Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mozilla Website SOPA/PIPA Efforts

This morning my alarm went off at 4:30am so I could hop online to help launch Mozilla's anti-SOPA efforts. 

Although the scenarios are of different degrees of significance, I couldn't help but think of a story I once heard about how Steven Garrity, a long-time contributor, launched the original Firefox download page live for the first time early one morning from bed over 8 years ago. 

Once I finally made it into work it was a delight to see our main SOPA landing page on the cover of the New York Times amongst our peers at Wikipedia, Reddit, and more. 

There are many other bits and pieces to our SOPA campaign, but here is a overview of what we did on our main web facing properties. 

Site Blackout
We blacked out our main download landing pages by having them redirect to the SOPA landing page below ( 

That means that everyone wanting to download Firefox today or anyone who came to our main website through the normal front doors saw this page instead. Those numbers are well into the multi-million. We make the "deep" content available since we want people to be able to get support, and upgrade their browser for security reasons.

A few details:

- We launched using redirects that would not harm our SEO efforts by following guidelines from posts like this people put together exactly for this reason. 

-We also chose to keep a way for visitors to download Firefox - you can see it at the bottom of the screenshot above. This was a bit tricky since we didn't want to come across as "commercial" or trying to take advantage of this event to get more downloads but as Alex Fowler so aptly stated we give visitors the download option in order to: "...continue to support our mission, ensure users have access to support, as well as the ability to find and update to safer and securer versions of Firefox." 

Start Page Blackout
Even more significantly we dramatically changed the look and feel of our default "Start" page, meaning, the page you see when you type "about:home" into your browser. 

We made it black. We added relevant info.  We put a censorship slash through the fox. Everyone on the English build of the browser should see this page today if this is their default homepage. Those numbers are in the tens of millions. 

This launch with very Mozilla-esque  - willing participants huddling together in chaos trying to throw something together to make a difference for the future of the web. 

For example: here's the main etherpad we used to draft out our actions.  Nothing short of mayhem!

We'll see what results from these efforts as the day unfolds. 

In the mean-time it's been a very exciting day.


  1. Thanks for the post. I think Mozilla's message was one of the best ones today.

    "We through a censorship sash threw the fox" - I think you got your homophones the wrong way round :-)

    "Those numbers are in the tens of millions" - How was that measured?

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