But Why?

Story: Linux Marketing Campaign Seeks $350k in 40 DaysTotal Replies: 40
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Apr 14, 2007
6:48 PM EDT
I really wasn't too sure about commenting. Last time I did that on Helios' blog he flamed the beejuzus outa me. :-)

But seriously - why? Why do this? I've read the site referenced, lots about exposure et al, but nothing as to what is hoped to be gained. We get a picture of a penguin on a race car? So what? What does that *actually* do for Linux and/or Free Software?

What do we want it to do? Do we have anyway of measuring any form of success or failure of the campaign? If not why not?

So we get exposure. Suppose 100 Million people now are familiar with a Penguin Logo. So what? Does that mean they know what Linux is? Or what it's about? Do they know where to go to get more information? How many are likely to even see one logo on a car festooned with logo's? That last is just me being cynical however. ;-)

At risk of sounding like a management wonk, what's the strategy here? What's the *GOAL*? Do we have the resources to even cope with 100 million people suddenly demanding Linux Distro's? And demanding help with their PC's and setup thereof? And if we don't what happens? Do they get even more turned off? Their first experience is a bad one? Ouch!

Has anyone approached a friendly marketing person to get their help with making this work? Yeah it's a big splashy event, but it's a once off. Is that a good spend of that sort of money? What's the ROI?????????????? Who in fact is the target market here? People who can afford big screen TV's but can't afford PC's? How many of those homes either have or even an interest in HAVING a PC?

Would blanket adverts in Windows Centric Trade magazines be a better spend? Get some pro-linux Ad's up on Windows Site's??? I don't know to be honest - that's why I so strongly urge talking with a marketing professional!!! Please even! :-)

At what point is success deemed achieved? With 2 converts? With 10? With 300? With 3 million? And again for emphasis. How will we *KNOW*?

Despite the tone, I'm really not trying to be negative here. Enthusiasm is great and indeed, everything. But I'm very concerned that one of two options is the most likely result. * Money is raised, logo is displayed, team is named (has anyone chased the trademark usage BTW???), and it amounts to no noticed impact - leaving sour taste et al. * Not enough money is raised and everything dies in a smelly heap of name calling that makes Theo deR look like an Angel.

Hey I wish this could be a stunning success, but I don't get the feel that anyone has really thought the entire campaign through. Marketing is not easy. And splashy failures can be very hard on any followups. For that matter. has anyone asked the spreadfirefox how successful or otherwise their adverts were? Yeah it was a big splash for the event, but did it actually generate a measured increase in firefox users? And if so, amongst what market segment? Why/Not?

By way of real life example. At work, a marketing advert was placed in a newspaper. End result? Completely unnoticeable as to how successful or otherwise it was. No blip up or down. Just nothing. It was estimated via segmentation that at most only 5 people would have benefited from and/or acted upon the advert. Was it a good spend of money? Not my call, but I have my own opinion. ;-)

Thoughts? - Steve

Apr 14, 2007
8:19 PM EDT
Steve -

Good questions except for one thing...


Marketing requires, umm...marketing. That means doing something.

If plastering Linux on a race car is not the best or most efficient way to market Linux, it's a whole lot better than nothing. Fret your little heart out. Better still...start an alternative marketing effort.

compete. Put the name out more places.


Worrying about whether people with the gumption and energy to try promoting Linux in a visible way are doing it in the way that would most please you is just plain dumb. If you really are a free software type, you will recognize the dynamic as being the old "Why do we need another distribution?" "Why do we need two deskstops?" "Wouldn't it be more efficient to shut down project X so we (ha -- never a project member making this argument, btw) can devote our attention to making project Y the best it can be?

This is the free software universe, man. If groups of people are excited about something, they do it. Cool beans all around.

If you really want to fret and dicker and do nothing, I suggest going over to the Debian mailing lists. You'll fit in well.

Apr 14, 2007
8:32 PM EDT
> Why do this? ... So we get exposure.

You just answered your own question.

> Do we have the resources to even cope with 100 million people suddenly demanding Linux Distro's?

Yes. Any given distro, perhaps not, but if the demand is spread among the various distro's, or even the major distro's, then yes.

> What's the *GOAL*?

The goal is undoubtedly to get more people aware than Linux exists. Whatever happens from there happens.

> At what point is success deemed achieved?

There is no success point. It's one more attempt to spread the word about Linux. If it succeeds, great. If not, we try again. We may never know if it succeeded or not. But doing nothing is not a viable option.

> And splashy failures can be very hard on any followups.

There is no failure. At this point your average computer user doesn't even know Linux exists. That's failure. Anything that spreads the word, even to one person, is a success.

> that's why I so strongly urge talking with a marketing professional!!!

