgers, not people), or for having a clown for a spokesman?
        • Re:I call troll (Score:3, Insightful)

          by toofast (20646) *
          Actually, McDonalds doesn't claim to have served "people" - they simply claim "xx billions served". In this case, I think it's more logical to assume they're refering to orders.

          As long as Mozilla do like McDonalds - claim "millions of downloads", not "millions of people downloaded" they'll be okay.
        • Re:I call troll (Score:3, Informative)

          by Bogtha (906264)

          Mozilla is honest. The figure they give is how many downloads they have counted.

          It's not stating how many downloads there have been that is dishonest. It's issuing press releases like this [mozilla.org] about it that is dishonest.

          Pretend you know nothing about HTTP and distribution methods, and read that press release.

          Firefox adoption numbers have exceeded expectations with more than 100 million downloads

          Do you really think that isn't misleading? That it doesn't make the average person think that there

          • by flyingsquid (813711) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:58PM (#14859543)
            Do you really think that isn't misleading?

            Breaking news: advertisement misleading, report at 11.

          • Re:I call troll (Score:3, Insightful)

            by srw (38421) *

            Where did this "millions of new users every week" figure come from? Is it directly taken from the download figures? 100 million downloads over the course of a year is about 2 million per week. It certainly looks as if they are equating downloads with new users to me.

            Can you come up with a better way to estimate "new users"? I, for one, installed Firefox for over 600 users from a single download. Maybe there's more than 2 million new users per week. (I suspect there were, at the time of that article, as s

          • Misleading? (Score:3, Informative)

            by bunratty (545641)

            Do you really think that isn't misleading? That it doesn't make the average person think that there are 100 million users?

            How is that misleading? Firefox does have about 100 million users. There are about 1 billion Internet users [internetworldstats.com], with about 10% of them using Firefox [onestat.com].

      • Re:I call troll (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bj8rn (583532) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:08PM (#14859019)
        If you accept that download figures are meaningless (and I don't se you arguing that point), then what on earth is the point of making a big fuss over them, if not to mislead people?

        I agree that the download figures are meaningless. However, I can't see how quoting these figures is worse than any other trick used in advertising. Of course one can keep using this kind of rhetorics for only so long; at one point, they will have to come up with something new, at which point the community will start chanting the new slogan. But I still can't see how this is a sign of them being immature.

        • Re:I call troll (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:58PM (#14859556) Homepage
          You don't get the point. We all know that lots of advertising is immoral, misleading, immature, bullshit.

          You can't argue that something is OK because it's similar to something else that's *NOT* OK.

          Unless, offcourse, you subscribe to "It's ok to be evil as long as the other guy is too", or "aslong as we can be favourably compared to McD we're ok." or "sure we're lying, but that's common in advertising, so it's ok" or some other such nonsense.

          "Millions of new users every week" *is* misleading. It's simply not true. There are about 2 million *downloads* a week, but atleast half of those are likely to be existing users upgrading or installing on multiple machines.

          So, it's a lie. And that's nok ok -- not even if the other guys are lying too.

          • "Millions of new users every week" *is* misleading. It's simply not true.

            I wasn't aware that they used this slogan to promote Firefox. I must say that this is where I would draw the line between what's ok and what's not. For me, it is ok to boast with "150,000,000 downloads", but talking about "millions of new users every week" would probably already be a lie. And no, I would not be ok with this -- not even if we were talking about McDonalds.

    • Re:I call troll (Score:3, Insightful)

      by deanj (519759)
      Any browser number out there is misleading anyway, Firefox, IE, or otherwise. It's the number of users that matters.

      Think of how many computers each person uses, and how many firefox initial installations that counts for. Then add the upgrades, which are sometimes new downloads.

      They should just keep improving the browser, and let their work speak for itself. It's been working well so far.
    • Re:I call troll (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drgonzo59 (747139) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:55PM (#14858883)
      Good point. I wish there was a way to moderate stories. Go below 1, and "bye-bye" -- story is gone from the front page.

      And what is so wrong with reporting how many times the browser has been downloaded? There is obviously some correlation between the number of downloads and the number of users using it. One way to get people to try something is to tell them that a million other people just like them, already did it. It shows that the product works. Criticism (and self criticism) is useful only when it is meaningful and not just "OMG, teh Firef0x people iz s000 imature! We n33d to b3 teh profeshin5l like B1ll Gat3z!!!!!"

