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Spreading Firefox Guidebook

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This wiki and the spreadfirefox.com (SFX) website are full of fantastic (and not so fantastic) ideas, methods and materials for getting the word out about the world's most popular piece of open source software. In fact, so much has been written that it can be daunting for an average beginner to see exactly what they can do and how best to go about it. This guidebook attempts to add some order to the chaos so that anyone can quickly get an overview of the best ideas out there and get involved straight away. This guide has been mostly written by komencanto but be sure to make improvements or add your own methods as long as they are going to be practical for most people!

What we know about Spreading Firefox so far Edit

If you want to get the word out about Firefox you are in good company. There are tens of thousands of people who everyday recommend Firefox to their friends, colleagues and family. Whether you are spreading Firefox to help others avoid viruses and spyware, allow them to surf the web faster, or promote open source and web design standards, there are very effective ways you can do it. Scan this guide and see if any of them appeal to you. In any case, remember that these are the biggest selling point of Firefox in order of strength:

  • Security (protection from viruses and spyware with safe online shopping)
  • Productivity (tabbed browsing, live bookmarks, faster page loading, search bar, find bar, pop-up blocking, password manager)
  • Extensions and flexibility (who could resist Adblock, mouse gestures, WeatherFox and Foxytunes)
  • Themes and good design

Vary what you say depending on your audience. There's no point talking about open source to someone who knows nothing about it, but almost everyone wants to protect themselves against viruses and spyware! Always remember to mention that Firefox is completely free, and don't come on too hard as if you are selling something. A personal recommendation works best!

Talking to the non-technical Edit

If you're spreading to the non-technical, then it's good to keep these ideas in mind:

Don't just use a list of featuresEdit

Any list of three or more reasons will just confuse. Be specific: don't talk features. Don't explain features even. Instead, explain the benefits of a feature. For example, don't say "tabbed browsing allows you to browse multiple pages"; instead, say "When I read a long article, I can open links on the side without disrupting the reading". Note the latter says nothing about "tabbed browsing". Don't say "You should do this because," instead say "I tried Firefox and it's awesome. This is what I think of it...".

Know who you're talking toEdit

Some of the "wow" features could be the best selling point, or they might not. My grandma might not ever use a tab, or care what it is. She just wants to be able to go to Hotmail and send me an email. Others might love the idea of a Find toolbar, tabbed browsing, popup blocker, integrated search bar, Plugin Finder and such. Know what they're looking for -- chances are, Firefox can do better than IE.

Be sure to give a demoEdit

Just saying "Hey, go to www.getfirefox.com and download Firefox!" isn't going to convert a user. If they do download it, more than likely they'll be right back to IE the next time they sit down at their computer. Show them how to open a new tab, search with the Search Bar, customize the toolbars, find as you type--show off the power of Firefox. Again though, be mindful of who it is you're trying to convert!

Avoid jargonEdit

My mother couldn't care less that Firefox has a better rendering engine than IE, that it can do some awesome stuff with CSS, that ActiveX isn't a problem like it is with IE. She won't bat an eye when I say XUL, HTML, DOM, JavaScript, and others. All she knows is that Firefox doesn't let her have colored scrollbars, and sometimes tooltips don't work on pictures.

An open source angle won't workEdit

They aren't going to care that Firefox is licensed under the MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-license. It won't matter to them that most of the work is done by unpaid volunteers.

Be sensible with Extensions and ThemesEdit

We all, as Firefox users, know and love Extensions and Themes. Myself, I can't do without BBCodeMenu or Scrapbook. But honestly, when is the last time my dad said, "You know what, I'd really like to be able to add BBCode from the context menu". Ease people into extensions that are really easy to use and have some immediate benefit. All-in-One Gestures and SessionSaver spring to my mind.

I want to put up posters Edit

Printing out and putting up posters around town, work, college or even your house, if you're that obsessive, is a great way to get the word out. You can cover a lot of people easily and get them asking what Firefox is. Use posters on several different themes so that at least one will interest everybody. Perhaps have one poster that will attract attention, and another next to it that gives more detail about what Firefox is. It's even better if you can later follow up with something more personal. Here are some of the best posters:

  • [1] (1.4mb JPG) If you are at a college then this funny poster is likely to get people asking questions.
  • [2] These PDF posters explains the productivity enhancing features of Firefox.
  • [3] and [4] These wordy posters also explain what is so desirable about Firefox.
  • [5], [6] and [7] These posters are attention getting and focus on security.
  • [8] This poster contains many respectable quotes from the media suggesting Firefox is great.

