The Sacred And Profane Sides Of Firefox

One site meant to spread the word about the open-source browser asks visitors to vote on who is the "Firefoxiest."
Think you know Firefox? Think again.

Log onto Spread Firefox, the community marketing site for the popular open-source browser, and you'll see flavors of the product that will probably surprise you.

The most successful Firefox promotional vehicle--measured in terms of the "conversion" rate of customers switching from Internet Explorer--can be found at You can probably guess where this is going.

Created by members of a class on contagious behavior at Stanford's new Institute of Design, or d.School, and inspired by MySpace and other social networking sites, this is a Firefox site that features the photos of Firefox developers and users who have uploaded photos of themselves (or friends). Visitors to the site are invited to vote on who is the foxiest.

There's one catch: to upload a photograph or vote you must first download the browser. Posters are also encouraged to put cute Firefox messages under their photos such as Firefox=love <3 only thing i use and Colombia loves firefox! colombia ama a la zorrita prendidad! Only G-rated photographs allowed.

The conversion rate of visitors to the site is an impressive 30%.

At the other end of the spectrum is the Faith Browser, a customized version of Firefox targeted at people for whom religious faith is an important part of their lives (Motto: "Put your Bible where your browser is.") Among other things, this flavor of the product allows you to install a tool that will display an ever-changing Bible verse below the toolbar. Another tool changes the icons to reflect Christian symbols: the refresh button is a halo; the home icon is a church with a cross on it.

Other Firefox-related projects designed to encourage "contagious behavior" (see main story, "Beyond Viral: Using The Web To Nurture 'Contagious Behavior' Among Customers") include Foxytee (motto: "Spreading the 'fox one torso at a time") and Save Granny, a site devoted to helping elderly people protect themselves online.

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing