This is a first in a series of blog posts that will try to articulate some background about add-ons in order to explore potential product directions for the Mozilla add-ons site (AMO).
First some facts and figures to help set the context and scale for Firefox add-ons.
- There are more than 180 million active monthly Firefox users (more than 60 million daily)
- There have been more than 800 million add-on downloads since the inception of AMO
- There are about 150 million active daily add-ons (Each add-on downloaded from AMO pings once a day)
- AMO hosts about 5600 add-ons and 800 themes
- We believe that there is a sizable number of add-ons not hosted on AMO (more than 1000?)
- The AMO site has about 4-5 million page views and more than 750,000 user sessions daily
- Every day 10-20 blog/news articles are published reviewing or mentioning some Firefox add-ons
Basically, there is a TON of user and developer activity here.
Why are add-ons important?
- They are core to the Mozilla’s mission to offer “choice & innovation”
- Customization is a key differentiator for Firefox. Huge momentum versus Internet Explorer, Safari (no official site), and Opera
- Add-ons have become a platform for innovation and experimentation and it’s relatively easy to get started
- Many startups have made their bet with the Firefox user base as the entry point
- Major web properties invest in building & distributing add-ons
- We believe that Firefox users who have installed add-ons tend to be more loyal
AMO’s Core Principles
Given the above, the AMO site’s function is to present end users with add-ons, keep them up to date and support the developers who publish these add-ons. The AMO development team focuses its efforts around four main guiding principles:
- Help users find and discover add‑ons in their local language
- Ensure the highest quality for what gets published
- Create a satisfied ecosystem of add-on developers, editors and translators
- Create the most comprehensive add-ons directory on the web
In my next posts, we’ll explore the various constituents (End Users, Developers, Translators & AMO Editors) that make up the add-ons ecosystem and their unique needs.
(Note: we should recognize that even though the AMO site only supports official Mozilla products: Firefox, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey and Sunbird. To look at the entire ecosystem, we need to examine the many XUL-based applications and their support for add-ons. Many applications have their own dedicated add-on site such as the ones for Flock, Songbird, eMusic, and Komodo.)