Firefox chipping away at Internet Explorer

Mozilla finally has the winner of its Firefox Flicks ad contest. The entries were pretty good, and the winner, “Daredevil” by Pete Macomber, is not any worse than most TV ads. As noted earlier, it’s hard to explain the benefits of tabbed browsing in Firefox rather than the ossified Internet Explorer. Instead, Macomber takes an AOL-like approach and plays on the love of speed and the fear of spyware and viruses, which invariably exploit security weaknesses of IE. But will this really dent the 85 percent IE penetration rate? Maybe a more brass-knuckles approach is needed. A group calling itself Explorer Destroyer is taking that tack. It’s providing a tool to sites to detect when a visitor is using IE, which triggers a message encouraging them to switch to Firefox. It has “three levels of seriousness,” including “dead serious,” which blocks IE-using visitors from the site. More than geek activism is involved. Google is paying publishers $1 in AdSense credits for everybody they get to use Firefox (with the Google Toolbar, naturally). We’re betting that’s the more effective tactic.

—Posted by Brian Morrissey