Grauw’s blog

Donate Now! (picture of NY Times)

This is pretty cool news... Mozilla is collecting money right now in order to accompany the release of Firefox 1.0 with a huge full-page ad in the New York Times! Needless to say that this ad will reach a massive amount of people and should greatly improve brand awareness with the ‘common man’. A cool thing to note is that everyone who donates will have his or her name listed in the actual ad!

This is a first in the open source world. So far, OS software has to make do with grassroots advertising and coverage they manage to get in magazines and on websites. Most of the time this takes place online and only reaches the more technologically enclined people. There’s usually just no money for any kind of paid advertising, which puts them on a disadvantage with corporate firms.

But this effort shows that with the help of a lot of enthousiastic people, it can be done, in a real community effort! As that by itself is actually quite remarkable, it should create a buzz of its own in the (international) press, giving the release of the 1.0 version of Firefox even more coverage.

A funny thing to note by the way is the following entry in the FAQ, especially in the light that while the first day isn’t even over they’ve already got 1.170 donations :):

# How many names will fit in the ad?
A single full-length column of a newspaper has a few thousand words. We will be able to accommodate several thousand names in a readable font size.

Anyways. You know what, I think it would be nice to have an ad like that in a paper like Metro as well ^_^. But for now we’ll have to make do with the PDF of the ad which they will put online once it goes live in the NY Times. If all goes well, with my name on it, look for L. Holst :).

Anyways, if you like Firefox and want it to get a real advertisement which should be a great help in spreading firefox, then why not also donate a bit! For € 24,– you can get your 15 minutes of fame, or at least 1 minute’s worth of it ;p. Make that € 8,– for students, by the way. All donations in excess of the ad costs will benefit the organization and products itself, enabling Mozilla Foundation to for example hire an additional developer or do more similar advertising in the future.

Update: They hit their initial goal of 3000 donations after only 17 hours ^_^. Fortunately they were able to shift their layout around a little and can now manage to squeeze in 10.000 names. But hey! I personally wouldn’t mind a 2-page ad ;p. Or do two ads in two different papers, each with half of the names, or something.

Update 2: The campaign has ended, and in the end over 10.000 people have donated some money. About € 250.000 was raised, of which (iirc) about € 70.000 goes to the ad itself and the rest is added to the organization’s funds. Oh, and the majority of the people who donated were students.