Power Users Not the Secret to Alternative Browser Adoption

    June 9, 2005

Mozilla product release manager Asa Dotzler argues that the real takeoff of Mozilla happened when Firefox came along and made it easy for “non-technical” users to switch away from IE. (Hat tip to Jeremy Zawodny for the reference.)

Racing ahead Firefox is, indeed. Market share seems to still be rising.

Although this does not apply across the board, I was looking at some recent client site stats. This client gets a steady stream of search referral traffic as well as existing client traffic, paid search traffic, and direct navigation. They are in a technical business, but the audience coming in through the search referrals is still “mainstream,” since many aren’t customers and never will be. For this group, in the past month, market share of “other browsers than IE” coming to the site is 40%! Most of that is Firefox, but Opera is in the mix, too. It’s a fairly large sample size.

Basically, then, we are seeing pockets of the world where IE is on the way to 50% market share.

Ironically, the client told me that to use the analytics package, I’d be better off logging in using IE.

Both techies and ordinary people seem eager to switch away from IE. Where will this growth pattern level off? At 20% market share for Firefox? Or 50%?

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Andrew Goodman is Principal of Page Zero Media, a marketing consultancy which focuses on maximizing clients’ paid search marketing campaigns.

In 1999 Andrew co-founded Traffick.com, an acclaimed “guide to portals” which foresaw the rise of trends such as paid search and semantic analysis.