      • Re:I call troll (Score:2, Interesting)

        by LiquidCoooled (634315)
        According to the slash tag beta [slashdot.org] thingy, we will be able to identify both articles and comments using our own tags.

        Some will have meaning in the system:


        We're going to build the next generation of moderation on top of tags. That means we're going to poach your namespace. Some tags will have a substantive effect on the system right from the start (or very soon). Our article tagger will know about tags like "dupe" or "typo". When we roll out tagging on comments, we will teach it "troll" and "informative". These
    • Good god, yes. I wish there was some wat to vote down these stories.
      • Re:I call troll (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Zeinfeld (263942)
        Good god, yes. I wish there was some wat to vote down these stories.

        I wish that there was a way to eliminate the editors entirely and put everything on autopilot. Let the readers choose the stories, let the readers decide what topics are important.

        But this is an example of the good side of having editors. Usually Slashdot is non-stop pumping for open source. It is the Fox News or the Air America of Open Source software. There may have been a point to that stance in the 1990s. Today it gets a little tire

        • by Bogtha (906264) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:37PM (#14859331)

          I wish that there was a way to eliminate the editors entirely and put everything on autopilot. Let the readers choose the stories, let the readers decide what topics are important.

          This is exactly how Digg operates. Unfortunately, you are overestimating just how useful other readers are in determining which topics are important. Turns out, most people are idiots, and this is reflected in the stories that make it to the front page. The only real difference with Slashdot is that you can hold somebody accountable for the idiocy.

          I think a hybrid approach would be better. Let Digg-style voting filter the unpopular articles away, and then let a group of site editors fix the writeup and decide which make it to the front page.

          • This is exactly how Digg operates. Unfortunately, you are overestimating just how useful other readers are in determining which topics are important. Turns out, most people are idiots, and this is reflected in the stories that make it to the front page. The only real difference with Slashdot is that you can hold somebody accountable for the idiocy.

            I think that the problem there are the layout of the site and the use of direct democracy as the basis for choosing stories. I think it is pretty clear that th

          • Granted, it's not strictly a tech site, but Newsvine [newsvine.com] seems to be doing a great job of combining various elements of Digg, /., and some other news sites. And the devs constantly read the posted articles and comments and are more than happy to take constructive criticism. As I said, it's a general news site, but there are 'technology' and 'science' categories over there, so let's get the ball rolling and turn it into a slashdot-killer. : p
    • Re:I call troll (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pneuma ROCKS (906002)
      Yes. Furthermore, the actions of a few cannot be generalized as the "Firefox community". I'm a regular contributor at SFX (spreadfirefox) and there's a lot of people who help spread the word in amazing ways. But there are also a couple of members, every now and then, that come up with stupid childish ways of "forcing" people into using Firefox. Some will add a persistent nagging popup that IE won't filter, telling their visitor to download Firefox. Others will just go on and on ranting about IE and Microsof
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's just blatantly hypocritical. If I may summarize the article:

      "OMG, dudez! we all no dat frefox is TEH BOMBBBB!!!! and like IE is SUX0RS! (i mean HARD!) but wecan be k00l n not TOTALY thro it n thr bitchass facez!! NOT! LOLOLOLOL!!! serously u guyz lez be chillllll cuz we gosta reprezet teh awsums1!! ANDALL U IE BIACHES KAN SUK MY DIK!!"

      Yup. That's a pretty accurate paraphrase.
    • Re:I call troll (Score:3, Informative)

      by AviLazar (741826)
      He's first come up with the idea that the members of the Firefox community are immature, and only then tried to come up with "arguments" to prove this.

      Well, I can't comment on the article itself - since it has been /.'d, but I can say this...in argument you typically make your premise then you go on to prove it. It would be odd to make your proof and then your premise. If your statement is correct, then the author took the proper method of writing his article. First he says "Wa wa wa" then he says "w
      • Re:I call troll (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bj8rn (583532)
        "The Firefox community are a bunch of immature fanbois" hardly qualifies as a correct premise in my book, as I can't see how you can prove a statement like this. Had he simply said that he found the Firefox ads immoral as the use of statistics was misleading, it'd have been something he could have made arguments for or against that I could have agreed or disagreed with. But it seems to me that his intention was simply to rant about how the Firefox community suck, not to make a proper argument for or against
    • Thank you. I wish I had read your response before reading the article.

