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Archive | January, 2009

So, What Exactly *Is* Mozilla?

Note: this is the latest in a very slow-moving (the last post was in September) series about Mozilla.com.

When we were redesigning Mozilla.com for the Firefox 3 release, our primary goal for the site was to drive Firefox downloads, but a very strong secondary goal was to do a better job of communicating the rather unique and unconventional nature of Mozilla in general. One way we tried to achieve this was with the fanciful illustrations, but we also created a “What is Mozilla?” page to explain things more directly.

Wiser people than I have been pondering this question for years, and if you asked 200 people in the Mozilla community to answer it you’d probably get 200 different answers, so I won’t claim that this page represents the final word on the subject. But, I’m happy with the way it turned out and hope that it helps laypeople who happen across it understand what we’re all about and why we’re different.

When I was writing it, my big breakthrough was realizing that it made more sense to describe Mozilla as many things all at once rather than as a single concept. From there, I drew upon a bunch of Mitchell’s past blog posts to cover the philosophical details behind the main points. The key line is really the last one: that the goal of all aspects of Mozilla is making the Internet better for everyone.

So, that was the approach to explaining Mozilla to the uninitiated. I should also mention that the page has a very handy side benefit: if you’ve ever struggled to give friends/family/acquaintances a simple answer as to what Mozilla is, how we’re both a non-profit and a corporation, and other fun things like that, just direct them to this page. I’ve used that trick several times now and it makes things much easier!

"What is Mozilla?" page

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Launching a New Site, Mozilla-Style

I was looking over our plans for the Community Store launch recently when it occurred to me that it was a pretty textbook example of how we unveil new Web initiatives around here. In this particular case, we were able to spread the word about our new site to a worldwide audience of millions without spending a single dime (really). So, for the benefit of anyone who might be curious about the process I’ll pull back the curtain and share some of our tricks.

Our overall goal is always to get the word out in the most leveraged fashion possible by using the various Web tools at our disposal plus, of course, the power of the Mozilla community. For this particular launch, here are the channels we used:

Mozilla Community
* a homepage promo, a project group and other references on Spread Firefox.
* outreach to our network of campus reps.
* blog posts by several Mozillians exposed the Community Store to the Planet Mozilla audience and beyond.
* perhaps most importantly, the 60 or so excellent community-created designs left over from the Firefox 3 t-shirt contest gave the Store substance and visual flair from day one.

Friends of Mozilla
* after an inquiry from Tara, the folks who run the t-shirt search engine Teenormous were kind enough to add the Community Store to their index. (Incidentally, definitely check out Teenormous next time you’re t-shirt shopping…it’s a cool service.)
* promotion to the PHUG open source community and students at Seneca College courtesy of Brendan Sera-Shirar.

Social Media
* a tweet from our Twitter account is pretty much mandatory these days.
* so is outreach to our Facebook group (288,357 fans and counting).

* great partner support from the folks at Zazzle US and UK, who blogged about the Store and featured us on various pages on their sites (right between Star Wars and Barbie on this one).
* a 20% discount to encourage purchases during the holiday shopping season.

Mozilla Channels
* a snippet on the Google start page…one of the most powerful tools at our disposal. Referencing the Community Store here exposes it to millions of people every day.
* prominent linking from places on Mozilla.com, including the homepage and the About menu.
* a blurb in the about:mozilla newsletter, read by the movers & shakers in the Mozilla world.

* joint press release with Zazzle.
* an announcement post on blog.mozilla.com and a follow-up on Above the Fold.
* coverage included major tech sites such as Lifehacker and Techcrunch.

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