No marketing professional will touch the type of ad campaigns required. There's no money for their upfront fees, and no way to measure whether they succeeded or not to determine add on fees. Like it or not, we have to do it ourselves.

> Was it a good spend of money?

That's really what your argument comes down to. And it's the wrong question. If people are willing to put up the money, then it's the right way to spend it. If they're not, it's not. We do what we can do, not what's the best thing to do. Especially since, in this case, there's not even any way to determine what the best thing to do is. The best ad campaign for Linux is whatever one you can do, because any ad campaign is better than no ad campaign. As someone once said, the only bad publicity is an obituary.

Now, that said, I haven't put up any money for the project yet, and I may not. Why? Because I'm saving that money for the possibility of a new Dell computer. I'm waiting to see if Dell comes through with preloaded Linux machines or not, and if they do and they're cost effective, I'm going to buy one. If they don't, I'll be building one from scratch, and the difference will be available for various purposes, one of which may be this project. We'll see how the timing works out.

Apr 14, 2007
9:05 PM EDT
>> that's why I so strongly urge talking with a marketing professional!!!

> No marketing professional will touch the type of ad campaigns required. There's no money for their upfront fees, and no way to measure whether they succeeded or not to determine add on fees. Like it or not, we have to do it ourselves.

Actually, Acceleration Marketing *is* a professional marketing company (http://www.accelerationmarketing.net/home.html). True, they're geared toward the motorsports industry, but they are professional marketing folks.

jdixon is correct that the goal is exposure. I think if the project gets the traction it needs, the campaign itself will be a very interesting story for the mainstream press. Part of the issue is that, if the project can actually sponsor a team, it will be "team linux" and we'll have the opportunity to craft the message for the audience. Do you have any idea how the mere recognition will help the local advocates? "yeah, that's right. That little penguin is the Linux mascot. Linux is a really cool operating system that is stable and secure. No, you don't have to worry about your computer shutting down because you wrote a program and Vista didn't recognize it. Yeah, you can still listen to your MP3's."

Just getting the exposure is the main point. The project still has to craft the message, and I'm sure they'd be glad to get your input on the message. Look, it's really simple. The community *can* do this. Mozilla did it with Firefox. They bought ads did t.v. (or multimedia, anyway) commercials. If they can, we can. I'm living proof that it takes will more than anything else to accomplish something. I started off as a guy trying to promote a book. Now I'm a journalist - and getting better. Did I know what I was doing when I took the EiC position last year - this is my anniversary month? No. I didn't. Yet I have managed to earn the trust and respect of a great many readers. Ken, et. al., can do this. I'm confident. All they need is a bit of trust and participation.

[disclosure - I'm one of the auditors.]

Apr 15, 2007
1:18 AM EDT
Ok. DC, you part answered the questions. Dino and JD... urrm didn't. :-)

Exposure. Why? No really *WHY*. So people know about linux? Why? Every answer I've seen can immediately be followed with *WHY*. You have to answer the questions such that they get to a point where it's bleedin obvious.

Why drink Coke? Cause it's cool and you get the babes. Dur. No more whys necessary. ;-) Why use Linux - must be able to reduce to the same *short* message. If you can't you will fail, and 350K is a lot of failure.

So. The goal I'm seeing is now to help local advocates. How are you planning on giving local advocates the tools they need to advocate? Who are they advocating to? You *MUST* be able to answer that one in *very* fine detail. Everyone won't work. eg helios with his superb efforts helping the elderly in homes is what I'm talking about. target market: Elderly people in homes, have access to PoS PC's running windows, no other support, want to learn, keen to learn new things. Boom Boom. That's the detail you need. More if you can get away with it.

Why use a race car to help advocates? is there a better way of getting help to them? This is what I'm driving at. Exposure for exposure's sake is only good if you have a continual stream of money. As a once off? Not so good. DC Acc marketing from the descriptions I've seen are not what I'm referring to. I'm talking about a strategising marketing company/persons. People/Persons who will help you get your brand somewhere. Somewhere you want to go and somewhere you want to be. So where is that place? World Domination? Sure if so, but spell it out up front. If not world domination then what? Would the world be a better place with no other operating systems other than linux? No xBSd's, no solaris, no minux, no plan9 etc etc etc???? So if not, which half way house.

I won't try and hit all points raised by JD and Dino, would be unfriendly. :-) JD You try and argue that it's all down to money and people willing to spend it. Of course it is. You are oh so wrong on that one. Say you spend 350,000 to convert one person via a car race. I spend 2000 and convert 5. Who has the better success? Who is more likely to get a repeat? etc etc etc. There's no right or wrong way - it's like coding - lots of *better* ways. And if the car fails to finish? Oh what the FUD miesters have fun with that..... Are we ready for the possible bad publicity?