      The article itself was very badly written, or badly edited. Looks like a sophomoric effort, at best.

      I think Gundeeps main complaint is that a Firefox installation, if abandoned, is counted as a Firefox installation (download).

      I suspect that Internet Explorer are counted on units shipped and downloaded as well, making the entire point moot.

      And, as you were, here I am, stuck in the trollnes of it all.

      Ratboy
  • by lordkuri (514498) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:41PM (#14858711)
    YES! In case you haven't noticed, advertising in this day and age is mostly pandering to the lowest common denominator. The vast majority of people *love* to see "big numbers" because "well, if everyone else is doing it, I should do it too". Microsoft themselves have used the exact same tactics, as well as almost every other company on the planet at some point or another.

    Advertising is a game that has to be played, and it must be played in a fashion to make it work. Personally, I think it's somewhat sad that they have to resort to outlandish claims, but that's what works... it speaks more for the state of our society than anything else.
    • incarnate of course in the persons of practicioners of marketing They indeed perform many useful and construction functions, but informing the public in the truest sense of the word is not one of them.

      Unfortunately, since the devil makes such free use of out contextless "statistics", the side of the angels cannot forbear to use them as well. In most cases I detest this kind of reasoning, but since we're talking about counteracting one incomplete truth which functions as a lie with an equal and opposite in
    • I completely agree. But also...

      Am I the only one that sees that pandering to the lowest common denominator for a GOOD product actually benefits everyone? If less people use Internet Explorer (because nobody updates anyway) then less people can have their lives/businesses interupted by malware. Thus, the big numbers convincing simple people for the sake of good, is GOOD.

      It's like health. Stay healthy, and you will live longer and more comfortabley. Not many people are healthy for the sake of their own health
    • How is announcing the # of downloads different than McDonalds bragging about the number of burgers served? Yes, if we think about it, we can fairly say that not every download was unique, but we can also say that not every McDonalds burger that was sold was sold to a single person. We don't get mad at McDonalds for that, though (we get mad cause those "Billions of Burgers" have all been crappy :P).

      That being said, 150 million downloads is a significant number. First off, it's big. I mean really really big
  • by Manuscript Replica (307437) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:41PM (#14858718)
    Wow, fanboys of a technology of some kind are using misleading figures and unnecessarily degrading their competition? No way. That never happens.
  • by AEton (654737) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:42PM (#14858725)
    but does the community need to resort to using third-class promotional tactics with total downloads number?

    If I could figure out what that meant I might have a witty retort.
  • by fak3r (917687) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:43PM (#14858734) Homepage
    I always thought the NYTimes Ad thing was a bit silly, I mean come on, this is software; it should lead by example and be used by people in the know. People learn about new software from reviews and co-workers/friends. Mozilla is not Microsoft, they shouldn't spend money in an attempt to gain marketshare. This is not a case for old school marketing, this is a new way of thinking; let the software speak for itself.
    • Mozilla is not Microsoft, they shouldn't spend money in an attempt to gain marketshare.

      Why not?

      This is not a case for old school marketing, this is a new way of thinking; let the software speak for itself.

      If no-one's ever heard of it, it can speak for itself with an eloquence befitting Tolstoy, and it'll still sink into oblivion.
    • "Mozilla is not Microsoft, they shouldn't spend money in an attempt to gain marketshare. "

      Why not?

      Why because Firefox is OSS does it have to "let the software speak for itself"? Non-Profits need good PR too you know.

      Your new way of thinking only gets you so far. I agree that they shouldn't be spending money foolishly but they also shouldn't run away from traditional Media tactics just to be different. Hype is gets users, quality is what keeps them.

    • "People learn about new software from reviews and co-workers/friends"

      This is true for us in the IT community who have geeky friends and read magazines with technology reviews, but the majority of us techies have tried Firefox and decided we like it and told our friends, or have decided we don't like it and use something else.

      I see no problem with advertising to reach a new audience who may otherwise not be exposed to a potential alternative that may bring them some benefits. They gained their main market

  • by Chas (5144) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:43PM (#14858736) Homepage Journal
    Just like this guy and his snarky opinions are now getting his site lots of traffic.
  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:44PM (#14858747)
    does the community need to resort to using third-class promotional tactics with total downloads number?

