Grass Roots Firefox

While it’s easy to preach Firefox to the converted (“tuned in” techies like you and me), the “vast IE-using masses” are no doubt blissfully unaware of it’s existence.

Have been experimenting with word-of-mouth, recommending Firefox to people I know and been pleasantly surprised by the results. I don’t “hard sell” Firefox, just point people at the URL (and perhaps Texturizer for the intrepid), drop a few encouraging remarks about security, performance and “no more popups” and leave it at that.

What’s been interesting is of those that have tried Firefox (some haven’t bothed), all were converted, coming back to me with very positive remarks about how great it is and how it’s become their browser of choice. Some have even pointed out features I hadn’t found, which is nice. I’m talking about “non-nerds” who could care less about standards compliance or technical issues.

As far is market research goes, this is highly unscientific (in fact I think I can claim only 6 word-of-mouth converts to date) but so far it seems something about Firefox seems to strike a cord with your “average” PC user – enough to get them to switch from IE. Perhaps it’s because they can recognise a quality software despite “limited” technical expertise – that users are not quite as dumb as some vendors like to believe.

Wondering what kind of response everyone else has been getting to “preaching Firefox”?

PS: Yes, my mother is using Firefox ;)

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  • http://www.practicalapplications.net bwarrene

    The segment of my clients that are not directly technicians or tech savvy have overwhelmingly responded to Mozilla and Firefox. I have been working with an insurance broker on compliance systems and he continued to mention issues with IE and Outlook Express (unrelated to the project). I sent him to Mozilla’s site and my latest feedback was all of his peers are now on Mozilla as well as his father (a Prudential exec) and mother..The biggest factors – pop-up blocker, tabbed browsing and the Google search widget (which all of us Safari users enjoy as well).

  • Bob

    I recently built a computer for a friend who’s a big ebay-er. I installed firefox because he was complaining about popups, but also taught him about tabs as a side-note while setting up his computer. He called me a week later and thanked me over and over for showing him Firefox because he nows uses tabs extensively and, “couldn’t live without them.” I think what he likes is that since he’s over dialup, he can open multiple tabs in the background and let them load while he’s still reading the tab he’s on. No more waiting (at least not in the usual sense) for pages to load ;)

  • Firestorm2003

    I managed to get my Dad to download however I haven’t seen him use it yet! >:(

  • khlo

    Yep, I managed to tell everyone I know about FireFox. Everyone except from 1 person bothered, of the people minus 1 who tried it now use FireFox. There’s only one person who doesn’t like FireFox, because he says IE has great security and renders pages better. Yet he uses FireFox o_O

  • Oliver

    I’ve played with Firefox, and on Windows it definitely is a great alternative to IE. However, the major thing keeping me from running it on my Mac is the decidedly un-Mac-like interface. It’s a great browser, but why can’t it use the standard OS X interface widgets for forms, as Safari does?

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I feel really guilty. I’ve not dared recommend it to anyone other than fellow nerds, just so I’m not branded a nerd! But you’re right, time to tell the world. Personally I’d rather be dead than not have tabbed browsing and the bookmarks toolbar etc. etc. etc.

  • Fab

    I install Firefox / thunderbird everywhere and even if they don’t care about web standards or security, they like it. Sometimes, one complains because buttons are different and feels lost but 5 minutes later it’s ok !

  • http://www.yvandermeer.net Aquarius

    Last week I was over at my aunt’s and she asked me if I could have a look at her computer. She had been noticing strange things happening while browsing, like browsers windows closing by themselves. After some investigation, it turned out she had become fed up with all those popups on the internet so she had downloaded a third-party popup blocker. The program blocked windows that weren’t even popus and it didn’t even display a notification when it had in fact blocked something.

    I uninstalled the misbehaving popup blocker and downloaded Firefox for her. I showed her how it blocks popups and how she could unblock a specific popup when needed. While I was at it, I showed her the advantages of tabbed browsing. I also tried turning on the “notify about every cookie” option that I have turned on myself, but this turned out to be too much hassle for the average browsing person.

    What’s very remarkable is that a lot of people that I try to ‘sell’ Firefox to, at first don’t initially get what it actually is. It turns out, most people think that Internet Explorer *is* in fact *the internet*. I explain to them that Firefox is a browsers just like Internet Explorer and that there are even more browsers available to access the internet.

    Unfortunately, there is one thing that is preventing me from advocating Firefox to everyone around me. It is the fact that still so many sites out there are written for IE only, and quite a number of them simply *do not work* in Firefox. While of course Firefox is not the one to blame, it is making it more difficult to ‘sell’ it to people. Now, I have to tell them that this is the world’s greatest browsers and that they will love it, BUT… some sites won’t work properly with it. It makes it sound like there’s something wrong with Firefox, while of course the contrary is true.

  • saberworks

    I installed it on my girlfriend’s friends computer and told them that if they didn’t want popups or virii when they were browsing, they should click that one instead of Internet Explorer. They are very happy (and completely non-techie).

  • http://www.phppatterns.com HarryF

    Unfortunately, there is one thing that is preventing me from advocating Firefox to everyone around me. It is the fact that still so many sites out there are written for IE only, and quite a number of them simply *do not work* in Firefox. While of course Firefox is not the one to blame, it is making it more difficult to ‘sell’ it to people. Now, I have to tell them that this is the world’s greatest browsers and that they will love it, BUT… some sites won’t work properly with it. It makes it sound like there’s something wrong with Firefox, while of course the contrary is true.