Dino, at no risk of being rude (sorry - really :-/ ), you do not understand marketing at all. Please please please go and do some reading. Exposure is not about exposure. Exposure is not a goal, it is a stepping stone on the path TO a goal. Linux was successful without "exposure marketing". I'm not a marketing expert by any stretch but am heavily exposed into their world. There are marketing people who are very FOSS friendly - approach them right and they may do the work for free, or at least be pre-pared to mentor someone else who's keen. Nothing to lose by asking.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to stop the race (bad pun intended), I'm trying to help ya'll who are in this thing to really think about what you're doing and why. Raising the money is but a small part of the entire effort. You *need* to see that. This is very much intended to be positive criticisim, not negative. Never negative- that's pointless and wrong.

As for joining the Debian lists? heh. No. I'll pass thanks. I have two projects that I personally lead that are already in Debian, I'll leave the Debain list membership to the package maintainer for those projects. His problem. Not mine. :-)

I'll just get on back to writing code and docco and articles for those projects and advocating my own wayand not join Debian lists. Corrupting the minds of junior sysadmins and coders with the shiny apple of freedom. To poorly mix metaphors. :-) I know my resources and what I can get. I know my target market, and I'm spending my limited resources corrupting that layer to empower them to corrupt the next layer out. It's not big. It's not splashy, and it's definitely on the cheap, bar time, but it works. As for world domination with my projects? Never happen. Many reasons, but mainly I'm aiming for the 90+% who the current incumbents choose to ignore. People who can't/won't spend the money or even understand why they need such a solution. I'm after the Long Tail. ;-)

But you do raise the problem re target marketing a particular segment. I'm a "friendly" but you'd choose to exclude me from your marketing efforts. No problem here. So who *else* will you exclude? /rehtorical. Do this often enough and you then appreciate who you want to actually target. Ta Dah! Marketing 101. :-)

As for friendly Marketing types? Doc Searls of linux journal fame is widely regarded across the marketing sphere as a whole, as being a Marketing legend. Tried asking him?


- Steve

Apr 15, 2007
3:52 AM EDT
>Dino, at no risk of being rude (sorry - really :-/ ), you do not understand marketing at all. Please please please go and do some reading. Exposure is not about exposure. Exposure is not a goal

Being rude to me? Not sure it can be done, real sure that you shouldn't worry about it.

Exposure not a goal? Well, you say you're part of Debian, and maybe that explains why it takes so long for them to get things done!

Just kidding, but let's let Debian help to clarify this question.

Debian's goal is to create a great community-based Linux distribution using free software. Within goal are scads, maybe even kilo-scads of intermediate goals that help to achieve the main goal. I certainly hope you set personal goals of updating packages and incorporating fixes in a timely manner.

With regard to Vroom-Vroom cars, exposure is not the ultimate goal of this project. Millions of happy free software users is the goal. Exposure is a means, race decals a milestone (or mini-goal).

WRT to marketing savvy -

I may be just a poor dumb cluck, but I would swear that maybe 2 or 3 people out there -- maybe even a couple of corporate execs -- have wondered how on earth a bunch of volunteers could possibly deliver on the promise of great software. Mind you, I don't know how any supposedly intelligent person could say something like that in light of efforts like Habitat for Humanity, Doctors wihout Borders, and on and on and on, but they do.

Here's the thing: news people being news people, they really like to find a hook. Those Linux decals are one thing,, but...the story of volunteers getting together and pitching in to do something you would never expect...now that's interesting.

You know what else? It's a story about how a bunch of people with an interest but no corporate umbrella are able to do amazing things -- like great software.

But then, what do I know about marketing?


Apr 15, 2007
5:16 AM EDT
> "Exposure. Why? No really *WHY*. So people know about linux? Why?" < I would think this would be obvious. If no one knows about Linux, good luck to all of us. Just KNOWING about Linux is the first step towards adopting Linux and there are far too many people who still don't know about it.

> "I'm talking about a strategising marketing company/persons. People/Persons who will help you get your brand somewhere. Somewhere you want to go and somewhere you want to be." < And you think $350K is a lot? Wait til we begin talking to some of these brand agencies about this!

Tux500.com has some new data on it about the target audience. Despite those who erroneously believe that the Indianapolis 500 is watched mainly by beer drinking rednecks, the audience is far more sophisticated than that and indexes high towards early technology adapters and those willing to try a new brand or product as a result of sponsor participation (the first step in building brand loyalty). Sounds like a logical target audience to me.

