I never realized how much publicity a handful of software developers could create with the release of one application. But they sure have made waves. SpreadFirefox.com, the Mozilla Foundation’s official promotion site for its Firefox web browser, reported today that over 80 million downloads have been made of the browser.
Yeah. I know what you’re thinking. “This is an open source project, there’s just no way to get 80 million downloads in under a year! That’s a good point you’ve raised. There is indeed no way to verify the download counter’s accuracy. For the sake of writing this blog entry, we’re going to assume the Mozilla foundation has some integrity, and the counter has not been doctored.
Version 1.0 of Firefox was released some ten months ago, in November 2004. Since then, it has experienced phenomenal (unprecedented) growth, and media attention. Acclaimed by magazines such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and others, the cross-platform browser was on track to change computing history.
In the past, users on SpreadFirefox have taken out a full page New York Times advertisement to promote the Internet Explorer alternative. Other marketing ideas are also flooding the community marketing section of the site.
Everything from special SEO scripts to advertising on G4TechTV have been proposed. There’s no word on whether these proposals have been adopted, and the Firefox affiliate program continues to flourish. Netzwelt.de, for example, has referred nearly half a million users to download the product!
Hatred for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has also fueled the growth of Firefox. Nasty security holes in IE have been the main culprit. Sites like StopIE are also joining the fight. They claim IE is slow, not feature rich, and does not have adequate web standards support.
No Champaign bottles have been uncorked yet. Firefox developers said in a press release that they are “waiting until their 21st birthdays to drink alcohol. For now, Bawls is going to have to suffice as a celebratory liquid for Firefox contributors.