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Strategic insights
Firefox hits 100 million download - or not

Written by on October 20, 2005

You know, we can do many things with our lives. We can deceive ourselves with misleading statistics - or we can try to look past these false numbers and start to make real sense of things.

As an example, Firefox reported this week that they have reached a 100 million download mark. Wow, that is great - or is it?

First of all, the 100 million downloads do not give any indications to how many people who are actually using Firefox. It is comparable to recording website stats without any distinction between unique visits and page views.

Secondly, it provides even less indication of the user group outside their own sphere. Asa Dotzler, a Mozilla coordinator, said "Our community of more than 100,000 Firefox developers, testers, and grassroots marketers, is rejuvenating Web browsing, which is why millions of new users make the jump to Firefox every week."

I am not apart of this group, and I have probably downloaded Firefox 10-15 times since it emerged. This was just to have it installed as a test browser on my own computers. I would bet these people have downloaded it even more frequently - maybe 20 times. If this is true, 100 million is closer to 5-10 million.

How many of these people have then installed Firefox on friend and family computers? Not because they really wanted a new browser, but because they did not want to turn these people down.

Then we got the millions of IT people who have downloaded pretty much any browser, not to mention web developers who also need more than one browser to test their work.

The only figure that counts

Putting any realism into this 100 million download is a joke. The download files might have been retrieved with that number, but it would be just as useful to record the number of tabs people have opened since they got Firefox.

Look more than 1 billion tabs have been opened in Firefox - we did it!

- http://www.spreadfirefox.xom

The only figure that counts is the amount of real people - outside the community, that use the browser.

It is not a problem to get a car manufacturer to drive a car. The trick is to make him to use a bicycle instead.

Let us get some real stats on the table, instead of this self-illusion propaganda.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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