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Firefox ad published in Europe

After the success of The New York Times ad fundraising campaign, Europe has seen its first publicly funded ad for an open-source project
Written by Ingrid Marson, Contributor
A fundraising campaign set up by Firefox fans is celebrating its success after raising over €48,000, the majority of which was used to fund a full-page ad in a German national newspaper on Thursday.

The full-page ad appeared in the business section of the Frankurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), a German broadsheet newspaper, and included the names of all those who donated money to the campaign.

Hagen Merzdorf, one of the founders of the fundraising Web site, said the campaign has been such a success that it had €10,000 left over after paying for the ad, which it donated to Mozilla Europe, the European affiliate of the Mozilla Foundation.

The ad includes the word "FIRE!" in large letters across the top, and has more information about Firefox, before listing the names of the 2,403 people who contributed.

"Hundreds of programmers have together developed a revolutionary Web browser," reads the ad. "They have worked on it voluntarily and are giving it to the whole world. 2,403 people have financed this ad to tell you: Firefox is there. It can be downloaded from http://www.mozilla-europe.org/de/".

The ad design was popular among the majority of people, according to Merzdorf. "We had a lot of feedback on the ad," said Merzdorf. "There were some people who said they would have done it differently, but most people were happy about the ad and said the layout was good."

Mozilla Europe has been unable to provide figures on the number of Web hits it has experienced since the publication of the ad, but the campaign Web site had 45,000 hits on the page which allows users to download the ad image, said Merzdorf.

The campaign was initially aiming for between 3000 and 3,500 donations, but Merzdorf said these figures were an estimate as it was difficult to guess what response it would attract, particularly as it followed the successful US ad campaign.

"One problem was that the campaign in the US started earlier, so a lot of people from Germany had already contributed to this campaign," said Merzdorf.

Firefox has succeeded in more ways than money raised. Since the final version was released on November 9, it has been downloaded more than eight million times and appears to be taking market share aware from Internet Explorer.

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