Firefox NYT ad, some disappointment

In: Mozilla|Personal

17 Dec 2004

Update: Daryl responds, and so does Rob Davis, both from the Spreadfirefox team. Please do send an email to nytadcorrections@gmail.com should you believe your name listing to be in error or if it’s not there.

So the Firefox NYT ad has gone out. Great-looking ad, great work everyone at sfx. Ooh so here’s my name:

My name in the Firefox NYT ad


I must, however, express my dismay at how the exercise was handled. No communication with the donors as promised (we were supposed to get an email prior to the release of the ad), and no one will answer my comments on sfx nor my emails. After significant pimping and whoring, I think I got 13 donations, but no one at sfx has yet to reply to my emails when I requested that they run a check for me on whether I was a “Community Champion” (who get their names underlined, among other things that they may or may not get as promised). Surely it counts for something, insignificant as my efforts were in the greater picture.

Is there a lack of communication somewhere? I’d say so, and not just because I wasn’t replied to, but because there weren’t much in terms of updates on when the ad would have been released. There also wasn’t a draft of the ad put up for review, meaning some people had their names reversed or they simply weren’t there. Commendable, of course, that they offer to do this:

We will incorporate all requests for corrections we receive and, where we are responsible for the error, we will send out free, corrected posters of the ad autographed by some members of the Firefox development team. As appropriate we will also issue credits or refunds on a case by case basis.

Still, great ad, I can’t imagine how much of a nightmare it must have been to get the names in there, and go Firefox! Awesome work, awesome fund-raising campaign for an awesome Web browser.

18 Responses to Firefox NYT ad, some disappointment

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John

December 17th, 2004 at 4pm

I couldn’t agree more. The lack of communication was really inexcuseable… Pushed back 3 times… Silly me thought it was going to be in color as well.. The odd thing is that they got A LOT more money then the ad cost and I would REALLY like to know where it went. My name is also a good bit smaller then I hoped it would be… But 2500 to 10,000 will do that….

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Anthony

December 17th, 2004 at 6pm

My name didn’t even make it into the ad. Majorly disappointed but there’s little I can do at this stage. The communications delay between SFX and the community is disappointing considering that open source prides itself on being accountable and listening to its users. :(

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Daryl

December 17th, 2004 at 8pm

Did you email the complaint address specified? It was a gmail account, I think, and if you haven’t received a response, I imagine it’s just because there’s lots of email going there. Rob Davis is good for following up and will no doubt respond to your email when he’s able to get to it. I’m not sure what might have happened w/r/t your community champion status. Sure enough, I’ve just checked the database, and you’ve got 13 rows there. Regarding communication, yeah, we may have let the ball drop a little bit on that. Chalk it up to the fact that getting this thing coordinated and poring over thousands of names was a beastly job undertaken by a couple of volunteers. That doesn’t really make it better and doesn’t serve as an adequate excuse, but it’s what happened. If you don’t get an email back soon from Rob, email me at daryl@sfx and I’ll make sure your message gets forwarded.

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Anthony

December 17th, 2004 at 8pm

Hi Daryl,

Thanks for the response. I haven’t emailed the gmail address yet. I’m going to have to do it tomorrow as I’m short on time today. I’ll let you know what happens. :)

Regards,

Anthony

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Rob Davis

December 17th, 2004 at 10pm

hi Chu Yeow & readers;
Thanks for your feedback and also patience and support. I am delighted that you like the ad, and certainly hear your feedback on ways to improve the process – I agree! There’s no question about it — it is extremely tough to manage your job, life.. and an awesome open source project. I have a lot more respect for the teams of developers that struggle with this daily.
Please do encourage your readers to email me at the gmail “corrections” address listed on Spread Firefox. We have found <100 people who donated, but did not appear in the ad. There were two sources which accounted for 90% of these errors: 1. users contributed to the Mozilla Foundation directly w/o donating through the NY Times campaign. 2. the payment never authenticated.
Thanks again for your support and feedback. This was trial 1.0 — it can only get better!

best regards,
Rob Davis

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Rob Davis

December 17th, 2004 at 10pm

arg.. that greater than sign should be a less than sign.

To be clear, there are fewer than 100 (60 some at the moment) who were not in the ad and thought they should be.

best (and good morning!)
Rob

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Cheah Chu Yeow

December 17th, 2004 at 10pm

Daryl: Thanks for checking that up for me and for forwarding my email to Rob. :) Like I said in my email, I’m sure it was a ghastly and painfully tedious job, so I don’t fault you guys for making mistakes. I’m also glad you don’t take my post the wrong way.

Rob: Thanks for your explanations as well. You don’t really have to explain. I know how tough it is. Like I say to Daryl above, I’m also glad that you don’t take my post the wrong way and welcome the criticism. I feel much more comfortable now than before.

