A group of self-styled “political activists” has started campaigning for browser users to switch from Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) to Mozilla Firefox.
The campaign, called Explorer Destroyer, takes advantage of a new program by Google to pay users of its AdSense service a dollar for each referral to Firefox made through Google Toolbar, according to the group’s website. AdSense enables Web publishers to earn money by displaying ads on their websites that are served by Google.
Explorer Destroyer exhorts visitors: “You already want people to switch to Firefox. Now’s the time to get serious about it.” According to Mozilla, Firefox accounts for 10 percent of the browsers in use in the United States.
Explorer Destroyer offers website owners scripting technology that will detect if a visitor is running IE.
If so, an alert will appear directing the visitor to download Firefox in order to either view the site better or see it at all. If the visitor downloads Firefox, the owners of the referring website will get the referral fee if they have signed up for Google AdSense.
There are three types of alerts site owners can put on their page: “gentle encouragement,” “semiserious” or “dead serious.”
If a website owner chooses “gentle encouragement,” visitors who are using IE will see a banner across the top of the page that encourages them to download Firefox. A “semiserious” site will put up a splash page with a link for downloading Mozilla’s browser. Those who choose the “dead serious” rating block users with IE from viewing their pages unless the users install Firefox.
The group also has launched a tongue-in-cheek website that parodies IE and provides reasons (many of them off-color) why users should switch to Firefox. Among them: “It will make Bill Gates soooooooooo mad.” The site also refers to the difficulties users sometimes encounter when using IE and problems developers have making websites IE compatible.