As both Jane Finette and myself shared last year, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how we can amplify participation around Firefox and empower our Firefox users. In particular, looking at how we can lower the barrier of entry for anyone to declare their support for Firefox and Mozilla, or take small, quick actions to make a difference. As part of this, Jane and team launched the nascent Join Us program and mainstream newsletter, and I worked with folks last year to create a participation page that was linked to Firefox product pages and easier to discover.
As we’ve gone through the process of evaluating our participation channels, naturally we’ve had to examine Spread Firefox. While the model we put in place in 2004 was truly innovative – essentially, a social network and breeding ground for grassroots marketing – it’s now ailing. There are several technical challenges around the site and we’ve seen participation decrease dramatically over the years.
For instance, we’ve seen the advent and huge success of Facebook and other social media channels. Privacy issues aside, Facebook has become a powerful platform for advocacy and communication. Over four million people “like” Mozilla Firefox on Facebook and countless community pages have popped up to share news and communicate with regional fans. Overall, Firefox advocacy has grown, but become decentralized.
At the same time, the competitive landscape has changed substantially since 2004. While we still relish, support and celebrate grassroots marketing activities, Mozillians have been collaborating to create an extended marketing team that spans paid and volunteer staff. The team grew to over 300 around the Firefox 4 for desktop and mobile launches and has the heft of a major commercial software marketing organization.
In response to all of these factors, we’re taking Spread Firefox offline to further explore what makes sense in terms of volunteer engagement. Affiliate buttons have moved to the Get Involved page for now. If you’d like to help out in the near term, please help us track pages or content that should be saved and note sites that direct to Spread Firefox here. Feedback and ideas can also be added in the comments below.
To be clear – this doesn’t mean we’re minimizing our focus on community marketing, but growing it. In line with our pioneering spirit, we’re looking to open up new programs and venues for engaging people globally and to empower them as Mozilla and Firefox supporters. Please keep an eye on the contributor engagement wiki for more info.