Also, think of the tens of thousands of corporate types in all those VIP suites. Don't you think it makes sense to get the Linux name in front of them, if for no other reason than they at least begin to ask the question, "What is Linux?"

The fact that someone like Indy500.com actually wrote a story on Linux and the community behind it and made it the feature story on their home page is the first indication that dinotrac is absolutely right. This is a story that will interest the mainstream media and help bring Linux out of the shadows.

Companies have never been able to make a direct correlation between advertising dollars spent and sales lift since there are so many variables at work simultaneously. But does that mean that companies have quit advertising? And why would such a progressive and successful brand marketer like Target spend so much money year after year in Indy Car racing if it wasn't working for them?

If you're concerned about a sustained budget to leverage a high visibility awareness program like this on an ongoing basis, then it's up to us to once again step up. Until someone re-engineers the entire Linux marketing model (and who's going to do that?), then we're stuck with what we have and have to make the best of it.

Apr 15, 2007
5:20 AM EDT
> Exposure is not a goal, it is a stepping stone on the path TO a goal.

That's where you're wrong. Linux, to me at least, is about choice, an alternative for someone to use if they want. If others don't know it exists, they don't have that choice. Exposure is necessary for Linux to be a choice.

As for 100 million people downloading Linux, let's cross that bridge when we get there. The existing resources should scale nicely, given the numbers we are really talking about.

Apr 15, 2007
9:03 AM EDT
Good approach or not, in favor or not, it really doesn't matter at this point. The idea of promoting Linux has been long over due and now has started. It is in 1st gear. What is important is to press the gas pedal to get to 2nd gear. ( I am NOT a race car fan, Yet!).

This shouldn't be the first and only effort and it wont be. What is important is to take all the great ideas and feedback in consideration to guide us through the future efforts of prompting FOSS & Linux. We all agree on that don't we!!

The important thing now is to keep moving full speed to achieve the goal of making Linux a household name by intriguing millions of people.

Even if the success of this effort doesn't fulfill our least expectations, like others have said, it is not a major loss, pick up and try again with a different approach or different place.

Let us be realistic and consider the couple of Dollars each donated/ or will donate to be missing loose change. Not a big deal after all.


Apr 15, 2007
9:19 AM EDT
Someone is missing something here. Exposure is a goal - not the ultimate goal, but a goal nonetheless. Exposure opens the door to more people learning they have choices - something many people still do not know. Once people know they have choices, they have the opportunity to explore those choices, and take advantage of them.

It takes time to craft the final message as well. The project team needs community input on what the message should be. They are providing the leadership - stepping out and getting things going, but the community needs to jump in and help out by: offering input on crafting the message contributing to the fund helping spread the word about the project to LUGs and various distro communities, so they will be aware and be able to take advantage of the campaign how's about someone stepping up to be the liason between the marketing project and the LUGs?

Ken and Bob are two guys. Sure, other people are doing things too. But they need the community's help. If we all stand around saying the project will fail, it very well might. If, on the other hand, we - as a community - jump in and put our money, brains and muscle into this project, it will succeed.

Again, if the Mozilla and OpenOffice.org projects can launch successful marketing campaigns, so can our community. It can be done.

Apr 15, 2007
9:34 AM EDT
Quoting:how's about someone stepping up to be the liason between the marketing project and the LUGs?

This was done yesterday. The following msg went out to all LUGs in the US. Just few addresses didn't exist.

NOTE: Helios is aware of this already. I suggest any one else is planning to do something similar to make sure to coordinate it with Helios to avoid duplication or do any harm.

Quoting: Subject : Help Linux Flourish

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their Linux Linux has been making tremendous progress and has become superior to Windows. Although it is steadily flourishing, it is still not wide spread like it should have and deserves.

A group of guys have started organizing a marketing project to help Linux proliferate. You can find more information at the following site.

http://tux500.com/ http://www.tux500.com/goal.php http://lobby4linux.com/ http://linux-blog.org/index.php?/archives/198-Indy-500-and-Linux-Not-Newsworthy.html http://LXer.com This is the same approach that Mozilla Foundation used to publicize and advance FireFox and has proven to be effective and worth the effort in increasing its rate of adoption. If you feel this is not what you agree with, please do contribute whatever you can and make your suggestion how the fund to be used. There will be other programs that were (Linux bumper-sticker) or can be suggested to be initiated in the future. It is very important to grab this opportunity to participate to advance Linux usage. I apologize for having to send this message in mass e-mail, but we just wanted to make sure that all the LUGs are aware of this project and we really need the help of everyone. It is also important not to procrastinate since this is very novel effort and keep in mind that few Dollars only will make a big difference. Please, feel free to pass this information on and forward this message to all your LUG members so everyone could participate and help make this project very successful.