    *points at Microsoft*
    They started it FIRST!!

    Would you prefer Firefox and Mozilla to pay for researchers to put out highly slanted reports instead? Which class would that be? First? Second? If you ask me, that's without class.
  • by guyfromindia (812078) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:44PM (#14858748) Homepage
    The author seems to have a good argument...
    But, even if 1/10th of 150 Million downloads are by individuals - who continue to use Firefox after downloading - 15,000,000 is still a significant number, given that most OEMs are still putting IE as the default browser in new PCs...
    If all OEMs include Firefox in their new PCs and ask the user to configure which browser they would like to use (on first startup), I am sure most of them who know about Firefox will choose it..
    That said, I would say that promoting Firefox by saying that "Firefox Downloads Exceed 150 Million" is still valid... at least it is for the betterment of the whole Internet ;)
    • I run firefox on 1 windows machine, 1 mac, and 1 linux box (and i used to do solaris too).

      I've probably downloaded firefox 4 or 5 times on each of those platforms, yet I only have three active installs.
      • Inversely, I used to sysadmin a network where I installed Firefox onto a few dozen PC's but from only one download.

        The numbers are obviously unreliable, but they do lead to trends. Maybe a 'better' number would be a % delta over month-month or quarter-quarter. Then again, you're assuming that people would understand what that means. Pure raw numbers at least cater to the lowest common denominator in that the vast majority of people know that 150M is a lot.
  • by ENOENT (25325) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:44PM (#14858749) Homepage Journal
    Oh yeah, well, you're ugly!
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:45PM (#14858765)
    How is this any different from Microsoft claiming to have X billion MSN searches a month when their browser redirects any typo or bad url as an MSN search query? I agree that the reporting of X million downloads isn't particularly meaningful, but when the competition sits there throwing around meaningless numbers, one of the only choices is to join in and play the same game...
    • So... the justification for doing it is that the other, evil side did it first?

      I thought people gave up on the "but he hit me first" logic back in third grade... I guess I was wrong.

      What ever happened to rising above the competition, rather than stooping to their level?
  • We all Know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xoip (920266) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:46PM (#14858775) Homepage
    Downloads are just a rough approximation of support.
    The fact that some users may Download multiple times while others will re-use the same copy over and over or bundle it on a CD for distribution.
    That said, there is nothing wrong with letting people know that Firefox is a viable alternative to IE, and using the download number is the only tool at hand to guage the size of the user community.
    • Downloads are just a rough approximation of support.

      Yes, but there's no way of knowing how accurate this "rough approximation" is. It sounds like you think that an unknown number of people being undercounted and an unknown number of people being overcounted somehow cancel each other out. They don't. Making up a number on the spot is a "rough approximation" too. Rough approximations are meaningless unless you know how far off you could be.

      using the download number is the only tool at hand to gu

  • Computer Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by prgrmr (568806) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:46PM (#14858778) Journal
    There was a time when working with computers was referred to as a Science. This was completely justifiable in that almost every aspect of working with computers can be quantified. And as Heinlein observed, that which can be quantified is science, and that which cannot is opinion.

    While the article's author does, in fact, have a point about the statistical validity of the Firefox download count, he doesn't approach the subject from that perspective, and instead is ultimately guilty of the same thing he is accusing the Firefox community of: being completely immature.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:47PM (#14858801)
    "It's a fact that Internet Explorer is inferior to Firefox..."

    I'll only believe that IE is inferior to Firefox for end user applications if lots and lots of end users agree.

    "...does the community need to resort to using third-class promotional tactics with total downloads number?"

    Well, if 150 million end users agree IE is inferior to Firefox for end user applications, then I would tend to agree with them, especially given the extra download Firefox users must perform to install Firefox on their desktop.

    So...the answer would appear to be "Yes, Firefox is doing the correct thing by posting usage and adoption numbers." Can I help you with anything else today?

    • "It's a fact that Internet Explorer is inferior to Firefox..."

      I'll only believe that IE is inferior to Firefox for end user applications if lots and lots of end users agree.

