Firefox 3 Download Day: Good Publicity Stunt

Unless you keep up with tech news, you may have missed it, but this past Tuesday was “download day,” in which Mozilla was hoping to set a world record for downloads by encouraging its users to download Firefox 3 on its release day.

I don’t think there was actually a previously held world record, and I’m not sure how meaningful the 8 million number means. It doesn’t mean there are 8 million users, only 8 million downloads. I myself, did three downloads that day. There was someone on the Ubuntu Forums who did seven downloads. There may have even been people writing scripts to download Firefox. Who knows?

But let’s just say there were 8 million unique downloaders. So what? According to Internet World Stats, only a little more than 1/5 of the world population has internet access. That means only 0.6% of internet users downloaded Firefox on download day. If we were to assume that the entire world had internet access, that’d drop the percentage down to 0.1% of users who downloaded that day.

Those numbers aren’t very encouraging. Actually, they aren’t discouraging either. They’re pretty much meaningless, as we know the Firefox web browser marketshare is anywhere between 10% and 50%, depending on the country.

All it means is that most Firefox users had no clue there was a download day. They just went about their daily lives actually using Firefox instead of re-downloading it. Still, it was a good publicity stunt… at least for those who do read the tech news. It made the front page of the technology section of Google News practically every day this week. I don’t think any download record will ever mean anything, but you’ve got to hand it to those Mozilla folks for getting some good hype.

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