Sincerely, -Abe

Apr 15, 2007
9:46 AM EDT
> This was done yesterday. The following msg went out to all LUGs in the US.

This is excellent, but I meant as a long-term liason. Someone who could help the LUGs take advantage of the marketing campaign. Educate the LUG members how the campaign helps them and possibly even work with the LUGs to develop hand-outs and such that they can use locally. That was the concern about helping the local advocates, and definitely needs to be addressed. I hope that is what will happen.

Apr 15, 2007
11:20 AM EDT
Quoting:This is excellent, but I meant as a long-term liaison. Someone who could help the LUGs take advantage of the marketing campaign.

This was an urgent first step. I am sure when the LUG members visit Tux500.com they will get all the information they need for now. I might follow up with them again in a week just to remind them to make sure they participate.

I am not sure a liaison is needed at this point but we will see how Helios and the others want to proceed with this. I did mention to Helios to let me know, and I will do the same, if other things need to be coordinated with the LUGs.


Apr 15, 2007
2:31 PM EDT
I *was* trying to stay out of this because my bias is known throughout the kingdom and my emotions are rarely kept in check during these "discussions" so I am going to put it to you in the simplest of terms I know how.

Amanda Brooke Starks

A brilliant 14 year old girl who was formulating complex grep commands and writing her own bin/bash scripts at the age of 12. I know, I said I know for a fact that Microsoft has had multiple meetings with one goal in mind. The destruction of Linux. Not the marginalization, not the dismissal of...the destruction of Linux. Now, My child is not going to be without choice in her computing life. Linux will offer her a chance to make that choice. Microsoft will not. Should you doubt, as so many like you have...to the point of scoffing; that Microsoft plans exactly our destruction, I will point you here. http://lobby4linux.com/documents/MicrosoftWar.pdf

In fact, If you go to http://www.lobby4linux.com and read the lead story, the entire thing is explained to you. It would seem to be that there is about 5 percent of this community that "gets it" about marketing, and most don't. Here it is in plain terms. The more users we have, the more difficult MS will find it to hurt us. Here is the sad part.

One dollar and thirty four cents. If one percent of the linux user base would donate one dollar and thirty four cents to this project. We will be assured of a sponsored car when the green flag drops. But many like you are going to make excuses, cry about personal politics and pout because you don't agree with some friggin' minutiae within the plan. En mass, you will allow this project to fail for any one or all of the above excuses. That is so very sad. It's all I can do to bite my tongue in communicating my feelings toward the afformentioned "community members." Now, I want to hear your arguments. And Steve...I am waiting.


Apr 15, 2007
2:54 PM EDT
@ dino.

Grin. No I never said I was part of Debian. You choose that meaning. I'm not part of Debian. Never have been. Unlikely to ever be. Two of my projects are packaged by a Debian maintainer and THEY are in Debian.

Some of the other comments are playing to semantics which is not polite. :-) Exposure is not a goal. Never is, never will be. Even celebrities whose only redeeming feature seems to be exposure, do not have exposure as a goal in and of itself. It is a step to achieve something else. eg: Money and Fame.

Trying to call an intermediate step a goal is semantic word games. You may do that to win an argument, but it won't help achieve a real lasting solution. And if anything can make achieving a great solution harder as you are in effect lying to yourself.

So what is something else in our context?

The answers are starting to be teased out in this thread, but it's still very, IMHO, vague. And a good message needs to be short.

Choose Linux because ???? 2-3 words. No more. :-)

List your reasons. All of 'em. Now prioritise them. Be brutal - it's not always easy to do this without being brutal. Be honest. I choose FOSS for one primary reason. I have a family to feed. Boom Boom. That's my #1 reason. There is no need to put a "why?" after that reason because it's self evident. Part of the human condition as you will.

You need to be able to reduce your goal to such a simple target. And *THEN* figure out how exposure will get you there. Choosing exposure 1st is putting the cart before the horse. Why do you want exposure? The reasons above are self evident only to those already in the FOSS eco system. They are NOT obvious to anyone outside it. And you aren't marketing to FOSS people.

If you are marketing to the converted then IMNSHO you are wasting time and money.

A scatter gun approach to marketing will fail. You may get the odd success, but the long term strategy will not work. If only because you don't have one. :-)

Understand what you what to do, and then work out how you plan to get there. And THEN *do it*!

Please spare me the attempts at guilt trips eh? That's rude. Really rude. Not to mention patronising. I run 3 open source projects. On my own. With no financial assistance from anyone. Why should you not donate a few dollars to me instead? Or as well as? Is my cause not as worthy as yours? I give up hundreds of hours that I could be spending with my family and you want still more? How about I give up my family to meet your needs? Sell them into slavery? Stop feeding them?