    That is a problem. For the record I’ve found Firefox (recent versions of Mozilla) the most capable alternative to IE yet, when it comes to sites that “require” IE.

    The two addons that can be helpful here are:

    http://www.iol.ie/~locka/mozilla/mozilla.htm (Mozilla ActiveX)

    http://useragentswitcher.mozdev.org/ (pretend to be IE for those sites that detect browsers)

  • Jordan

    I installed Firefox on my girlfriend’s computer, for my own use when I’m at her place. She asked me what it was when I was installing it, and I told her about popup blocking and tabbed browsing and that should give it a try. Within a week she was using it exclusively, without any further prompting from me. Her favorite feature is being able to open a whole folder of bookmarks at once, in tabs; she uses it to read all her friends’ LiveJournals at once.

  • http://aplosmedia.com/ Eric.Coleman

    I have converted my mother/father, brother, and to of my friends that have been M$ junkies for ever.

    When I was working at Client Logic (a tech support place) I got a handful of tech’s using it everyday.

    FireFox is amazing, the “feel” of it is just awsome (almost better than my girlfriend… almost.. lol)

    2 thumbs up for FireFox

  • http://www.phppatterns.com HarryF

    FireFox is amazing, the “feel” of it is just awsome (almost better than my girlfriend… almost.. lol)

    Watch out! That might get used in a marketing campaign!

  • http://www.kksongs.com/ abhijitb1

    I agree with the “smooth feel” of Firefox. And it loads so damn fast! You don’t even have to deal with registry clutter if you don’t want, since installation is not required.

  • andre

    well no doubt that Firefox is really cool and usable. however, our corporate intranet (here in the Philippines) is IE-aware only. yuk. maybe I should first convert those who are doing development of our intranet site.

  • Quacken

    I now use Firefox as my exclusive browser, and just to think – I was one of those poor, deprived IE users just a couple months ago!

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    I installed it on my parents computer, gave them a quick ‘here’s why’ imported their bookmarks and made it their default browser. They haven’t really noticed. It’s easiest that way ;)

  • http://www.sitepoint.com/ mmj

    I’ve been trying to get my sister to switch, but haven’t been successful yet. I think the main reason is probably that IE is so easy to start, since its integration with the Windows shell is so tight.

    FireFox is amazing, the “feel” of it is just awsome (almost better than my girlfriend… almost.. lol)

    Yes but is she open source?

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    “”FireFox is amazing, the “feel” of it is just awsome (almost better than my girlfriend… almost.” Yes but is she open source?”

    Yeah, and I bet she doesn’t have a selection of free extensions either? lol (and don’t even get me started on plugin architecture).

  • http://aplosmedia.com/ Eric.Coleman

    No, my girlfriend certinly isn’t open source…. and plugins… she only comes with one that I know of.. and it’s mine :P

  • Jazeps

    My parents and sisters use Firefox, because i fooled them and replaced links behind the IE icons.

  • Austin

    I’ve never really ‘preached FireFox’ as you put it. But I have gotten several of my friends and family members hooked on Opera. In fact, everyone who tried it loved it. And for ‘power users’ like us, it comes packed with cool features. If you can get past the Google ads in the upper left (which I never notice) Opera is a much better browser than IE or FireFox. If you havn’t tried it out yet, give it a download (it’s smaller than FF, so you’ve no excuse). I’m sure you’ll love it.

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    hehehe… Excellent, Eric ;) It hasn’t been highbrow humour but there’s definitlely some gold there.

  • V

    I put both my folx (in their 60’s) on firefox this past weekend and I dont think they’ve stopped surfing, yet. It was a nice suprise that it automagically had their favorites already in there too..

    It’s a sweet sweet browser, and to think it’s not even a 1.0+ release yet, too. :)

  • http://boyohazard.net Octal

    I have converted my sister (non techy) and a work colleague (techy).
    Tabbed browsing and the pop up blocker won them both over

  • http://www.willchatham.com will_

    I have converted a few people, including family members, thought I seek to convert more.

    I bought a Firefox T-Shirt from the Mozilla.org site, and I can’t wait for it to arrive. It has a big Firefox logo and says “Take Back The Web”. This will surely get some inquiries, at which point I may get more converts!

    I also asked the Mozilla folks to make stickers, and they said they were on it.

  • http://www.yvandermeer.net Aquarius

    I like the T-shirt idea. I just ordered a T-shirt as well, didn’t even know they existed.

  • Emil Tamas

    It’s my browser of choice too because of the fine features it has. As a PHP developer working with HTML all day and with w3c standards in mind I think Firefox tends to be “the one”. I don’t care about nontechnical nerds who doesn’t event know what a cool browser is, I care about me and I’m very pleased with this tool.At least 10 of my friends are converted and right now I’m trying to get used to Thunderbird :) .

  • Kay Smoljak

    I find that a great time to introduce Firefox is while removing a ton of spyware from someone’s PC. Telling someone suffering from endless popups or unwanted recurring porn toolbars that they won’t have those problems anymore if they use Firefox is usually incentive enough :)

  • Ward Germonpr

    Tabbed browsing isn’t only great for leisure surfing, it is also extremely handy in an intranet application, where you can have many applications open simultaneously. I only wish you could easily rename the tab’s caption’s somehow.
    It’s weird that MS has ignored the tabs concept for so long : maybe they don’t want developers to use IE as an *app host* in its current form? Makes you wonder what they are up to …