I think it was back in 2009 or so when, over a game of ping pong, David Boswell and I started talking about the idea of unifying all the various Mozilla websites under a common domain. The concept of bringing everything together to create a One Mozilla site was pretty great, we agreed, but the thought of actually doing it seemed almost impossibly daunting.
Fast forward a couple of years to the summer of 2011 and, thanks to many hours of hard work by a lot of awesome people, we’re now on the verge of major step towards doing just that. In the next few weeks, we’ll be merging mozilla.com and the various European Firefox product sites back into mozilla.org (the Thunderbird product site already did this last month). As a result, mozilla.com will essentially cease to exist in its current form – all those millions of visitors that have made it one of the world’s most highly trafficked websites will wind up on mozilla.org/firefox instead.
This isn’t just an exercise in domain management, either – it’s a big step forward in terms of how users interact with us online and how we present ourselves to the world. The reasons behind One Mozilla include:
* building a better platform for communicating the mission and explaining why we do what we do. For example, we know people respond well when they realize Firefox is made by a non-profit, so by hosting our product site on the .org domain we make that point more clear and avoid the confusion created by having both a mozilla.org and a mozilla.com.
* providing more relevant and easily discoverable content for users.
* create a more efficient vehicle for talking about both our current products as well as exciting new ones.
I should probably stop here and note that I’m getting a little ahead of myself – this initial step will join the domains, but in the immediate future the sites will continue to have different core designs (mozilla.org and mozilla.org/firefox will still look different) and be powered by different technical infrastructures. The URL merge is a big leap forward, but there’s still a lot of work to be done on both the front and back ends. We’ll be sure to conduct that process in the open (I’m looking forward to discussing the design evolution, for example) and the team will be posting about ways you can get involved soon.
Lastly, this is a big enough project that it warrants more than one blog post, so keep an eye out for the following updates later this week:
* Chrissie Brodigan on the subject of how we got to this point and what’s happening next
* James Long on the technical magic behind the merge
* David Boswell on what this means for our regional community sites
Much more to come!