Not nice is it. :-) I'm not asking for donations, mind. Being rhetorical. And somewhat hyperbolic. ;-) But seriously, I hope you appreciate the subtext message in there.

Guilt trip marketing can work, but be prepared for a severe backlash if you miss. You can really alienate and irritate those who would otherwise be predisposed to help.

Keep in mind that I am helping. In my own way and with what resources I can spare. I'm trying to help by opening minds to ideas and concepts that people generally aren't all that familiar with. Questions to ask yourself. And those around you. As mentioned above, I can see that some of my suggestions are bearing fruit. Fantastic! I wouldn't spend so much time typing these messages if I wasn't trying to help. :-)

Dino you make a great point about the hook. But failed to finish it. *why*? I feel like a broken record. :-) So some people get together and raise a heap of money. So what? Red Cross does that all the time. What makes this instance so special? *WHY*? That they can is great, but what's the message you want them to attach as part of that story. Bunch of FOSS hippies on recreational drugs? People who don't believe in bathing regularly? Socialists? ;-) What's the because? Answer that and you're well on the way. :-)

Cheers! - Steve


Apr 15, 2007
3:02 PM EDT
>Please spare me the attempts at guilt trips eh?

Having no idea what you're talking about, I have no ability to spare you anything.

Apr 15, 2007
3:17 PM EDT
The old addage of "lead, follow, or get out of the way" has really been rattling through my head over all this.

Lots of people have had lots of chances to lead ... they didnt. ~h and crew picked up that ball. Now for follow, except for the "not as geek as me" crowd who seems bent on shooting the idea down, I know more than a few people who think this idea is great.

That leaves the last, since alot of you nay sayers didnt lead and wont follow, take the last bit of advice and get out of the way. Be constructive or begone.

Its not your money they are spending and to date the only people that have tossed up an even semi valid (to some) argument against are the flippin tree huggers.

Is my opinion polite or correct ... nope. Deal with it. I and others will follow helios' and team's lead on this. Everyone else, get out of the way. Unless your Linus in which case you are the only person who can legally say "No you cant" to this as you hold the trademarks in question.

Apr 15, 2007
4:07 PM EDT
Quoting:If Mozilla can do it, so can we

Ok, here's a very, very interesting story. To be honest, I don't know anything about marketing; neither do I watch the Indy500, nor do I know anyone (in my country) who does, but still, I'm convinced of the use of this campaign. So, please pay attention, since this would be interesting to the non-believers.

After the New-York Firefox-campaign, someone in my country, The Netherlands (home of Arie Luyendijk, who holds the record of the fastest average speed at the Indy; 185mph, Wikipedia told me. Never saw him on TV, since nobody in my country cares), thought we should try it too. Therefore, he made a site called steunfirefox.nl, which means supportfirefox with the Dutch TLD .nl. The idea was to let thousands of Firefox users donate money, to print an add in our most-read newspaper. The bad news was, they didn't donate. Only 200 people eventually did. I was one of those 200. I was very sad to see this campaign 'fail'. Moreover, other people said the people who donated were 'crazy'.

Nonetheless, some 'new'-media started paying attention. People were discussing it. Why the heck would somebody give money to promote Firefox? It was gratis, not? Why the heck weren't developers (and translators) paid? Why the heck did people start this campaign? What was the intention of it? Even between the people who donated, arguments arose. The plan to advertise in the Netherlands most sold paper was dropped, and indeed a free newspaper - spread for free in the trains and buses (applicable for free software, not?)- was chosen. Only 4000 euro's were collected from about 600-thousand Dutch Firefox users.

The biggest Dutch IT site - called Tweakers.net (8000 unique visitors on a Sunday), finally picked up on the story. First, they told about the initiative. Then, they told it failed. Then, they told we moved to a 'free' newspaper. Then, when the ad was finally placed with a big discount (!), they had a fourth article. Four times, Firefox was at the biggest ICT site. Four times, attention went to Firefox, and why some silly people donated money for it and others didn't. Four times, people debated (about content) about Firefox. 40-thousand people (the tech-savvy, mostly IE users) read the final Tweakers announcement the add was placed.

Moreover, the traditional media, who never tell anything about computers, carried the news too. The most important Dutch national radio-news channel (applicably called Radio 1) had an interview with the chap who started this campaign, he appeared at internet radio, on national television, and our most serious newspaper even wrote an article about it. They also discussed Firefox itself. All those "old media" never report on anything computer related (except for computers taking away jobs), and now, because of a 'failed' voluntary-driven money collecting campaign, they did. It was probably because all of the attention about the failed attempt, the paper Spits! (meaning 'rush hour') were feeling pity for us and offered the add almost for free. Finally, some money remained to print 200 Firefox-posters, which were hung at the homes of 'random' voluntary Firefox-users.

