Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NEW POST: Firefox viral backfires

Let’s start with a little bit of history: Web (Browser) War I ended with IE’s victory over Netscape - that has since close to vanished.

Then it got a little haughty and a little lazy, sitting on its laurels and no new version from IE appeared for years.

2004, Mozilla roared into the picture. Web (Browser) War II between the victor of Web (Browser) War I and the noob thus started.

Oct 2006 was a significant month for technology.
The unavoidable face-off occurred - IE retaliated and catapulted IE7 and Mozilla blasted out Firefox Ver 2.0.

The IE7 guys as a gesture of goodwill sent over a cake to congratulate Mozilla’s launch.

Since then, according to http://www.netapplications.com/, Mozilla’s market share rose from 7.82% (Feb 07) to 15.8% (Dec 07) last year. An amazing feat already but IE still reigns with over 75% of the market share.

Now back to the story.

To start of the year with a blast, Mozilla secretly launched a viral Campaign to push Firefox and announced it exclusively on TechCrunch on 7 January around 6am (so much for it being secret and viral) which can be described in a simple equation IE = Boredom - this formula it adopted to snigger at IE and keep its 'I’m Cool and Snazzy' status.

The foolhardy-daredevil planted a website http://www.fightagainstboredom.org/ , popped into blog sites, entered Facebook and posted a You-Tube video and decided to use STATISTICS probably with the intention to scare and wow, cos we all know numbers add credibility to any release.

A snippet here from the Tech Cruch article:
" Compared to Internet Explorer users, Firefox users are:
* 21% less likely to be a sales representative or agent at their current place of business.
* 45% more likely to have gone on vacation in San Francisco within the last 2 years.
* 33% less likely to live with others suffering from high cholesterol.
* 6% less likely to have eaten any meal at Chick-fil-A within the last 7 days.
* 24% less likely to live with others suffering from heart disease.
* 66% more likely to have viewed or listened to audio or video about politics or public affairs news within the last 30 day.
* 89% more likely to have purchased database software for work in the last year.
* 38% less likely to live with others suffering from breast cancer. "

And then they probably sat back, patted themselves on the back and waited to see numbers jump and gleefully giggled for page hits.

And hit it did. Hard.

The first wave of Netizens started attacking, incensed and chastising them on their denigration of morals, their insensitivities to real-health issues like heart disease and cancer. One even pulled out Mozilla's mission statement as a case to highlight his disappointment with the developer.

Paul Kim, Mozilla’s VP of marketing probably pulled the plug when he entered the office, around 10 am the same morning the campaign rolled out, and started on damage control - Mozilla promptly took down the sites, and Kim personally replied to comments.

Reply 1:
“ This is Paul Kim, VP of marketing for Mozilla. I want to apologize to anyone who was upset or offended by some of the stats on the not yet final website for this campaign. The list Techcrunch referenced was posted without a final review by Mozilla and wasn’t intended to be published as is. We’re working right now to correct this on the site, which goes live in a final form later today.”

Nice… Blame the Press.

Reply 2:
"Zachary: There is no way we would have gone live with a site that mocks cancer victims if there had been a review of these stats beforehand. Something went seriously wrong with our content development process, and I’m working to clean this up now. The site is up now for testing purposes, but should have been kept behind password authentication until we were ready to open it up. Regardless of these issues on our end, the main thing is to say that I take responsibility for the situation, and again, apologize to anyone who was upset by this."

And then he blogged:

Later today didn’t come and the site is still down.

Me wonders what will come out of this,

1. Blame a junior insider for the leak?
2. Blame the Press for jumping the gun?
3. Fire the marketing team that thought of the campaign?
4. Steer clear from Statistics?
5. Steer clear from Viral campaigns?
6. IE folks popping champagne and sending a cake again to Mozilla for a campaign well-done.

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