Mozilla Begins Raising Money for NYT Ad Campaign

Jeff Berg
NEW YORK — Open-source software producer Mozilla Foundation launched a massive campaign on Tuesday to raise money to place an advertisement for its new Firefox web browser on the pages of the New York Times.

The advertisement, billed as the first-ever national print ad for an open-source product, would allow the company to get significant attention for the browser’s scheduled November launch.

According to representatives from Mozilla, the advertisement in the New York Times will feature the names of at least 2,500 donors who contribute $30 or more to the campaign.

The new browser was released in a trial version last month and quickly gained attention as a possible challenger for the throne currently occupied by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Already, Firefox has been awarded the Editors’ Choice Award for Best Web Browser by Laptop Magazine.

“For the first time in a while, we’re seeing real momentum behind a browser other than IE,” Steve O’Grady, an analyst with Redmonk, told Forbes.com early this month. “Consumers are starting to use Firefox, and that has developers considering both platforms when they’re building websites.”

Web analytics company WebSideStory reported in mid-September that Microsoft’s share of the web browser market dropped from 95.6 percent in June to 93.7 percent in September, while individuals using browsers produced by Mozilla grew from 3.5 percent to 5.2 percent.

Firefox, which was downloaded more than 1 million times during the first three days of release, features built-in popup blocking, tabbed browsing that allows a user to open multiple web pages in a single window and customizable third-party extensions that add new features to the browser.

The browser also includes RSS integration that allows for “live bookmarks,” a list of favorite sites that is updated constantly as each syndicated site updates.

At deadline, the SpreadFirefox.com website, which hosts the advertising campaign and was featured on Slashdot.com this morning, was down.