Colbert Bump – Firefox 3 Proves its Existence

Many of us at Mozilla and within the Mozilla community were excited when Stephen Colbert gave Firefox 3 his “Colbert Bump” on the day of Firefox 3’s launch (a big thanks to Jonathan Zittrain).  You can watch the video here.

Download Day was a wild success, and we were happy to share some thanks and credit with Stephen.  However, a few questions naturally arose, e.g., what was the direct impact of the Colbert Bump? and could the effect be precisely measured?

Here’s what we did:  we looked at downloads of Firefox 3 by users within the U.S. – and then we drilled down to a minute-by-minute view to see what, if anything, could be detected.  At minute 23 of the broadcast, Colbert said, “Firefox 3 just got the Colbert Bump.”  What happened next?

We saw a big spike in downloads exactly one and two minutes later:

Apparently we’re not the first to find scientific evidence proving the Bump’s effect.  If you’re interested in that previous study by James Fowler of the University of California at San Diego, you can read the complete version here.

37 responses

  1. Havvy wrote on :


  2. BryanG. wrote on :

    Awesome. Colbert rocks

  3. Sebhelyesfarku wrote on :

    It just shows how brainwashed are the Americans. “As seen on TV” LOL

  4. Jeni wrote on :

    That’s very intresting. Now if only he could give Linux a bump, that would be swell.

  5. Mackie Drew wrote on :

    Awesome! This combines the worlds two greatest achievements Steven Colbert and Firefox.

  6. Chelsea wrote on :

    I hope someone is forwarding that graph to someone at his show. You know he loves evidence of his power.

  7. Taiwan Brown wrote on :

    wow, didnt he bump wikipedia when he was editing it? lol

  8. Aleks wrote on :

    Didn’t seem to affect it too much. However, the results are noticeable.

  9. David wrote on :

    Awesome post!

  10. Craig Ritchie wrote on :

    Marketers are always trying to figure out how to get on Oprah. It seems the Report has real bump…

  11. Firefoxuser wrote on :

    Sebhelyesfarku: How the heck do you manage to drag the Americans into a topic about internet browsers??

  12. Faraz wrote on :

    now that’s the truthiness right there.

  13. Vadim P. wrote on :

    @jeni: Hi again. Trolling with your website? This isn’t the first time you’ve promoted your informational website 🙂

  14. Mark Kuznicki wrote on :

    I think this shows that people in the Colbert demo are watching TV while surfing on their laptops, which has huge implications.

  15. Else wrote on :

    Can you break it down by platform, too? Is the bump predominantly windows users, or did it dramatically change the number of linux downloads also?

  16. Bill X. Cohen wrote on :

    The truthiness of this is high because its written on the internets.

  17. liphoto wrote on :

    the Colbert show reminded me I had to download/update firefox.

  18. TheWalruss wrote on :

    The graph seems to show 500 users per minute for two minutes, plus let’s say 500 users for the reruns. That’s 1500 users. I wonder how many were already planning on downloading Firefox3, and how many were convinced by Colbert? At any rate, the fact that the bump’s so clearly visible is really cool!

  19. focher wrote on :

    My gut told me this was going to happen.

  20. pvarga99 wrote on :

    … and one more time his genius is recognised. colbert is the man, soon the legend, and the myth. the colbert bump is real.

  21. Peter wrote on :

    Then Would you say that the dip of about the same duration and magnitude came at the beginning of his show happened because people were tuning into it? Come on stop reading to much into things and start fixing firefox. FF3.0 has had over a million crashes in the last three weeks. I’ve stopped using it.

  22. Danny wrote on :

    Peter, you are an idiot. I haven’t got a single crash

  23. Sir Jebbington wrote on :

    “Didn’t seem to affect it too much.”
    Are you serious? It brought it to its highest point.

  24. Michael Leung wrote on :

    i like jon stewart better.

  25. James wrote on :

    Firefox hasn’t caused me or my wife any grief. Must be your inability to run good software. Better check out your system before throwing any stones. LOL

  26. Hubbers wrote on :

    Am impressed that this is the first scientific evidence of the effect.

  27. Steven Y. wrote on :

    I wonder who was on TV during the initial big dips of the graph. That ought to make him/her famous by the same reasoning…

  28. Max wrote on :

    Wow! I didn’t think this could be done!

  29. pxp wrote on :

    whoa! you mean when a product is mentioned on tv more people might become aware of it?

    someone should tell this to the superbowl or something. i bet they could charge like, tens of dollars for people to talk about products during the game. seriously. 10’s of dollars.

    who knows? its so crazy it just might work!

  30. loligoth wrote on :

    > Sebhelyesfarku: How the heck do you manage to drag the Americans into a topic about internet browsers??

    Firefoxuser : because this topic “looked at downloads of Firefox 3 by users within the U.S.”, ie. Americans?

    Please go read the topic before replying.

  31. Vylum wrote on :

    WTF is Colbert? Any explanation on the lows just before? Someone said FF had a viral infection of some sort?

  32. Wodin wrote on :

    Vylum: It’s obvious, isn’t it? The lows were when everybody stopped downloading Firefox to watch Colbert. Then when he mentioned Firefox they remembered what they were supposed to be doing and continued downloading two copies at a time to catch up!

    BTW, I believe this is what they mean by “Colbert”:

  33. Techno Quiz wrote on :

    Firefox is already a hit in developers world.Its new version has now touched the shores of house hold people. Keep it up FF. Keep updating it. we will be supporting u all the way.

  34. david yi wrote on :

    that guy johnathan zittrain is a smart guy. i agree with everything he said in his interview.

    fck apple and its format/hardware/software/everything specific bullsht.

  35. Silent_44/hack0r wrote on :

    i like his show he is VERY funny…

  36. AC wrote on :

    Now if you disaggregate users in the different time zones and show that the peak appears where users are likely to have seen the footage and not where they haven’t I’ll be impressed.

    Also the circles cover about 15 mins – vertical lines at xx53 would seem more appropriate.

  37. Techno Quiz wrote on :

    That’s cool and shows the trust of millions of people in Mozilla. Like us 🙂