Donation Link: Lets gather information

Kent James kent at
Mon Dec 9 22:47:43 UTC 2013

I've read through the responses from last week, and want to summarize 
status, and propose next steps.

Step 1: Confirm existing consensus

I think that we can almost declare a consensus in agreement with the 
concept "The Thunderbird project should attempt to pursue donations with 
an in-product link". I will send out an email soon to the people 
mentioned in my proposal as being members of the Thunderbird Project 
governance, asking for consensus agreement to that. Unless there are two 
or more objections, or a veto from relevant Mozilla staff, we can 
declare a consensus to move forward, and postpone a meeting on the 
details in the formal proposal until we have additional information 
(discussed below).

We have not decided on the format of that link, and that will need some 
additional discussion by the governing members. I have to admit that I 
am quite confused by the objections to the format in my proposal. People 
seem to object to my initial proposal (using a tab and donation button), 
because they oppose a "permanently visible link" (though my initial 
proposal is not a permanent link), and then propose as an alternative a 
link on the start page, which IS a "permanently visible link". But it is 
not the intent of this email to further that discussion, that will be later.

Step 2: Gather information on possibilities for the donation link

The revelation that Firefox already has in some cases a start-page 
donation link is new information. As I said in the initial proposal, one 
of the key issues is governance of the income moving forward, and the 
proper governance is partly a function of the expected income from that 
link. If available, we should try to use Firefox experience with their 
link to make a rough estimate of the income to be expected from our 
link, and we should do that prior to making any decisions on governance. 
If we are disappointed or encouraged by those estimates, that might also 
influence what types of links we consider. So I propose that we spend a 
couple of weeks trying to gather information.

The type of information that we need is:

1) What is the income generation rate from the Firefox donation link as 
a function of page views?
2) What are the page views of the Thunderbird start page?
3) What happens to the income generated from the Firefox donation link?

While we are gathering information, and assuming that we agree on the 
consensus about donations, we could start to gather additional 
information, including:

4) Is the Mozilla Foundation willing and able to setup an account 
dedicated to Thunderbird for use in managing donations? If so, what 
would be the requirements of governance of that account, and rules for 
expenditures from that account?

I know from past experience that I personally have no authority to 
gather such information, nor do I even know who to ask, and that it will 
require the direct involvement of a Mozilla staff person with 
appropriate standing to have any hopes of soliciting this information. 
So I appeal to some Mozilla staff members who have been involved in 
these discussions, or have standing in the Thunderbird project, to agree 
to work with me in gathering this information. I hope that one of you 
would agree to work with me on this: Mark Banner, Irving Reid, JB 
Piacentino, Blake Winton, Gervase Markham, or David Ascher. Or if anyone 
can supply help in gathering that information, that would be appreciated.

I'm also willing to fly to Mountain View to discuss this in person if 
needed, assuming that I had a proper sponsorship that would give me some 
standing to gather information.


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