Summit Part 2: Funding -- How get attention for a "donation"

Axel Grude axel.grude at
Fri Oct 24 21:02:54 UTC 2014

Get Thunderbird!

*To:* Tb-planning at - tb-planning at
*From: *Jim Porter <squibblyflabbetydoo at>
*Sent: *Friday, 24/10/2014 18:17:51 18:17 GMT ST +0100 [Week 43]
*Subject:* Re: Summit Part 2: Funding -- How get attention for a "donation"
> On 10/24/2014 01:44 AM, Axel Grude (Axel) wrote:
> > I haven't heard people complain about the "Go" menu item although probably
> > very few use it.
> The "Go" menu item isn't in the primary UI for Thunderbird, unless you
> go through the effort of enabling the menu bar.
> > It is an important function to raise money for the
> > product and there is no inconvenience or change of workflow attached.
> But there is an inconvenience. You suggested having the icon animate
> "every 20 minutes". People's brains are hard-wired to notice animations,
> and we shouldn't be writing software whose intent is to distract the
> user. Email is distracting enough as it is.
then leave out the animation. even leave out the blue background or tone it down. the 
point is to have a permanent way to donate which is visible (and not hidden in a 
submenu). And can be configured away - maybe with a simple checkbox. IMO the hamburger 
menu is too obscure - I am a power user and practically never use it (Ok I know that 
the main menu comes up when I hit ALT and have it shown most of the time - I use the 
caption for functions as well:

Since I am old-school I have written an addon MenuOnTop to give different styling 
options for the menu, so I have a slightly different approach. Having said that, I 
believe all systems have some untapped screen space at the top.
> > If you find Wikipedia asking for money to fund themselves obnoxious (not
> > 3rd party advertisements) it sounds to me you prefer a product that is
> > funded by nobody or people who are interested in your private
> > information.
Okay forget about that remark that's a bit of a red herring even. That was more of a 
personal attack written in the heat of the moment.
> Wikipedia's campaigns are obnoxious because they're *designed* to be
> obnoxious. I'd have much less of a problem with it if the campaigns were
> just a short one-line message at the top of the page that could easily
> be ignored by folks who don't care. (At least they always have a close
> button.)
Don't forget that they greatly impacted the usability by using prime estate on the page.
> Wikipedia's model doesn't make much sense for us anyway, since Wikipedia
> doesn't know where their users will land (they can't just put a donation
> advertisement on the front page, because who visits the front page?).
> Thunderbird, on the other hand, starts in a predefined state.
> > If you gave the hardliner "free as in beer" users an option to configure
> > it away (without userChrome or about:config hacks) in order to retain
> > the probably very low number of users that cared, would you then agree?
> I'd probably shut up about it, if that's what you mean. But I wouldn't
> agree that it's a good idea. I'd like to think that we could do better
> than that to raise awareness of the fact that Thunderbird needs money.
But how, without being jarring?
> For instance, one often-suggested feature for Thunderbird is a "home
> tab" that would effectively replace the first 3pane as the primary tab.
> It would have an aggregate of all your accounts (and calendars?), and we
> could easily have a "Thunderbird news" widget that talks about things
> Thunderbird users might care about (e.g. new features, tips of the day,
> bug bashes, fundraising campaigns, etc).
SOrt of like a "Kiosk"? I am not sure if I would like this so much as I really find 
the 3pane essential - it is the first thing I expect when I open Thunderbird; I want 
to see my mails at first glance.
>   This gives people a reason to
> look at this section in the first place, and makes it useful beyond just
> being a plea for money. However, even then, I think it should be easy
> for any user to hide this message; if being made aware that Thunderbird
> needs money doesn't convince them to donate, nagging them sure won't help.
This is true. Buit that's exactly why I thought the maybe 10*30pixels "tucked away at 
the top" would be less obtrusive as they do not get into way of the workflow?

Of course it is also a matter of taste - I quite liked the orange Firefox button, and 
was sad to see it go again.

Microsoft made a terrible mistake with their main menus in Visual Studio 2012 by 
UPPERCASING them (probably some plan to do with Metro-isation); I actually think my 
suggestion was much less radical.
> That said, I think corporate support contracts would probably be a much
> more reliable source of money, since like it or not, most home users are
> going to be perfectly happy with webmail (which, we should remember, is
> free*). Corporations, however, are used to paying for things. Our
> primary competitor in this field would probably be Outlook, which is
> very much not-free. This model seems to have worked well with the
> various Linux distros that use it, at least in the sense that they're
> still operating and can afford to employ people.
we are on the same side here and a "corporate or subscribed" version would of course 
not need the donation menus. However coming up with a subscription model & 
implementation seems like a daunting task... even I am little afraid of the backlash. 
It would have to be 100% foolproof + user friendly.

> * Obviously that's because the user is the product being sold, but most
> people don't care about that. If they did, ad-supported sites wouldn't
> be the norm.
true. That's the one way of monetization I am really really scared of.

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