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Mozilla The Internet Media

Firefox New York Times Ad, Soon 389

Posted by timothy
from the uebermorgen dept.
An anonymous reader submits "CNet has an update on the status of the New York Times Firefox ad. According to the article, the delays are largely because of the decision to go with 10,000 names rather than the original 2500. The amount of content means each change to the ad requires 15 minutes of rendering. They also must be careful in crafting the ad, so that stay on the advocacy side of things. As a non-profit, they can still qualify for the under $50,000 rate, but if the ad is too commercial, they would need to pay the $130,000+ business rate. They say they're close to finishing, and the ad should run by mid-December, or at the latest, by Christmas. Firefox is also close to 10,000,000 downloads in the first month of release."
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Firefox New York Times Ad, Soon

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  • Too commercial? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trilks (794531) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:39PM (#11036364)
    They have to pay $130,000 if the ad is "too commercial"? How is that determined? And isn't a non-profit a non-profit, no matter what kind of ads they run?
    • Re:Too commercial? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by maxchaote (796339) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:43PM (#11036399)
      isn't a non-profit a non-profit, no matter what kind of ads they run?

      I can see it now... Wal-Mart's non-profit subsidiary, "The Friends of Sam Walton" (not a real charity) using their non-profit status to reduce Wal-Mart's advertising costs by over 50%.

      I'm afraid checks and balances have to be in place, even if they occasionally slow something like Firefox down.
      • by That's Unpossible! (722232) * on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:35PM (#11036794)
        This isn't a branch of government. We're talking about the New York Times. Surely they can decide whether to charge Firefox the correct rate based on the message.
      • Re:Too commercial? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by goon america (536413)
        They have every incentive to charge legitimate nonprofits less, because this lets them split the ad market up and charge each segment the maximum that it is willing to pay. If the NYT allowed pseudo-nonprofits like the hypothetical "Friends of Sam Walton" then they will lose money. It's pretty clear that the system will be accurate based on the nature of market forces here.
    • Yes, but the NYT is a private organization and so is allowed more leeway in their definition of "too commercial." We can argue about it, but ultimately the answer to that question is up to NYT.
    • Re:Too commercial? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:13PM (#11036618) Homepage
      Not sure why the price tag is an issue since according to reports, they took in better than $250,000. Wonder where all that moo-lah is collecting interest?
      • Well, the short story:
        $250k is peanuts and shrinking daily.
        • Since the $250,000 was _FOR_ the ad, how is it shrinking? Since this is the Firefox FanBoi Project, no one seems to be interested in asking exactly what's going on, just trust them with 250k?
    • by whome (122077) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:17PM (#11036639)
      I think it's more likely that the New york Times' advertising department will decline the ad because they're pissed off about Firefox users blocking all their popups.
    • Re:Too commercial? (Score:3, Informative)

      by bay43270 (267213)
      Being a non-profit has nothing to do with being commercial. Non-profit companies provide commercial services every day (that's what cooperatives are all about). They just can't make too much money at the end of the year without loosing their non-profit status (even that has *some* leeway).

      The Times' is just trying to give charitable organizations a break on price, and their criteria seems to be very subjective. If it were set in stone they wouldn't have misused phrases like 'non-profit'.
    • Re:Too commercial? (Score:4, Informative)

      by roj3 (179124) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:52PM (#11036933) Homepage
      The New York Times has an advocacy ad review board. An advocacy message (save the whales) is seen differently than a commercial message (buy caffeinated soap). The review board provides feedback, etc.. it's not a hard and fast line.

      Rob
  • by jelwell (2152) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:39PM (#11036366)
    If they mention using Firefox then it's going to be commercial. Although the author of the ad says they have a special guarantee about the pricing, so New York Time's standard pricing may not matter.

    Just because they're a non-profit doesn't make them a good cause. If they advocate using more standard compliant browsers rather than just Firefox or Mozilla browers they're more likely to qualify as an advocacy group rather than commercial entity. But based on the promotional drive I don't see how they can not mention Firefox directly.

    Joseph Elwell.
  • by Adhemar (679794) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:40PM (#11036372)
    The trouble for Mozilla's ad campaign is that about 1,000 of the contributors didn't follow instructions in submitting their names. Now Davis is going through the list manually and contacting contributors who submitted Web addresses, company names, joke names and the like to clarify how they want to be listed in the ad.

    Now I can understand the delay.

    After all, would we really like to see Osama bin Laden support Firefox in the New York Times?

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:41PM (#11036383)
    > According to the article, the delays are largely because of the decision to go with 10,000 names rather than the original 2500. The amount of content means each change to the ad requires 15 minutes of rendering.

    Hmm, so the ad runs at 11 users per second.