The add itself was rather plain. If you don't mind downloading 2MB, it's here (look for HLV Kwint at about the middle of the donors block in the footer, that's me!): http://www.persberichten.com/firefox/download/FirefoxAd_v5.1...

It says: "Rediscover the web with the alternative internet browser" The four headings say: Safer, More Complete, Easier and Smarter. 1.6 million Dutch people read those free newspapers per day - by the way.

Now, what's interesting for us and this Linux/Indy campaign? A few things: -It doesn't matter if you like Indy 500 or not (frankly, I don't), even if we raise enough money for a small add, media around the whole world will give attention to Linux. The people who started the campaign will be asked why. Serious papers might write about Linux, and radio/TV stations might report about the efforts. -Not only Indy500 watchers are reached, also tech-savvy people and probably IT-decision makers who think Linux is for amateurs will read about the efforts. -People will be discussing Linux. -The public will blame Red Hat, IBM and Novell for waiting for the (poor) public to do the marketing, and watching while others do the dirty job they should do (I hope so!), -Even if the campaign 'seems' to have failed, chances are it didn't.

So, as someone who doesn't watch Indy500, I'm going to donate €1.50 Euros anyway ( €1.50 > $1.38 ). That's not much for something which still reaches a lot if it fails, is it? Once I'm working with Ebay anyway, some more euros go to the literally poor devels of SabayonLinux; the best Vista-replacement IMHO.

Apr 16, 2007
6:25 AM EDT
> JD You try and argue that it's all down to money and people willing to spend it. Of course it is. You are oh so wrong on that one. Say you spend 350,000 to convert one person via a car race. I spend 2000 and convert 5. Who has the better success?

OK, where's your $2000 advertising campaign? When you have one, get back to us.

> And if the car fails to finish? Oh what the FUD miesters have fun with that..... Are we ready for the possible bad publicity?

I repeat. The only bad publicity is an obituary.

> Exposure is not a goal,

When you don't have exposure, it becomes a goal. You argue that there are further steps beyond exposure. Yes, there are, but we're ready to tackle those, and have been for some time. Right now it's exposure Linux needs.

There is no downside to this project. Failure only leaves us where we are right now. Success opens new doorways.

Apr 16, 2007
7:07 AM EDT
Look, if people can't or won't participate, they should at least encourage and trust the project team members to work through the issues. I don't know if helios has ever written so much as a backup script, but he's very much a hacker nonetheless - and I'm sure he'll hack marketing quite well. Actually, I'm a bit jealous. I have always wanted to start a Linux marketing campaign and wasn't sure the best way to do it. So, I'm super thrilled that helios and co. got something started.

Even if the campaign doesn't reach the level of success we want it to this time, we can build on what success we do have.

stevem: I think it's great to ask questions from a constructively critical viewpoint. Maybe the team doesn't have all the information you think necessary right now. Maybe they're still working out some of the details. Fine. Give them a chance. encourage them. Maybe later they'll be able to answer your question more fully. Sometimes you just have to have faith.

If helios went from being a loud-mouthed Linux advocate (no offense) to rolling out Linux to 450+ desktops overnight, I'm sure he can manage to help launch a marketing campaign working with experienced marketing professionals - especially since he has managed to help so many people get started with GNU/Linux. I'm pretty sure he understands more than many of us do what the message needs to be.

Apr 16, 2007
1:06 PM EDT
As far as I'm concerned the nay sayers are irrelevant, all they have to do is get out of my friggin way, I've made my contribution, Helios should get the Western Union money order for $50 shortly, If I had more to give I'd give it gladly. Lets make Linux visible to the rest of the punters.

Question: has anyone contacted LUGs outside the US? if not I'll try to get in contact with Austalian LUGs


Apr 16, 2007
1:11 PM EDT
It might be good to put it on LugRadio - aren't they based in AU?

Apr 16, 2007
2:03 PM EDT
I thought they were a pom thing, and based in the UK

Apr 16, 2007
2:36 PM EDT
Quoting:Question: has anyone contacted LUGs outside the US? if not I'll try to get in contact with Austalian LUGs

I sent an e-mail to all US LUGs only (see e-mail above in prev post). I didn't have time to get all the LUGs outside the US. I also didn't think there would be enough interest since Indy-500 is a US event.

I am probably wrong and it would be good idea to send an e-mail anyways since it costs nothing. I got the e-mail addresses from this site. Let me know if I can help in any way.



Apr 16, 2007
2:51 PM EDT

I suggest sending e-mail to Helios to keep him informed. I will send an e-mail to the LUGs in the Middle East by tomorrow. Could someone take care of Europe?