      Right. The original statement bothered me also. The story author's claim is pretty dubious. In consideration of the word used ("inferior"), which has derogotory connotations, it's hard to beleive that this statement is the result of some factual, objective analysis.

      What people need to understand about complex systems like soft

  • Troll! (Score:5, Informative)

    by GarfBond (565331) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:48PM (#14858806)
    The counter ignores you if you are using a firefox UA.
    It also doesn't include downloads from mirrors or updates pushed out through the browser updater.

    If anything, this means that the counter is underreporting. Also that this article is mostly nullified.

    Also, isn't this the 2nd link to cooltechzone in as many articles? I think someone's trolling for hits.
  • by wackysootroom (243310) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:49PM (#14858819)
    Come on. "Cool Tech Zone"? Are we really that hard up for news that we have to go dipping into the bottom of the garbage pail of tech websites to find a troll to post on the front of slashdot. All I can say is at least it's not a blog.
  • by NekoXP (67564) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:52PM (#14858845) Homepage
    Of course they need to resort to "immature" tactics like reporting download totals and making fun of IE.

    Any non-geek user doesn't understand what is wrong with IE. You can't verbally demonstrate what is wrong with it. HTML standards compliance, full CSS2 support, Javascript, DOM1, wah wah wa. It goes over their heads.

    You could show them the difference but CNN and MSN and Slashdot and so on all work in IE just fine, with no huge glitches or problems, no great security issues (I tend not to click things at random).

    What I find more immature is site designers who make sites which ONLY work in Gecko (and not Opera and specially not IE!) and then complain that the other browsers are not standards compliant. These site designers were the first to blast websites that were "best viewed in IE" or designed using Microsoft JS extensions (document.all[]) and so on.

    Not so much the development team or Mozilla marketing fanboys but basically a pretentious, self-righteous, deluded few.
    • Speaking of JavaScript, is there any good reason why Firefox can get and set the .src attribute of an imageButton (an image with a tagName of input), but can't read its .complete attribute? Its been driving me nuts all morning... Other than that, v1.5 hasn't seriously bothered me yet, though I don't like the way it dumps CSS and program errors to the javascript console without separating them from the javascript errors.
      • Please be a bit more careful with your terminology. There's a big difference between an HTML attribute and a Javascript property, and a big difference between an HTML tag and an HTML element.

        is there any good reason why Firefox can get and set the .src attribute of an imageButton (an image with a tagName of input)

        I'm going to interpret that as "why Firefox can get and set the src property of an HTMLInputElement corresponding to an <input> element with a type attribute of image.

        The reason

    • What I find more immature is site designers who make sites which ONLY work in Gecko (and not Opera and specially not IE!) and then complain that the other browsers are not standards compliant.

      Show me a standards-compliant page that renders differently in Opera. I do have *one* example where they render differently, where I think Opera is the one being standards-compliant. In my experience they're almost pixel-perfect twins though. As for IE... you don't even have to *try* to make that render crazy.
    • by orthogonal (588627) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:15PM (#14859087) Journal
      Any non-geek user doesn't understand what is wrong with IE. You can't verbally demonstrate what is wrong with it.

      Actually, I've found you can verbalize what's wrong with IE quite easily:
      If you continue to use IE, you will get viruses and Trojans

      works pretty effectively.

      Also effective:
      If you switch to Firefox and install a few simple extensions, you won't see advertisements.


      And the closer:
      And if you really need to view a page in IE (and you usually won't), there's another extension that will let you do that.
    • Not so much the development team or Mozilla marketing fanboys but basically a pretentious, self-righteous, deluded few.

      When browsing the web, I see "best viewed with Firefox" buttons quite frequently. Every once in awhile, I'll even run into a site that uses a browser detection script that either tells me to switch browsers (I currently use Opera) or deliberately prevents me from reading the content. Luckily, I can mask my browser, but it's still annoying and having to do that prevents accurate browser stat
    • I have the hardest time reading Slashdot at work because the layout gets all screwed up and I often get text overwriting itself near the bottom of the page. Doesn't happen with Firefox at home, but with IE at work, it's a huge problem. Given that IE has higher market penetration and the site is supported by advertising, you would think that they'd pay more attention to making it work with IE! I mean, it's not like I even have the option of using Firefox. I don't control what goes on my company laptop!
  • Poor argument. (Score:2, Informative)

    by kryptx (894550)
    I don't like the Firefox community either; I think they give their browser too much credit. But this "article" is just a waste of time.