    Solution obvious! We either overclock the New York Times, or we lobby the printer industry to break the Adobe monopoly by supporting Firescript (originally called Postzilla, and occasionally still referred to as Lexscape by some marketroids at A Certain Very Big And Very Evil Corporation), the new page description language interpreter that provides for enhanced security, usability, and performance on phototypesetting equipment of all types!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:42PM (#11036390)
    Rendering the Firefox New York Times ad.
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:42PM (#11036393) Homepage Journal
    on that day by atleast a few thousand. Yet another instance of open source promoting business.
    • NYT's daily circulation is over a million [nytco.com]. Do you really think they'd notice?
  • I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:43PM (#11036398)
    ...Will this do any good? Seriously, will some AOL user be sitting, reading the times, see the ad and go "An ad for 'FireFox'? 'Better Browser'? I better switch!" Probably not. After all, AOL already gives them a "better internet." Damned AOL ads.
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by lilmouse (310335)
      <incenced response>You fool! It's not supposed to be a religious tablet!</incenced response>

      Seriously, it's supposed to be like all advertising - getting the name out so that people are aware of it. People like the neighbors of a friend of mine, whose computer is soooooo slow because of adware, but didn't know there was an alternative to IE. If they see an ad like this, then a year from now, they might mention it to a friend "Oh, yeah, there's an alternative to IE....fire...something..." and
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MoonBuggy (611105)
      As another poster has mentioned, getting the name out there is always good, but another effect is further boosting the credibility of OSS. Even the pointiest-haired of bosses can see that the NY Times is big and respected - "if that's the kind of thing those open-whatever hippies are associated with, maybe theres something in it after all..."
  • 10,000 names?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bazmail (764941)
    will there be any room left for branding and/or blurb?
    • Dunno why this is modded down (looking at posts of the last few days a hell of a lot of good posts are getting modded down).

      It's actually a good point. I don't know how big the NYT is so I can't even guess what font size they need to use to fit 10,000. But I do wonder if they're actually gonna have much room to fit in anything else.

      Mind, if they do run on the numbers theme, that many names will sell the ad for them.

  • "non-profit" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kennycoder (788223)
    They might be non profit company making free software but they are threatening other companies' buisness model. Time will tell...
    • Re:"non-profit" (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bairy (755347) *
      Then surely that will encourage other companies to create an even better browser.

      Remember when netscape was 60UKP, suddenly IE got good (well... free), and they had to drop the price and improve the product (sadly they didn't work too hard on that). Point being, IE is shit and Opera is inflexible (and those are just the Windows side) so a threat will be a good and necessary kick up the arse for those two.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    They should buys some popups advertising for the popup-blocker
  • Timing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by telstar (236404) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:53PM (#11036465)
    I'm curious about the timing of the ad. The last two weeks of the year are when most corporate executives take vacations ... meaning they may not keep up with news in the Times ... meaning if the goal is to convince these guys to use Firefox in their corporations, they may miss the target market entirely. I suppose you could make the case that these same guys now have more time to sit on a beach and read the Times, but has any thought been put into the timing of this thing?
  • Exposure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zerosignal (222614) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:54PM (#11036474) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if the amount of press coverage they've had about the ad will give them more exposure than the ad itself.
  • by suso (153703) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:55PM (#11036484) Homepage Journal
    10,000 names on a page are so many that practically none of them will be readable and it will create confusion by people reading the add wondering why there is soo much background in a full page add.
  • 15 minutes? (Score:3, Informative)

    by boodaman (791877) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:03PM (#11036551)
    My company does pre-press work for marketing campaigns. If they need 15 minutes to render a postscript file (or PDF) they need better hardware. We use off-the-shelf gear (PC and Mac, none of it SMP) and nothing we do that is full-page size takes 15 minutes, even at 300 dpi.

    What're they using, a PII-400???
    • Have you ever put 10,000 names on a page? Consider names are on average 15 characters long.
    • by thelenm (213782) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {nelehtm}> on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:29PM (#11036744) Homepage Journal
      Gecko.

      *ducks and runs*
    • Re:15 minutes? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by theLOUDroom (556455) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @06:13PM (#11037094)
      My company does pre-press work for marketing campaigns. If they need 15 minutes to render a postscript file (or PDF) they need better hardware. We use off-the-shelf gear (PC and Mac, none of it SMP) and nothing we do that is full-page size takes 15 minutes, even at 300 dpi. What're they using, a PII-400???

      That's a silly statement to make.
      A PS or PDF file can be arbitrily complex for a given page size.

      I've personally caused a single 8.5x11 page to take twenty mintues to come out of a fast laser printer.
      All you need to do is send it a postscript file of something with a hundred thousand elements or so. (I'm my case, the VLSI layout for a microcontroller.)

      If you're starting out with a bitmap then DPI and page size are dominating factors. When you're starting with a list of names in a scaleable font, you're talk about VECTOR graphics.
      That is a "proper" way for a professional to work in this instance since they can then produce a result of arbitrary DPI or page size.
    • Re:15 minutes? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by factoryjoe (838642) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @06:52PM (#11037406) Homepage
      Actually, I'm working at Mozilla on their shiny new Dual 1.8GHz G5 PowerMac with 1.25GB RAM.

