The New Firefox Affiliates Program — Help make it amazing

30 06 2011

One of the things I’m working on as a part of my role on the User Engagement Team is the launch and management of a new Firefox Affiliates program. As many of you know, the Spread Firefox affiliates site was taken down a month or two ago. You can read more on why we took it down here .

This situation left us without an affiliates program, without a centralized way for us to encourage visitors to our blogs and websites to download Firefox. With the help of our creative team, localizers and the super-helpful David Boswell, we found a way to host Firefox 4 buttons at http://www.mozilla.org/contribute/buttons/. Almost all of these have been updated to be Firefox buttons without the version number. There are still a bunch of localizations that haven’t been added yet, as we’ve decided to wait until we have a full program up an running again. To everyone who did a localization for the new buttons, thank you for waiting. They’ll be put to use very soon.

Without a full affiliates program, the emptiness is palpable. But it’s also an opportunity. The old affiliates program, while great, was built back in 2004 and the way we communicate and market online has changed in many ways since then. By starting anew we have a chance to take the best features of the old system and build new ones that will make being an affiliate even more fun and rewarding.

To get this process going, we’re hustling to build a skeleton version of this site and launch it in late July — something very basic that we can build something amazing on with your feedback and help. We’re just finishing the wireframing process and will be getting design and development underway very quickly. We’re doing this so quickly so that we have the most basic of systems to work with while we’re coming up great ideas for the future of affiliates.

This new affiliates program will have two key features when it launches. First we’ll be able update and refresh content regularly. This means shiny new buttons for you to share. Next, and most excitingly, we’re going to be localize the entire site. Not just localized buttons, the whole site. This will make it easier for more people in more locales to promote Firefox.

What I’m looking to your help with is what to plan for v2 of this new affiliates program. Since you are people who used the previous system, I have some questions for you:

  • What were the features you loved and what were the features you always wanted to have?
  • What kinds of campaigns did you enjoy or find effective?
  •  Are there ways that we can add a game or challenge element to make participating in affiliates more fun?
  • If we want to communicate new campaigns or affiliate opportunities to you, how would you prefer we get in touch? E-mail? Alerts within this affiliates system when you’ve logged in?
  • Are there any tools, like an image generator or a build-your-own-button creator, that would make l10n and customization better?
  • Do you have any thoughts on how we can encourage participation in the affiliates program in a Mozilla fashion (think open, participatory, community-driven)?

I’m hoping to have a couple of irc chats in the next month or two to talk about ideas for v2 of the new affiliates program so stay tuned for times, but please feel free to leave comments and ideas below or send me a note at chelsea [AT] mozilla.com.

One final note before you share your ideas with me: Stats from the old Spread Firefox program will not carry over to the new system. For a variety of reasons, moving that user data isn’t possible. I am, however, working on a thank-you to the superstars of the old system and I hope that you’ll help in creating the new one with me.

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17 responses

30 06 2011
Ken Saunders

What were the features you loved and what were the features you always wanted to have?
I’m a veteran of the original affiliates program and what drove the majority of us to participate was the friendly competitiveness and shear pride of having a high number of points (from referrals) and, having them displayed in the Weekly Roll Call and Top 5 Affiliates section, and then the Top 250.
Most of us were already promoting Firefox, but the affiliates program did provide extra incentive.
I believe that a Top 250 (or higher) would still be a good idea and allow people to choose the URL that they want to link their name to (like previously).
I would however create a separate Top Commercial Affiliates (a better name of course) section for more popular/visited sites, companies, organizations etc,for the following reasons.
It would allow for average individuals to get exposure and a decent slot in a Top Affiliates section (the top affiliates were always large sites with a lot of traffic).
It would (potentially) encourage high traffic sites to participate once again because they’d get free exposure through Mozilla’s channels (Craigslist used to be an affiliate).

