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8/30/2007
02:31 PM
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Firefox Tries Viral Marketing At Schools

Firefox Campus Edition includes version 2.0.0.6 of the Firefox browser and three add-ons designed to appeal to the campus set.

Mozilla has unleashed a special edition of its open source Firefox Web browser for students.

Firefox Campus Edition, announced this week, includes version 2.0.0.6 of the Firefox browser and three add-ons designed to appeal to the campus set.

The bundled extensions include FoxyTunes, a media player controller that allows users to operate programs like iTunes from within Firefox; Zotero, a note-taking and content management program that helps with the collection and citation of online research; and StumbleUpon, an social add-on that allows users to discover Web sites recommended by the StumbleUpon community and to make their own recommendations for others.

In his blog, Mozilla marketing VP Paul Kim said that one of the goals of this release was to help students spread the word about Firefox to their friends. "We wanted to make it as easy as possible for students who are already using Firefox to point their friends to a version of Firefox that had a useful set of add-ons pre-installed," he said. "Being able to play with an initial set of add-ons will showcase some of the cool ways developers are expanding the functionality of Firefox and will encourage students to seek out new add-ons."

To assist in the dissemination of its browser, Mozilla is sponsoring on-campus events, led by volunteers in the Firefox Campus Rep program.

Viral evangelism seems to be working because Firefox continues to gain market share worldwide. Web metrics firm OneStat.com reported last month that Mozilla's global share of the browser market in June reached 12.72%, a 1.03% increase since January.

"It seems that some users in the USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, and Belgium are switching from Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox," said Niels Brinkman, co-founder of OneStat, in a statement.

Other sites, particularly those popular with Web developers, report greater gains by Firefox. Web design education site W3 Schools, for example, which has been tracking Firefox since it gained its own online identifier in January 2005, shows a fairly steady increase in usage among the site's visitors. In January 2005, 16.6% of visitors to w3schools.com used Firefox. In July 2007, after more than two and a half years of more or less monthly gains, the number of visitors to the site using Firefox has risen to 34.5%.

In January 2005, the collective share of Microsoft's browsers among W3 Schools visitors was 74.5%. By July 2007, that number had declined to 58.5%.

OneStat reported that Microsoft Internet Explorer accounted for 84.66% of the browser market in June, down 1.15% from 85.61% in January.

Awio Web Services, which makes a free Web site visit tracker called W3Counter, reports that between Aug. 10 and 20, 25.38% Web site visitors used a version of Firefox, while 66.23% used Internet Explorer 6 or 7.

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