Truth to tell, I was a bit wary of posting this entry in the first place, because of the misconceptions that could result. But I guess I took the easy way out to get attention from the sfx team since no other means of communication seem to be getting me any response. I’m now glad I did post this entry.

Keep up the great work, Rob, Daryl, and everyone else at in the sfx team, and especially the developers! We luv ya!

PS. I’ve changed the “more than” sign to the “less than” sign.

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Dennis Pallett

December 17th, 2004 at 10pm

How am I supposed to check if my name is there? Do I actually have to look through that list, and try and find it? :S

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Cheah Chu Yeow

December 17th, 2004 at 10pm

Daniel: The names are arranged in alphabetical order of last names. Try looking at names with last names starting with “P”, failing which look at names with last names starting with “D”.

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Josh

December 18th, 2004 at 12am

You do makes some good points. But I’m going to play the other side’s card for a moment. Like was mentioned above, there were only a few volunteers (not employees) working on the names (in their spare time), and there were 10,000 names. If you had to make the ad, I’m sure you would make a few mistakes too. Overall, I think the team did a great job and looking at the big picture, its a huge win for Firefox and open source in the long run.

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Cheah Chu Yeow

December 18th, 2004 at 12am

Josh: Oh you misunderstand my gripes. Like I’ve said again and again, I don’t fault the sfx team for their mistakes with the ad. But I do fault them for the poor communication and the way the ad was presented as a “surprise”.

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Dennis Pallett

December 18th, 2004 at 4am

Alphabetical order eh? Heh, didn’t notice that. Thanks, I found my name.

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Nathan Wong

December 18th, 2004 at 4am

I think the ad was slightly less than what I expected. Somehow I imagined, well, a full page color ad that really pointed out Firefox and branded it. It’s not quite there…

I’ll say, they managed to fit 10,000 names in there pretty well though. I have a few friends who are disappointed in it too (both the communication, the general way it was handled, and how it looks). Oh well, as said, it can only get better from here. :)

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Ali Ebrahim

December 18th, 2004 at 12pm

Thanks for posting this blog entry. I was considering posting a very similar one myself, but I decided not to because various people would have chosen to interpret it as an attack on the foundation instead of constructive criticism of what went wrong. While almost everyone at MF and sfx are great people (Rob and Chris included), I can think of at least one person who simply cannot take constructive criticism, and regards any criticism as a personal attack on his integrity.

I fully agree with that that it was not the lack of effort by the volunteers that caused the problems, but the lack of (any) communication, and the “surprise” effect, which was totally unnecessary.

Brendan Eich says to another posted that he should “save [his] bad attitude for mistakes that actually matter to the target audience.” Given that this was the case, then I don’t really see the value in pulling a surprise on the sfx community. Turns out, that the surprise had more than one face.

(For those who are wondering, BE is not the one who I was pointing to in my first paragraph.)

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Steve

December 20th, 2004 at 12am

I’m disappointed as well – primarily because my name was missing. But also that they didn’t provide us with a days notice as was promised.

I’ve sent an e-mail to the address mentioned, but have yet to recieve any kind of response.

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Rob Davis

December 21st, 2004 at 1pm

hi Steve & readers;
Fear not.. the nytadcorrections@gmail account is being checked and I am taking action on your requests. My first priority is to take action, then I’ll be going back to respond to each email. Thanks for your patience.
all the best,
Rob

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bjorn

January 25th, 2005 at 6pm

Doesn’t this miss the whole point of “Community effort?”.
This whole ad campaign not to mention a large part of the browser it self is a volunteer project. If you only contributed to get your name printed for everyone to see, go buy a step ladder and a can of paint!

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Scott

August 8th, 2005 at 9pm

Regarding the NYT ad: I, too, was a donor, and my name did appear (correctly). It was nice to see my name there, but that was hardly the reason for making my donation.

My disappointment was not due to the poor communication by Mozilla regarding the placement & timing of the ad (we all make mistakes), nor was it with the fact that, because of the poor communication, I was unable to get a copy of that NYT edition; I didn’t like the way Mozilla refused to hold true to their promises of “compensation” to we donors…

When I saw Mozilla would offer a free NYT Ad poster to all of us who felt a bit slighted by the lack of communication, I felt that was reasonable compensation, and I requested mine. Weeks went by, months went by, and no poster. I sent an email. No response. I sent a couple more, CC’ing those whom I thought would at least have some knowledge of the offer (including the Mozilla store), and absolutely no one replied. Seven months later, after realizing no one at Mozilla really gave a shit about it, I bought a poster–happy to yet again donate to “the cause,” but pissed that “the cause” seems apathetic toward individual supporters.

I’m still a Firefox user, a Mozilla supporter, and a strong proponent of open-source, but I’ll be much more careful how (and to whom) I make my donations…