Other notes.
Affiliate URLs that validates!
Easy to remember urls so that individuals can remember and use them when they’re away from home and at friend’s, etc.
Perhaps using an url shortening service or scheme would work.
If using a points system is used at all, points should be awarded the way that they were initially, which was through clicks, not downloads. Spread Thunderbird uses this system. It’s fair. A click to another site is a click away from an individual’s one.
There are other ways to track Mozilla downloads.
Monthly random drawings to giveaway Mozilla swag.
People aren’t as selfless as they used to be, they want some sort of material compensation. At least that’s one way to encourage participation.
Perhaps give affiliate members/participants discounts to http://store.mozilla.org.

What kinds of campaigns did you enjoy or find effective?
Niche, time limited, and temporary ones were fun. Like Mozilla Parks, Mozilla Hacks, etc.
Are there ways that we can add a game or challenge element to make participating in affiliates more fun?
Not sure yet
If we want to communicate new campaigns or affiliate opportunities to you, how would you prefer we get in touch? E-mail? Alerts within this affiliates system when you’ve logged in?
Email for sure. In fact, are there plans for an Engagement newsletter? Wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Also, social media page(s)/updates. Facebook, Twitter, and please, open source ones too like identi.ca, mozilla.status.net.

Are there any tools, like an image generator or a build-your-own-button creator, that would make l10n and customization better?
A build your own would be awesome. I don’t recall the url, but there is one that allows for creating Firefox (type) business cards, and Foxkeh’s Wallpaper Creator was cool.
Do you have any thoughts on how we can encourage participation in the affiliates program in a Mozilla fashion (think open, participatory, community-driven)?
Guilt people into it? :)

30 06 2011
Chelsea Novak

Awesome. awesome, awesome Ken. Thank you so much for all of this!

30 06 2011
Ken Saunders

No, no, no. Thank you. I’m wicked excited about the work that you’re doing here. :D

30 06 2011
Paul Booker

Hey Chelsea,

It’s great to hear that were going to bring back the affiliate program. I would just like to indicate here my interest in helping out with the development and would appreciate it if you could point me toward any wiki pages ,.. that i need to read and digest. I think i have a fairly meaty Google document in my Bookmarks somewhere .. Anyway just to let you know i used to help out with maintaining the affiliate code on spreadfirefox.com and later worked on the affiliates module on Drupal.org which was then later incorporated on spreadthunderbird.com so hopefully i can be of some help to y’all.

Some great comments from Ken (some things don’t change :-) )

Best,
Paul Booker

30 06 2011
Chelsea Novak

Hey Paul,
Awesome. Thank you. Here’s the site development wiki https://wiki.mozilla.org/Websites/Affiliates.

Thanks!
C

30 06 2011
Mike Kaply

Can we get 125×125 images? pretty please?

1 07 2011
Nuss

> …image generator…

It would be cool if you could choose a locale, one of some predefined color schemes, one of some predefined messages, and a custom width/height to create a button. Everybody wants their own size (like Mike above). I think this would be possible today to retain proportions and make it look great with some canvas magic.

1 07 2011
Otto de Voogd

At the risk of repeating some of the comments already made, here are my thoughts:

- Offer something for everyone, from simple permanent buttons (without version numbers) to complex ever changing banners.

- As in the old version allow people to make their own buttons/banners/texts and link those.

- Rather than just have a total click through count. Offer detailed information, including overviews per URL of the pages that contained the buttons, their ids, etc… give us the tools to see what works and what doesn’t, like Google AdSense does. Click throughs and actual downloads should be part of that metric.

- Don’t restrict it to Firefox. Let us promote all things Mozilla. Better yet let us also promote specific add-ons.

- I like the idea of giving away a few T-shirts or something every month to those who participate.

I am looking forward to this new program already.

1 07 2011
Ken Saunders

+1 for Otto’s
Rather than just have a total click through count. Offer detailed information, including overviews per URL of the pages that contained the buttons, their ids, etc… give us the tools to see what works and what doesn’t, like Google AdSense does. Click throughs and actual downloads should be part of that metric.

- Don’t restrict it to Firefox. Let us promote all things Mozilla. Better yet let us also promote specific add-ons.

1 07 2011
Ken Saunders

Sorry, this especially
“give us the tools to see what works and what doesn’t”

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