A full set can be found in the Printables section of FoxMat.

I want to hand things out Edit

Handing out flyers at school, work or the mall is great. Be sure that people know Firefox is completely free and that you give it your personal recommendation! If you're really dedicated, perhaps you'd like to get some friends together and make a Firefox day of it! At the moment we don't have many flyers, so many of the posters mentioned above can double. These business cards are great for handing out in large numbers:

Make any changes you like and print them out!

I want to convince my family or friends to switch Edit

Easy done! Just explain to them personally the benefits and use the Firemonger CD to help them install it. If you ever want to demonstrate Firefox to someone you know, you might want to use Portable Firefox which lets you run Firefox completely off of a USB drive, complete with the best extensions which you might want to showcase.

I want to convince my school or business to deploy Firefox Edit

This is the jackpot if you can achieve it. Firstly you probably want to convince your system admin to use Firefox himself so that he can find out about its great features for himself. Hopefully the information at the start will help you to do this. If you want to get it on the network, stress security. That's what system administrators are most interested in. This letter template might help you with that. This article Firefox Explorers is an excellent showpiece about deploying Firefox in businesses. This article makes a good case for deploying in a business situation. Alternatively, the administrator might have been convinced by a ton of positive articles about Firefox, listed at [9]. Firefox Deploy might well make it easier for an administrator to deploy Firefox on a network.

I have a website and want to spread Firefox Edit

There are many things you can do. You can talk about Firefox on your blog. You can put up a banner from the SFX website to show your support. If you're more adventurous you can add a flash banner to your website. Alternatively you can add a live Firefox download counter on your website as discussed on SFX Forums. If you're adventurous or interested in web standards then the Information Bar is for you. You can see an example by opening this website in Internet Explorer. You can learn how to put this onto your website right here and here.

Speaking of websites, if you ever come to a website that doesn't work with Firefox it is critical that you email them and tell them this. Most will be all to happy to fix up the problem once they realise that visitors are being put off their website because it isn't compatible. In 1.1 there will be a system for reporting incompatible sites. Look out for it!

I want to brand my life with Firefox! Edit

I don't think many people have been convinced by Firefox Clothes, Firefox Merchandise, Firefox Wallpapers, Firefox Screensavers and even Firefox car banners, but hey, if you're here then you'll probably want them anyway!

Some of the most popular wallpapers include Rakaz's, "Always Use Protection" and Take Back the Web.

I want to write letters Edit

There's no limit to what you can do with letters, the pen is mightier than the sword as they say. For starters you can add <a href="http://www.spreadfirefox.com/?q=affiliates&id=26906&t=1">Get Firefox!</a> to your email signature. The Standardized Letters Project provides you with some ideas and templates to write from. If you think you can improve the letters there, be sure to do so, this is a wiki after all! You can write to your school, internet cafe, workplace, newspaper, online bank, Internet Service Provider, government and even favourite website recommending Firefox to them and focussing on the features that will most interest them. If you ever see Firefox misreported in the press, be sure to mention it on the Media Response page and send off a response. If your local newspaper has an "IT help" section, maybe you can send them a letter asking them about Firefox and asking whether it "really does make your computer more secure like they say". This will give them a chance to prise Firefox to all of their readers! It can also be extremely fruitful to write letters to your government, bank or library praising Firefox on its security like this person did [10]. They're usually very receptive to good ideas.

I want to join a project Edit

A full list of projects is available on the SFX:Projects List page. Some highlights include the College Representatives project which aims to spread Firefox around schools and universities and the Firefox S5 which is attempting to create a slide show showcasing the benefits of Firefox, that will run within Firefox itself.

See also Edit

  • Marketing:Firefox Materials - to find materials to promote Firefox
  • Five Minute Challenge - flyers intended to guide a potential user through the biggest and best features of Firefox in 5 minutes or less.
  • The Firemonger project - dedicated to providing an easy to use CD which contains the latest versions of Firefox and Thunderbird.
  • Standardized Letters - a series of standardized letters people can use as a starting point to write letters to a variety of institutions, encouraging the use of Firefox.

SFX posts Edit

External links Edit

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