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Opera vs. Firefox as brands

Via Opera Watch: Lawrence Eng compares the marketing and branding of Opera and Firefox and is unimpressed with Opera's image-building and the reasons Opera Software offers for users to pay for the software.

Surf ad-free': Essentially, this is like saying, "you are a hostage to our ads unless you pay up".
'Free support': Just call it premium support. By paying, it's obviously not free.
'USD 15 upgrade': Essentially, "Pay now so you can pay less later"

I do not find these reasons convincing, and they did not really play a big factor in my decision to buy Opera....

Opera fans typically explain that they paid because Opera is simply a better product. I happen to agree with them, but it's a highly debatable point, and one that is not compelling to internet users not used to paying for a web browser, and who have a free alternative (Firefox) that is possibly as good or better than Opera, and seems to be getting better all the time. Instead of selling Opera as a "better product", I think it needs to be sold as a "different kind of product", designed by a "different kind of company".

Even die-hard Firefox supporters tend to agree that many of Firefox's most popular features were invented or popularized by Opera (i.e. tabbed browsing and mouse gestures). Although Firefox advocates tend to underplay the importance of it, Opera can make a strong claim that it's the most innovative force in web browser development today.

I agree, and that's a large part of the reason why I pay for the browser (as well as installing beta versions: I see it as a downpayment on the cool features they'll come up with in the next version.

Technology enthusiasts and browser geeks: read the whole thing. Mr. Eng is not a marketing professional, and it shows: he has written a readable, common-sense piece that doesn't insult the reader's intelligence.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 10, 2005 10:21 PM.

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