It appears that Firefox has gone all-in with a new marketing campaign aiming at presenting Google Chrome as a big brother/browser that is watching your every step.
They kicked it off with the following billboard posted somewhere in San Francisco.
Firefox also appears to be a running ads on various sites targeting similar message.
A Stuff Software Engineer from Mozilla hinted that more messaging like this is coming.
This move by Firefox has sparked some criticism, including the following exchange (where Verizon’s customer support (bot?) showed up to help, lol).
Note: Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, makes most of it’s revenue from Yahoo, for setting Yahoo as their default search engine. Yahoo is now owned by Verizon.
To be fair, when Chrome was a young browser, Google deployed a similar marketing strategy, aimed at Firefox and Internet Explorer.
In my opinion Chrome ad does look more “classy”, since it does not call out the competition directly. Neither does Mozilla, but the coloring kind of gives it away.
I can appreciate this risky move by Mozilla. “Private” is the new “Fast” and they want to capitalize on this market change. Prior to this campaign, for example, they release Firefox Focus a “private browser for iOS”. It is also worth noting that Brave with ad and tracking blocking and Opera with a free VPN (both browsers build on top of Chrome) have been making strong emphasis on privacy before Firefox did. Firefox does have a unique angle though, since it is a completely stand alone browser.
In any case, a lot of Google engineers seem to be upset by this attack and a lot of Mozilla engineers seem to be embarrassed by it. Two companies have a long history of working together and Firefox has received a lot of support from Google over the years. At the same time, it did seem for a while that Firefox was just hiding in Chrome’s shadows. Perhaps Mozilla leadership decided it was time to show some teeth and gain market share.
What do you think? Is it just business as usual? Has Firefox gone too far?
Update 07/06/2017: Here is another one.
— Alex Kras (@akras14) July 7, 2017
Update 12/02/2017: And another
— Alex Kras (@akras14) December 3, 2017