German Firefox fans start fundraising campaign

Following the success of the New York Times campaign, a Web site in Germany is raising money for a national newspaper ad

Firefox supporters on Tuesday set up a Web site in Germany to raise funds for an ad in one of three German newspapers.

This campaign has started only a few days after the New York Times (NYT) campaign finished, which raised a total of $250,000 dollars in 10 days.

Michael Bona, one of the founders of the Web site, said he came up with the idea when he saw the press release for the NYT campaign.

"When I saw the press release of the original campaign I thought, 'That's cool, we should do that in Germany,'" said Bona.

He said he didn't want to copy the original campaign, so decided to add a twist -- for every euro that people donate, they get one vote to choose in which of three German daily newspapers the ad should be placed. At the time of writing, the Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) -- Germany's equivalent of The Times -- had received 53 percent of votes, followed by the predominantly South German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung and Die Welt, a right-wing paper.

Bona said that the campaign is aiming for between 3000 and 3500 donations and will end when Firefox 1.0 is released, currently scheduled for 9 November.

He said the campaign has already attracted much interest. "There has been enormous interest in site -- we have had about 40,000 hits in last three days," said Bona. At the time of writing 1489 people had donated money to the campaign.

When Bona approached Mozilla Europe -- the Mozilla Foundation's European affiliate -- about the idea, they were initially wary.

"Lots of people come to them with ideas so they were initially a bit suspicious," said Bona. "But once I got to the right person and convinced them I was serious we agreed to make it a joint venture."

Mozilla Europe was unable to comment in time for this article.

David Hallowell, a Mozilla contributor based in the UK, said he may try to set up a similar campaign to get a Firefox advert in a UK paper, although he said there was a risk that British supporters who had already contributed for the NYT campaign might not want to contribute again.

"As for the UK, I'll try and see what sort of demand there is and if I think there's a chance of success then I'll contact Mozilla Europe and the foundation about it," said Hallowell.

Firefox has succeeded in more ways than money raised. It beat its initial goal of one million downloads within six days, and passed the five million download mark two weeks ago.

At the time of writing, Firefox 1.0PR had a 99 percent approval rating from over 500 ZDNet UK readers. You can download it and rate it yourself here. It should be noted that not everyone's enamoured with it, however