    See this page [comcast.net] for a more thorough list of inaccuracies that are continually perpetuated by the Firefox community.
  • Since When... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eno2001 (527078)
    ...is reporting stats immature or "fanboy" behavior. There are plenty of sites [microsoft.com] that report stats [netcraft.com] ad nauseum for things that other people care little about [e-trade.com]. Would you call those sorts of sites immature or "fanboy" sites? I personally think the submitter has an axe to grind... Too bad you can't mod the people who get their articles submitted when it's something as stupid as the main story here.
  • by prof187 (235849) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:54PM (#14858865) Homepage
    simple: to let people who are considering supporting firefox know that it is worth their time. the only way people are going to move away from IE-only renderable sites is if it merits their time to ensure cross-compatibility. by letting them know how many people are downloading it, it helps show them that there is a install base worthy of attention
  • A fact???? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hawkmoon77 (957541) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:54PM (#14858871)
    You know how people use the word "literally" when they mean "figuratively?" Apparently, it is also now okay to use the word, "fact" to mean "opinion."
  • There is something to be said for building community and counting downloads tends to get people going. It seems to have worked pretty well at iTunes and I for one wouldn't mind seeing an active counter over at the Firefox main site.

    Whatever the case, this whole article sounds more than a little trollish.
  • Reporting total downloads may not give the reader the best possible representation of the actual popularity of Firefox with respect to its competition, but it still makes sense. When I look for freeware or open source software, and I'm comparing two products, one of the first things I look at is how popular the product is, and usually the best available metric is the number of times the product has been downloaded.

    Is this number an accurate representation of the number of users of that product? No. Who
  • What else can Firefox use as a metric other than downloads? Corporate sales?

    Trolly. Cute. At least it gets everyone's blood moving on a Monday morning.
  • by helix_r (134185) on Monday March 06, 2006 @12:59PM (#14858937)

    Best to leave marketing to the professionals. Geeks don't understand it and never will. If a full page ad in the NYTimes is what they need, then by all means, bless them.

    However, the thing that will kill firefox more effectively than anything else is if it loses its repuation as a stable and quick browser. The more frequent crashes since 1.0.7 have started a little buzz of criticism. The most important thing mozilla should do NOW is to address the instability problems quickly and completely.

    Put the geeks to work on that. Put the biz-dev-marketing people to work on NYTimes.
  • by trifish (826353) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:00PM (#14858943)
    The only relevant measurement that matters is the percentage of visitors using Firefox at big sites like google.com. Someone should ask Google to reveal their stats about browser usage among their visitors. Number of downloads is indeed misleading (I downloaded Firefox but don't use it).
    • At work (white box store) we install Firefox on most computers. We only download it on our own when a new version is released. We do installs from a ripped CD so I can tell you that the download number is several hundred short of the installed number. It's faster than downloading each time. I think the google numbers would be more accurate than downloads.
  • So if Firefox have 150+ million downloads, and another software project has 15+ million downloads doesn't that give me a pretty good idea about their respective popularity? Not that 150 million downloads = 150 million unique people downloading Firefox, or that 150 million downloads = 150 million users or anything like that. So you don't have comparable numbers with IE since it ships with Windows. But you can still compare it to say, every other downloadable application and figure out "Hey, it's actually ver
  • Slashdot Quality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WankersRevenge (452399) on Monday March 06, 2006 @01:09PM (#14859025)
    I've been reading Slashdot for six years or so, and it seems to me, the quality of stories have really taken a nose dive. Or better put, stories written to incite the community have been getting greater air time. I read, write, and sometimes moderate, but stories like this makes me scratch my head and wonder why I even visit this site anymore.
  • by cocoamix (560647)
    It's a fact that Internet Explorer is inferior to Firefox with its extensive collection of extensions and ability to support qualified web standards,

    Why must he denigrate IE so? He sounds like such a fanboy.
  • Are you a mere software user? Is your knowledge of computers so mundane that your opinion is worthless? No. You can tell good software from bad; deep down, you know that Microsoft is evil and that Open Source is good.

