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I’ll Use Whatever Browser I D*** Well Please

Today, I’ve twice run into a script called Explorer Destroyer.  Deployed on web sites (like this one, and this one), it puts up a pop-up delivering a pitch to download Firefox (and a Google download referral button) before permitting you to access the content on the page.  This is what you see:

Explorer Destroyer

And, because the script is stupid, it reloads every time you return to the page.  Don’t you guys know about cookies?

Now, I sometimes use Firefox, but most of the time my browser of choice is IE.  It’s familiar, and a little more useable than Firefox, in my opinion. It’s my choice!

Anyway, I reported both the offending sites, and Explorer Destroyer to Google’s Ad-Sense Abuse team.  Specifically, this system coerces users into clicking the Firefox button, and expects Google to pay $1 for each referral.  That’s fraud.

Interesting commentary from LockerGnome, and Slashdot on this technology, as well as a debate on Spread Firefox show that even within the Firefox Community this tactic is considered dubious.   

I’ll use whatever browser I damn well please.  It’s my choice.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • kiloglobin May 8, 2006, 9:38 pm

    I remember hearing about this last week and wondering how it wasn't fraud. Thats realllly annoying though.

  • Ted Shelton May 9, 2006, 6:34 am

    While I agree with your frustration at the pop-up (I hate ALL pop-ups for that matter) I would like to mention that as a web site designer working with both IE and Firefox there is a motivation other than a $1 payment to get people to switch to Firefox. In short, IE makes pages look terrible! What has happened over the last several years since IE 6 came out is that HTML standards have continued to evolve and IE has basically stood still while Firefox has embraced new standards and elegantly implemented them. Even better, Firefox gracefully handles HTML errors while IE often has horrible page errors as a result (not that people should have buggy HTML). Even better, there are issues like image resizing and clipping that Firefox handles really well while IE makes a mess of the image. If you used Firefox side by side with IE for a couple of days I'd be willing to bet that you'd switch to Firefox — you'd notice how much nicer the pages render. I'm not telling you this as someone who stands to benefit from getting you to switch – just as someone who has spent hours and hours trying to get IE to play nice with my HTML and javascript. Finally, what is truly amazing is that IE 7 doesn't even bring IE up to the level of Firefox.

  • Alec May 9, 2006, 6:43 am

    Ted, I use IE 6, IE 7 and Firefox on a regular basis. It happens that my preference is IE. And yes, I sympathize with the problems you describe. I went through the same headaches trying to get this blog to render on both browsers. It renders better in IE than Firefox. More to the point, though, IE is like a well worn pair of shoes. It's comfortable. Firefox, while it may support standards better, has a ways to go before it feels as comfortable to me.

    If there's one thing that gets my goat it's coercion. The fastest way to get me to dig my heels in and refuse to use Firefox is to stick that dumb pop-up in front of my face.

  • Martin Brice May 9, 2006, 6:59 am

    I've done the bleeding edge software thing for many years (used to be an MS coop student). As I've matured, I've tired of redoing my machine's over and over, reinstalling apps, and re-customizing again and again. :< Now I just use what the OS/Windows has, very little customizations. Yes, the Firefox product might be better, but it's yet another install. Nope, not gonna do it. Sorry. Unless it's SUBSTANTIALLY better and I mean HUGELY better, it's not worth my time to reinstall what I've already got.

    I guess I'm lucky most (say 99%) of the sites out there (especially the C#/.NET sites) support/prefer IE. If/when I encounter one of those Firefox-only sites, they'll just lose another set of eyeballs. Not my fault their losing advertising potential.

  • MT May 9, 2006, 6:09 pm

    The explorer destroyer campaign is the last desperation of the zealots to get users to switch. Once all the lies they were spreading about Firefox to get people to switch were exposed they just got more desperate. Get the facts: http://www.firefoxmyths.com

  • fkr May 28, 2006, 10:23 am

    Explorer Destroyer itself is nothing more than a scam to get AdSense referrals.

    It came into existance a day after AdSense referrals did, and I imagine someone'd made a very tidy sum of money through gullible Firefox fans who believe the rhetoric and "mission" of the site.

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