Donation link: next step

John Crisp jcrisp at
Mon Nov 25 17:29:47 UTC 2013

On 20/11/13 18:57, Kent James wrote:
> In an effort to keep moving this forward to resolution, let me summarize
> what I think has been said, and what the next steps are.
> I have not heard any objections to the proposal for a donation link,
> most posts agree and then proceed to question or propose details. Those
> details include questions of 1) how money would be spent and managed,
> and 2) how the donation would be structured.

For my 2c worth....

I've been following the 'Donation' thread, and as El Presidente of a NfP
Linux Distro going though similar throws, I can see some of the
difficulties that lie ahead.

A couple of suggestions.

Your 'Council' needs to be made up of a reasonable balance of developers
and business, not just devs. As I have oft moaned in many places that
developers are phenomenal, but don't always take into account their
users needs and desires (you might like tabs but I hate them with a passion)

Fine if your users pay you nothing. Do what you want. But once the user
starts to donate they then effectively become a 'customer' and then have
a reasonable case to ask for things THEY want to see appear.

You need some business heads in the mix to make a reasonable balance,
and to help drive the 'commercial' aspect of things, be that marketing,
advertising, donations, contacting your biggest users and looking at
commercial relationships or whatever. Most devs aren't particularly
interested in this area (each to their own) but it needs addressing just
as badly as the code. They can also give a different perspective as to
what bugs they might consider more important to fix etc etc.

If you are asking for donations, then make sure they go into a separate
NfP with it's own account and governance. I am sure there will be many
who are happy to contribute to say TB, but not to the Mozilla whole.

If TB is anywhere similar to us, and I suspect it is, knowing who your
clients are and what they want, and being able to contact them is a
nightmare. No other normal business works without knowing and listening
to the majority of its client base (most users never go anywhere near
bug trackers or forums so are hard to contact directly)

Donations links are all very well (I never use the 'home' panel or
whatever and always go straight to Inbox so would be unlikely to see
this), but life would be much easier if you could mail every customer
and say 'send us some cash please'. So some form of registration has to
be looked at somehow.

I am sure that with the current size of the TB user base, you have some
time on your side, and knowledge available from Mozilla. But you need to
get this moving in a hurry before you start to see users slip and slide
away. Does anyone have any recent users stats and year on year
increase/decrease in usage ?

I think the premise of paying for bugs to be fixed (unless it is a
private contractual basis between a customer and a developer) is never
going to work. Much better to advertise the skills and contact details
of developers who are prepared to offer to work 'freelance' on say a TB

As a separate thought, seeing as you have your tabs and home page and
html stuff, why aren't you using and monetising it in a similar way that
Firefox does with its 'home' page ? Personally I'd turn it off, or want
duckduckgo or a.n.other engine, but the majority would be happy with it
I am sure ?

Lastly, worrying about how to spend the money you raise is an issue you
can deal with later. First start getting it in !

Well done for grabbing the poison chalice, and keep up the good work :-)

B. Rgds

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