    You are painfully aware that the common computer user is doesn't have the skills or knowledge to choose the right software. He has seen too much Microsoft publicity. He is corrupted by the Microsoft-financed "get-the-facts" propaganda campaign. When it comes to technology, his mind is no longer
  • I really don't care the number thing but heck, one of our marketing guy is using firefox and proclaim it's a better alternative than IE (after convinced by another sys-admin) - that's all I need to know in getting me to try firefox on my machines.
  • ..but does the community need to resort to using third-class promotional tactics with total downloads number?

    We do what the people demand and they demand big numbers! Huge ones! You could have the best product in the world but without big numbers and shameless advertising that the average joe eats up like cupcakes, noone will use it.

  • So, total downloads is misleading, huh?

    What metric would you prefer? Installed base? Good luck getting those numbers for Firefox, never mind the fact that Microsoft has the upper hand with IE by default.

    Or perhaps the point of TFA is that Firefox shouldn't do marketing and publicity, and just let it spread by word-of-mouth. I'd be fine with that, if Firefox was pre-installed and set as default browser on every PC sold, like its major competitor.

    The fact is, 150 million downloads IS a meaningful fig
    • He's got a point. I think it's a far more telling stat to poll websites and see what users are connecting with and I don't mean just tech savvy sites like Slashdot. That's far more meaningful. Who cares how many users downloaded Firefox if they aren't using it. I have FF and Opera installed mostly to check out any web work I do. I use IE out of conveniencee more than anything and since I have a decent AV program and I keep my system up to date I have yet to have any security issues.
      • "I think it's a far more telling stat to poll websites and see what users are connecting with and I don't mean just tech savvy sites like Slashdot."

        But why would wou want your publicity numbers to show that you're still just a significant minority player? Defeats the whole purpose of marketing.

        I agree, your stat is more useful to those that are already in the know about Firefox. But to the people the ads and publicity are targeted to, 150 million downloads is much more effective that 22% (if that) tr
  • While I won't feed the trolls website by giving him the traffic...I will say this about the following quote:

    "but does the community need to resort to using third-class promotional tactics with total downloads number?""

    As an advertising executive, all I have to say to this guy is WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF NEW MEDIA!

    These "third-class" promotional tactics are HIGHLY effective, and cut through the other garbage out there. And aside from that, I would much rather see a company relying on the goodwill of its us

  • Let's not forget that you can also install firefox via active directory and even have it managable now.

    MSI for Firefox [frontmotion.com]
  • is he a new editor on slashdot and why is he cout of control?
  • If anyone were out there trying to imply that Firefox has 150,000,000 users *because* of their 150 million downloads, then I might be inclined to agree with you.

    (In fact, it's totally within reason that Firefox *does* have that many users -- since most web analytics firms place FF at about 11% market share, and there're in excess of a billion people using the Web on the planet. But I'm not going to make that claim since I haven't done my research.)

    So, what does the figure "150 million" represent? Simply and
  • It's a fact that Internet Explorer is inferior to FireFox

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but in a submission criticizing the FireFox Community of 'immature fanboyism', isn't it kind of stupid to make this statement?
  • I seem to remember reporting numbers worked for McDonalds; heck, it was on every roadside sign (I think they stopped at 92 billion after Seinfeld made fun of them). Yes, I think its important to let people know that A LOT of other people trust the product that is not under the dominion of Microsoft, because otherwise they wouldn't use it.
  • Different marketing messages resonate with different people. The classic problem of "Crossing the Chasm" involves expanding a product's base from the early adopters willing to take risks to the more conservative mainstream.

    The early adopters ask questions like "what advantage can I gain?"

    The mainstream asks "who do I know that uses this?"

    Advertising your high levels of innovation attracts the early adopters but repels the mainstream.

    Advertising how many other users there are attracts the mainstream, but ap
  • by iabervon (1971) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:18PM (#14860366) Homepage Journal
    The Firefox community says plenty of stuff beyond reporting the number of downloads. The Times ad had distinct names of individuals. The Firefox page reports a bunch of important features. However, the media keeps picking up the download count. You can't really blame Mozilla for the press's focus on meaningless statistics.
  • by boutell (5367) on Monday March 06, 2006 @03:36PM (#14860589) Homepage
    That's not even an overstatement; it's the headline of some completely different story. "Mozilla Community: Prone to Exaggeration" maybe. But not even half as much as the troll who wrote this article.

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