Video: Tristan, Mozilla’s European CEO on Evangelism and Word of Mouth (4:00)

Tristan Nitot, (his blog on open source in French) CEO of Mozilla Europe talks about how Firefox spread mainly through word of mouth and people just sharing it and advocating it to others. He suggests that the open source initiative first resonated with people, thus spurring word of mouth. They encouraged users to have the software loaded on a portable thumbnail flash drive, and install it wherever they went. Blogs were a big component of how it spread, as well as local communities that would be passionate about their region, self-supporting each other, and spreading the word.

Un traditional web strategies
As you may know, Mozilla hasn’t done a lot of traditional marketing or advertising (except for at least one full page add in NYTs with the launch of Firefox 1.0) and is really relying on social media to spread the tools. Exactly how fanatic is it’s customer base? So fanatic that some users created an actual crop circle and it’s featured all over google images searches, as well as in Google Earth! Or they’ve leaned on the community to create and submit videos (30 second commercials) with Firefoxflicks, some of which actually went on major TV networks, sans production costs.

If you’re looking for stats, you’ll find that Firefox is the second most used browser in the world, and it’s primarily spread through grass roots adoption, against a Microsoft product that comes embedded on many platforms. Users have to go out of their way to download the software, let alone spread it to others.

This is fascinating, if I substitute the word ‘Firefox’ and insert the name of ‘any religion’, it still makes sense. For many, it’s almost as if Firefox is gospel.

  • ::amen brother Jeremiah, amen.

    ::I’m not sure which rock I’ve been living under but the crop circles were new to me. Thanks!

  • Asa Dotzler

    >As you may know, Mozilla hasn’t done a lot
    >of traditional marketing or advertising (except
    >for at least one full page add in NYTs with the
    >launch of Firefox 1.0)

    Actually, that was far from a traditional marketing or advertising campaign. It was an idea generated by a Firefox user who helped to organize the volunteer community to develop the entire thing from the creative content of the announcement, to raising the funds and picking the venue. It was never intended that the actual NYT “ad” was going to be a major win for Firefox. The goal was to rally tens of thousands of Mozilla community members, Firefox users, and other fans to do something novel and bold that would get the attention of the world and help grow both the Firefox user base and the Mozilla community of activists.

    Not incidentally, the coverage of the NYT campaign was infinitely more valuable to achieving our goals of increasing usage and community participation than the actual “ad” itself. Had this been just about the ad it would have been a huge waste. The NYT only has a readership of a couple million, and even two pages in the “A” section of the paper was only likely to be seen by a fraction of those people. At the time we were getting literally hundreds of thousands of downloads of Firefox every single day so spending that kind of money to get a few tens of thousands of potential downloads would have been just silly.

    I’m happy to talk with you more about this if you’re interested.

    – A

  • Jeremiah- just FYI, we just finished the Japanese version of the 30 second commercial contest for Firefox. We called it the “Get Firefox Video Award.” In 2 months we received over 100 entries. The winners are on the home page for the contest:

    http://getfirefox.jp/video/

    The whole gallery of all 100 videos is here:

    http://getfirefox.jp/video/gallery/

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