Apr 17, 2007
4:01 AM EDT
OK, I've been in contact with the president of Linux Australia, and he put me onto the main mailing list for the Australian Linux Groups, linux-aus. So I've hopefully contacted the main movers and shakers of the Australian LUGs.

This was a first for me, as I've never had any contact with any Linux User Group before.

Apr 17, 2007
6:19 AM EDT
Wow. We've been trying to attract women to CharLUG for some time. We just can't find the women Linux geeks around here.

Apr 17, 2007
7:21 AM EDT
Quoting:and he put me onto the main mailing list for the Australian Linux Groups, linux-aus.

This is good because I had trouble with some LUGs rejecting my e-mail since I was on their mailing list or it filtered out my e-mail as spam.

DC, this is where having a liaison could be beneficial to add on all the LUGs mailing lists so our e-mails don't get rejected.

Apr 17, 2007
1:00 PM EDT
Quoting:Wow. We've been trying to attract women to CharLUG for some time. We just can't find the women Linux geeks around here.

I think women, in general, see LUGs as way too geeky. That's pretty much why I've never gotten involved.

Apr 17, 2007
1:36 PM EDT
tracyanne: That's an interesting thought.

Apr 17, 2007
1:49 PM EDT
> I think women, in general, see LUGs as way too geeky

So, what would make Don's LUG cool and trendy tracyanne?

Apr 17, 2007
2:08 PM EDT
Quoting:So, what would make Don's LUG cool and trendy tracyanne?

First off I know nothing about Don's LUG, so I can only speak from my personal prejudices of LUGs in general. Perhaps better marketing. Change the perception, if it's wrong. Don't wait for people to come to you, make yourselves part of the community, and not be seen as some basement organisation filled with pimply tech geeks, have a professional but cool image (look at Shuttleworth's image, it doesn't have to be stuffy and suited).

I'm probably quite technical minded - I have a background in Electronics (I've done Audio Engineering), I understand the principles behind most electronics devices, at least sufficiently to diagnose what part of a device like a TV or radio or computer may have failed, I'm a programmer, I've done basic network administration, so to some peoples minds I'm pretty geeky, but I don't see myself that way, and the image I have of LUGs doesn't sit all that well with how I see myself.

I think in many ways the problem I see with LUGs is the same one I see with Linux, it's perceived as being something ordinary people can't do.

Apr 17, 2007
2:20 PM EDT
So tracyanne, a few more photo sessions with Don and the pig should do it?

/me ducks under the table :D

Apr 17, 2007
2:33 PM EDT
Hmm, from engineering to pig rasslin'. That does cover a wide demographic!

Apr 17, 2007
3:06 PM EDT
> Perhaps better marketing.

That might be all we really need. Honestly, it's as if no on in Charlotte knows we exist. But all of us know there are Linux folks in Charlotte. Truth is, Charlotte is a funny place for social networking. But we probably do need to do some marketing, 'cause we sure haven't done much of that.

Apr 17, 2007
3:17 PM EDT
> Charlotte is a funny place for social networking

Most places are, Charlotte is no exception. I think this is a problem, or at least an issue, for all LUG's. And seriously, I haven't a clue as how to fix it.

Apr 18, 2007
3:15 AM EDT
Quoting:So tracyanne, a few more photo sessions with Don and the pig should do it?

I'm not exactly the Chickie Babe type, people might confuse me and the pig.

Apr 18, 2007
6:32 AM EDT
> I'm not exactly the Chickie Babe type

Lol, that's not important, nor was I implying that.

That has nothing to do with establishing Don's link with the common folk. The reference was to the (in)famous picture of Don, NoDough, and the (plaster) pig outside the barbacue joint. Sorry, that may have been before you started posting here. We bring it up every time we want to razz him a bit. http://lxer.com/pub/files/dcparris/don_nodough-060729.jpg

/me sees Don slapping his forehead and moaning "oh no, not again!".

Apr 18, 2007
6:50 AM EDT
tracyanne, what you have to realize is that all these wonderful LXers either idolize or are jealous of my phenomenal legs. No, they're not insured by Lloyd's - not yet, anyway.

It goes back to when NoDough and I tried to get a bunch of LXers together at a barbeque restaurant down the road from my house. He brought his family down and we ate heartily. NoDough is definitely good people. His wife took the picture. That event kind of comes in handy, though, in the midst of accusations from the likes of P.P.

Apr 18, 2007
7:08 AM EDT
>phenomenal legs.

Well, I think we can all agree on phenomenal.

Just don't ask for details on the phenomenon.

Apr 18, 2007
7:55 AM EDT

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