      The problem is that 10,000 names converted to outlines and intersected with a complex, gradiated shape isn't a task for mere mortals. But at the rate this thing is happening... Geez, Firefox 2.0 might be out! (j/k -- I'm almost done.)

  • name branding? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OffTheLip (636691) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:04PM (#11036558)
    My experience with firefox has been if I tell someone to use it they do, most of the time without questioning why. Not a hint of concern about 'publicized' IE security flaws of Microsoft failings. Seems most users just want to surf the net, take care of business or whatever. I guess this can still be claimed as a victory for firefox...
    • Re:name branding? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hackstraw (262471) *
      I personally believe that the Firefox name kinda sucks for "normal" users. We all know what it is, but "Internet Explorer" is fairly descriptive. Albeit not creative, like most of Microsoft's product names, but easy to remember and intuitive.

      I have a public account on my Mac for my friends and they could not figure out which thingy "got them on the internet". I created an alias for Camino, a Mac native port of Mozilla, on the desktop named "Internet", and the problem went away.
  • i don't get this. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jimmyp9999 (813454) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:10PM (#11036596)

    I don't understand why Firefox is blowing 50K to put an ad in the NYT. A single ad is not going to cause anyone to adopt the browser - it is well known that ads take a lot of impressions to get someone to get action on it.

    As a "thank you" to the community it is pretty weak as well. It thanks only the NYT bottom line.

    A well-hyped $50K 1.0 launch party would be a better way to generate press and motivate people to switch to the browser. It would get far wider coverage than a single page in one edition of the NYT.

    • by Headrick (25371)
      Perhaps it's more about the coverage that Firefox is getting because they are going to place the ad, rather than the ad itself.
    • by eMartin (210973) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:37PM (#11036811)
      Right, because a party full of computer nerds is going to get everyone's attention.
    • Re:i don't get this. (Score:5, Informative)

      by That's Unpossible! (722232) * on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:43PM (#11036872)
      I don't understand why Firefox is blowing 50K to put an ad in the NYT.

      1. The ad itself has already gotten $50K worth of coverage across the internet.

      2. Firefox is not spending any money. People donated over $250,000 to Firefox because they wanted their name in an ad. So they spent the $50K on the ad, as promised, and held onto $200K for other ad campaigns.

      As a "thank you" to the community it is pretty weak as well. It thanks only the NYT bottom line.

      This was never offered as a thank you to the community. This ad was paid for by the community. Why would we thank ourselves? This ad is meant, pure and simple, as a way to get NYT readers to wonder how in the hell a program can be so good that it got 10,000 people to donate money to advertise it.

      It has already worked, and it hasn't even run in the fucking paper yet!

      A well-hyped $50K 1.0 launch party would be a better way to generate press and motivate people to switch to the browser.

      This is why you are posting to slashdot instead of handling marketing for any products.

      It would get far wider coverage than a single page in one edition of the NYT.

      You mean like multiple postings on slashdot, CNET, and other highly trafficked internet sites? Oh wait... that's what has happened with this ad campaign.
  • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:18PM (#11036651)
    ...and go with a "And Many, Many Others" tag at the end of the listing or something like that.

    If they're the kind of people giving money to an open source browser project, I doubt they're going to raise much of a fuss if their name doesn't get specifically mentioned.
  • by wealthychef (584778) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:47PM (#11036897)
    As an Apple user, I always thought it odd how we Apple fanatics got excited enough about advertisements to discuss them in public forums. Are there forums where people get all hot and heavy over Microsoft advertising? :-)
  • Request! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @05:51PM (#11036921) Journal
    Could someone who has donated change their name to Bill Gates please? Thanks!
  • Norway (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Earlybird (56426) <slashdot.purefiction@net> on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @06:26PM (#11037208) Homepage
    In related news, this poster is appearing all over Oslo, Norway [spreadfirefox.com]. Spotting it the other day was one of those unwordly moments where you're seeing a little-known niche thing becoming mainstream. Then yesterday I had a meeting with the IT manager at a government agency; those guys have always been Internet Explorer users, and now Firefox was running on the guy's desktop. The fact that Firefox is actively competing with IE now is going to be good for the Internet.
  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @07:19PM (#11037600)
    The U.S. firefoxers are badly lagging behind here: The German local group "Firefox kommt!" had their ad with about 2,400 signatures in Germany's premier economics paper "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" (FAZ) on the 2nd of December 2004. You can see the ad here [firefox-kommt.de] (includes various mirrors). The response in the German press was fantastic.

    Now, quite a lot of people tried to post this on Slashdot, but for some reason, these stories seem to have been rejected wholesale. I fail to see the reasoning behind this: Being U.S. centered is one thing, trying to supress the first example of an ad that the world has been holding its breath for quite another. It would be nice if the editors forced themselves to give a reason when they rejected postings or at least created a section where people can look at them.

I have never seen anything fill up a vacuum so fast and still suck. -- Rob Pike, on X.

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