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Firefox Turns 1, Ratchets Up Marketing

Mozilla Corp. says demand "completely outstripped our expectations."
In the next few weeks, the SpreadFirefox.com site -- Mozilla's community-based marketing and enthusiast site -- will re-launch with a new set of campaigns, including video that site operators can add to promote the browser.

"But that kind of community, open-source marketing only gets us so far," Beard admitted. "To reach people who aren't as familiar with the Web, we need more traditional approaches." Although he declined to name names, Beard said that such efforts would rely on partner relationships, new and existing, in 2006. Those partners -- Google is one already, as is EarthLink -- would include ISPs and Web service providers.

What Mozilla won't do to push Firefox is use typical Web-based advertising, such as banner ads. "You won't see those from Mozilla," Beard said.

An example of one new Mozilla marketing tactic was announced late Tuesday.

Google debuted AdSense Referrals a program that pays Web site operators $1 for each user they refer who downloads a copy of Firefox.

As an adjunct to Referrals, four Mass.-based Firefox enthusiasts have created a site dubbed ExplorerDestroyer.com, which offers up three scripts site owners can add which detect Internet Explorer, then gently (or not-so-gently) encourage users to switch to Firefox. In Firefox's second year, expect to see Firefox 2.0 appear by mid-2006. "We're going to focus on the consumer," promised Beard, "and that means we'll err on the side of rapid updates. You'll see a major release from us every six to nine months."

Shorter term, Mozilla will release the results of its Extend Firefox contest -- a browser extension-writing competition -- in early January.

"We want to be even more successful in 2006," said Beard.

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