The Truth about Mozilla

Make Mozilla Meaningful

Posted in Mozilla by The Lizard on October 17, 2007

The Lizard has noticed a small flurry of activity over the new “Powered by Mozilla” branding outlined by MoCo Creative Director John Slater. Mozpad front-company AllPeers gets in the fray here, but the real rumbling comes from Editor/Composer guru Daniel Glazman. Ever the contrarian, Glazman argued that MoCo’s got it all wrong, namely that the brand to emphasize is “Firefox,” not “Mozilla.”

Glazman’s got a point. Well, sort of. Right now, Firefox has the name recognition, but haven’t we all been down this (myopic) road before? Anyone remember something called Netscape? Or Navigator and Communicator? Remember how Netscape died about 2001 (Netscape 9 be damned)? Remember how long it took for the new darling du jour, a little thing called mozilla/browserPhoenixFirebirdfox, to get the name recognition that enabled it to get access to websites “designed for Netscape” and be accepted on the web? Oh, sorry, you all were in diapers for that? Fear not, for the Lizard was there, and the Lizard remembers. Have you noticed, even after all this time, that there are still a host of big sites—often corporate and financial—that want Netscape or *cough* IE *cough* and act like darling Firefox doesn’t even exist?

“All of this has happened before, all of this will happen again.”

The dark, dirty flip side of Glazman’s argument is that by emphasizing Firefox as the “platform” branding for Mozilla technology, other apps become accessories in forever relegating themselves to second- or third-class citizens in the Mozilla world. Instead of emphasizing the technology and the long-term viability of a platform or toolkit for developing powerful and cool apps, favoring the “darling of the moment” is short-sighted and ultimately helps constrict the app space back to just the darling app.

What happens when the flavor of the month is no longer Firefox? (Don’t think that’ll ever happen? You’re smoking some good shit there.) The Mozilla world is back to square zero. Mozilla’s still there (this crazy-cool toolkit has more lives than Schrödinger’s cat), but we gotta find a new champion, gotta get said champion embedded in everyone’s brains, and gotta promote the crap out of it. Then the new darling becomes a useful flag to wave over all the vassal apps out there in Mozillaland, as they try to gain notice (“Hey, I’m MozDarlingDuJour’s bitch; use me!”).

“All of this has happened before, all of this will happen again.”

Still not convinced Glazman’s barking up the wrong tree? Let’s take his suggestion to the logical end (well, maybe logical isn’t the best word, though it’s accurate. How about “absurd” instead?). Can you imagine other Mozilla/Gecko-based web browsers wanting to slap a “Powered by Firefox” banner across their site or product? The Lizard can see it now:

“SeaMonkey, powered by Firefox”

Ring! Who’s that? My good ol’ buddy KaiRo on the line? He’s sayin’ “Du hast den Arsch offen!” Yeah, that’s more like it.

The best thing for everyone would be for the darling du jour itself, Firefox (and its product pages on mozilla.com), to carry the “Powered by Mozilla” banner. That, in concert with the new banner appearing on other apps and their sites, would help build the Mozilla brand in a non-demeaning way. Everywhere people see the banner—all over this giant thing called the Web, because Mozilla is fucking everywhere—they could click on it and discover the vastness of the healthy Mozilla ecosystem (say, link the banner back to the proposed redesigned www.mozilla.org/projects or to some Mozilla evangelism website). Everyone gets the benefits from Firefox’s name recognition today, and we’re all spared having to slog through this morass again in the future when some other app is the darling of the Mozilla world.

For once, Mozilla Corp’s doing the right thing (well, aside from getting the wordmark color wrong).

Tagged with: , ,

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. JB said, on October 18, 2007 at 10:17 am

    Although I find your article quite interesting I must protest something. Do you know how many times you used the word “darling” in this article? Well neither do I but I was sick of hearing it after the third time, hence why you have managed to annoy the hell out of me.

    Good day, and ixnay on the darling-nay

  2. darktanis said, on October 18, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Haha, yeah there were A LOT of darlings in there, but the content was enjoyable nonetheless!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: