I was just thinking to write about that and noticed that Junyor from Opera already said: “No weekly of Kestrel today.”.
There is one reason for that (which now I understand). Opera Mini 4 Beta wasn’t released on Friday as it’s bad day for such releases. So we will get new build on Tuesday or Wednesday (no idea which week) as Opera wants to get as many attention as possible and Friday is not good for that. Don’t expect Opera 9.5 or Opera Mini 4 Beta 2 or Final today.
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Not so long time ago there was a plenty of discussions regarding Opera’s marketing strategy, some said it’s good while most of the people disagreed with that.
Daniel Goldman wrote a very interesting article about Opera’s marketing which you should read.
Here’s a list of “to do/done” things regarding Opera marketing.
We are reviving our developer outreach efforts. It’s very important for us to have web developers be aware of and test their sites in Opera. We recently hired a developer/writer to run our developer site, dev.opera.com, where you’ll see lots of good stuff in the coming months.
With the Desktop Team blog, we have made the development process of the desktop browser more open to our fans and followers. This is by far the most popular blog we host on the My Opera Community site. This blog is one of the important places where we converse with you, our users.
For the launch of Opera Mini 4 beta we produced an ‘Opera Mini vs. iPhone’ video — it was extremely popular in the blogosphere and on video sharing sites.
We are producing more fun and informative videos to be released with the Opera 9.5 and Opera Mini 4 (final) launches.
We send many of our developers, executives and others to speak at and attend industry-related conferences and events (worldwide). The audiences attending these events usually include developers, business contacts, and everyday internet users.
We organize large Opera-user get-togethers, which we call ‘Opera Backstage’ events. These Opera Backstages have already taken place in numerous countries, with more of these events planned. In addition to the marketing team, these events are attended by our executives and developers. These events are typically attended by anywhere from 100-500 people.
As I mentioned above, news stories about Opera in the press don’t usually happen by themselves. We have an entire PR department working on getting as much publicity for Opera in the press as possible, in multiple languages.
We’re currently working on a new affiliate program, where our users get credit (and tangible rewards) for encouraging others to download Opera.
Opera’s homepages, both www.opera.com and www.operamini.com are redesigned with each major release of a new browser version. This keeps those sites from becoming stale.
Our marketing and IS departments are currently working on a major redesign of our website.
The website’s design, usability and content are crucial in our efforts to increase Opera’s market share. After people read or hear about Opera, the site is what often convinces them to download and use Opera.
We run ads on various tech websites and blogs to promote the desktop browser, Opera Mini and the Wii browser.
We have (and continue to pursue) major distribution deals with ISPs and web portals to distribute the desktop browser and Opera Mini. Examples include T-Online, Clix and Onet.
Opera sponsors many events and conferences, which gets our name and brand out to conference-goers.
We also have booths at many events and conferences, where we demo and talk to people about our browsers.
We run the My Opera community site, which has close to 1 million registered members. When potential Opera users consider downloading Opera, and notice our strong community of users, I’m sure this helps a bit in their decision to download and use Opera.
We recognize that our users are very talented, and many of them want to help spread and promote Opera. To help those users, we have set up the Choose Opera group where Opera users can plan, execute, and show off group and individual projects that build awareness of their favorite browser*. (*Opera).
We want everyone, not just English-speaking users, to have the opportunity to find information about and download Opera. To support that, we’ve developed localized versions of our website. For example, see ru.opera.com, cn.opera.com, pl.opera.com, and jp.opera.com
Our developers, engineers and QA people often join in on conversations with Opera users in the official Opera Forums, Opera’s IRC channel and on blogs around the Web. This helps make the culture of Opera more open and accessible.
To encourage people to learn more about Opera, we solicit questions from our users to be used in interviews that we publish with Opera executives, developers and others.
We give out promo merchandise to our users and supporters that include: Opera t-shirts, pens, pins, phone straps, stickers, etc.
We do outreach on many social networking sites. We are active on sites such as Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and Flickr.
The Register recently published an interview with Jon von Tetzchner and there are some very interesting questions and answers as well.
Andrew Brown, a big fan of Opera, wrote that he chose to move to FireFox because it was more compatible with new websites, partly citing Flickr compatibility. Do you feel you’re falling behind?
It’s a chicken and egg situation, which means we need to get more users.
I don’t want to agree with that. It’s not all about users. Of course, big market share helps a lot but let’s see the following situation:
Let’s say 1000 potential users decides to download Opera and surf their favorite sites, some of them found them incompatible with Opera. What they do? They are switching back. So you get more users for a week or so but then lose some of them due incompatibility with their favorite sites. Of course, market share still grows, but very slowly. As posted in 2007 July Browsers Market Share Results, Opera lost 0.02% of their market share that time. I tend to believe that decrease was not due the fact that users didn’t like Opera’s interface or features, but due incompatibility.
Opera can’t grow so fast due incompatibility with some sites.
Incompatible sites are incompatible due low Opera’s market share.
If Opera would get 20% of the market share in one night, this would help for sure. But that won’t happen.
So it’s up to Opera Software.
Another interesting answer was:
We just try to focus on our side. We’ve always focused on a somewhat richer interface. We’ve had a lot of negative comments ourselves over the years; for example, when we introduced tabbed browsing a lot of people said it doesn’t make sense. We’ve introduced things like zooming, mouse gestures and the like – and we find they find their way into other browsers; tabs found their way into IE7. We are being copied, but we would like to focus on features and giving users a good experience.
It’s fantastic that Opera is being copied, that means they are doing very good job in providing users best web experience, but how long can it happen? How long can you brainstorm and add new features without seeing rapid Opera’s market share growth while competitors with those new features becoming stronger (more popular). Why It’s Not Enough To Have All The Greatest Features?
Just kidding, don’t do that.
There’s an interesting thread (Have Firefox pre-installed as default browser) posted.
I haven’t read it all, just 1 out of 50 comments or so and found that it’s just another flame war (or will be the one soon).
There’s even a comment from Daniel Goldman (Opera Software).
I’m sure we (I work for Opera Software) could work some revenue sharing plan with Dell. Part of our revenue from the desktop browser comes from Google.
Any other companies wanna join too and try to get their stake from Dell? Everyone is just talking about how good or bad their favorite browser is.
One more interesting comment by sazar
There are other options besides Firefox, why promote one over the others? This will simply create a browser monopoly of sorts with Firefox. IE comes bundled with the OS and allows people to get online for the first time, this shouldn’t be a handicap. If the user is savvy enough, they will be able to download the browser by themselves.
Oh yes, this could mean that we will have something (maybe Opera 9.5) in the following Friday, or maybe not. OK, let’s go back to the topic.
Opera team just released Opera 9.23 Final. Here’s the changelog (since Opera 9.22):
- Fixed 4 crash bugs found using Mozilla’s jsfunfuzz tool.
- Fixed a stability issue with Speed Dial.
- Scrolling problem with some Microsoft mice fixed on Windows Vista.
Since this is a final version, I strongly suggest you to upgrade your Opera browser to the latest, stable release.
It’s about time for another article. I really like unusual things to do, so will try something different this time too. You probably read dozens of articles with the similar name. Yes, it’s “Internet Explorer (IE) vs. Safari vs. Firefox vs. Opera”. However, I am not interested in web browsers features, speed at this moment. No, I will compare those web browsers web pages design. That’s right, enough of those regular “Internet Explorer (IE) vs. Safari vs. Firefox vs. Opera” articles. It’s time to try something new.
“Internet Explorer (IE) vs. Safari vs. Firefox vs. Opera” – Web Design Battle
I will analyze every web browser main web page and see how does it looks, what is good or bad, see if it renders correctly in every web browser (using browsershots.org), etc.
Before starting to review web design itself, let’s see how well it’s coded. We will use validator.w3.org.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/ie/default.mspx – This page is not Valid (no Doctype found)! Failed validation, 209 Errors
http://en.www.mozilla.com/en/firefox/ – This Page Is Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict!
Good coding. No errors.
http://www.apple.com/safari/ – This page is not Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional! Failed validation, 3 Errors
Haven’t passed this test, but only 3 errors were found. Not bad.
http://www.opera.com – This Page Is Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict!
Good coding. No errors.
Now we will use browsershots.org to see if web pages are being rendered correctly in any web browser.
Internet Explorer – didn’t rendered correctly in a few web browsers.
Firefox – renders correctly in any web browser.
Safari – didn’t rendered correctly in a few web browsers.
Opera – renders correctly in any web browser.
Please note: rendering tests maybe be not accurate due rendering software.
OK, we’ve passed some regular tests, let’s review start pages web design now.
When you open web page for the first time, it gives you a very nice impression. Colors are very well organized; whole interface is not messed up with no need stuff. In the left there is very catchy “Download Firefox – Free” text/button so everyone will understand that this web browser is free. That’s a very good thing. Right after the text there is a version number, another great thing, helps you to know about the latest version and “Release Notes” tells you what’s new there.
Right after that, Firefox team presents some cool features, for example: “active protection”, “thousand useful add-ons”, etc. Although I think they should remove blue background from those red “check” markups, let’s go the right side now. We see awards, yet another great thing which can attract more potential users. In the footer I’ve also found a language selector, another plus. Now one more thing I didn’t like was their links system. “Download Firefox – Free” link is underlined which tells you that it’s a link, while links with text like “Enjoy a Better Web Experience” are more like promotional words than links, they are not underlined so you can’t say it’s a link (unless you mouse over on it). In the “Special Editions” corner there’s another different kind of link. This time when you mouse over, text become underlined. So there is like 3 different styles of linking which can confuse not experienced web surfers a bit.
- Catchy download button.
- Includes “FREE” in the start page.
- Version number included.
- Release notes.
- No validation errors.
- Site renders correctly in any web browser.
- Reasons to try Firefox.
- Possible to change language.
- Links system might be confusing to new web users.
Although Internet Explorer start page contains so many errors, it does look nice. Actually, for me Internet Explorer page is more beautiful than any other web browser. It contains nice glassy buttons, some effects and well chosen colors. In a few words I would call it “Vista style”. Right after navigation there are some new features listed, for example: New Look, Tabs, Printing, etc. which gives you a nice impression of what you can expect from Internet Explorer browser. You can’t instantly find “download” button as it’s not really separated from whole content, that’s a bad thing. Links (in the picture) also needs some improvements, “download”, “take a tour” and “watch video” are same size, color, but only two of them are links. Yes, there is a small “arrow” which should tell you something, but I think that “watch video” shouldn’t look same as links because it’s not a link and it’s not a good idea to confuse site visitors. Right after promotional picture you can find a list of new features and reasons to try this browser. One more thing which I didn’t like was advertising in the right corner, that’s not professional.
- Good looking site.
- New features listed.
- Reasons to try Internet Explorer 7.
- Lots of validation errors.
- Doesn’t renders well in all web browsers.
- Links system might be confusing to new web users.
- Advertising in the right corner.
Right after I’ve opened this page, thought: grey… Grey color is dominating there, from top navigation to background. For me grey color is more like a depression color so I really don’t like Safari start page color scheme. However, not everything is bad here. Big screenshot instantly allows you to see how does Safari look and it’s pretty easy to notice “Download Beta Now” button too, although it’s not so catchy as Firefox one. If they could add a full version number, that would be great. Right after button you can find word “FREE”. Another great thing; before downloading users should know, whether this browser is free or not. What we see next is the top 12 reasons to try Safari, yet one more plus. I kind a like their way of showing those 12 reasons with some fading. Looks nice and doesn’t require new page loading. First reason is “Blazing Performance”, and here you go, we see performance graph. Of course, Safari is the winner there. Yes, that’s another big plus to Safari web design. This trick helps to convince users and try Safari 3 Beta.
- Reasons to try Safari.
- Includes “FREE” in the start page.
- Safari screenshot in the start page.
- Performance graphs.
- No new page loading required when viewing 12 reasons to try Safari.
- 3 validation errors.
- Grey (depressing color) dominates there.
OK, no offense, but for me this new design is the worst one. I used to like their previous tries, for example this one:
Not a perfect design (After Opera 9.2 it used to look even better), but much better than the current one. In the top I see old style grey buttons, not a good thing, it needs upgrade. After old navigation there’s a big picture, no idea why but it contains my.opera.com stuff and no browser screenshot, bad idea I would say. After that strange picture we see promotional text which says “The coolest, fastest, and most secure Web browser available”. Although that’s not a bad thing, but they should include some reasons why it’s so cool or so. In the right side we see green “Download” button. This button should include “FREE”, this is a MUST for Opera, click here to see why and that’s almost all, after download button we can find other “Opera Software” products promotions.
- No validation errors.
- Site renders correctly in any web browser.
- Old style navigation.
- No “reasons to try”.
- Only a few words of text.
- Where’s “FREE”?
If there would be a beauty contest, Internet Explorer start page would win, but it’s not all about beauty. Web design should render correctly in any web browser, contain most important information in the start page, have nice user friendly interface, etc. So… And the winner is… Firefox. It had no validation errors, nice interface, most important information listed, well chosen colors and much more. Regarding second place, probably that would be Safari, it had nice navigation and performance graph. Third goes Internet Explorer. I know, it’s cute design, but that’s not enough. And the last one… Opera. Start page needs serious improvements, maybe they will make a new design after Opera 9.5 is released, I don’t know.
Also, this is only my opinion.
EDIT: I’ve just rewrote my conclusion, Internet Explorer was in the second place due it’s beauty and third one – Safari. It’s really hard to decide.
What’s your favorite web design?
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EDIT2: Why those pages?
I have used Google Search and thought what would users type in order to find that web browser.
So it was like: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera. I took a first result (which most searchers clicks) and analyzed that page.
It’s Friday and seems there won’t be any Opera 9.5 build today. But that’s not the main point. Today I’ve asked then they will provide any more information about Opera 9.5. I am just curious, that’s not a crime (I hope so). After few minutes my question was deleted (even all other times it wasn’t), so maybe Opera Destop Team are just too tired to answer questions about Opera 9.5. Anyway, just a friendly advice: you could save more time by writing 1 line with text “No Opera 9.5 this week” instead of deleting people questions (me included) :-)
It’s Thursday (not a Friday) today, but we got a new Opera 9.23 series release: Opera 9.23, Build 8808. This is not a final version, use it on your own risk.
Here’s a changelog:
- More Speed Dial stability fixes
- Fixed issue with some mouse wheels and scrolling up on Vista
- Fixed another fuzzer crash
I guess we won’t get any new release tomorrow, or will we?
Everyone is waiting for the very first Opera 9.5 public release. Tomorrow we should have another weekly or just some more news, so maybe Opera team will release it tomorrow? Since we are waiting for so long I think that it won’t be released tomorrow. Why not? My guess is that to get more time on Opera 9.5 polishing they will release Opera 9.23 Final as Opera 9.23 weekly (not a final version) was released last week already.
Oh well… I can be wrong, let’s wait and see.
Today Opera pleased us with a new weekly verion of Opera 9.2x, althought everyone expected to see Opera 9.5, but updates are good anyway. There wasn’t something like a “changelog” in their post… But this new build contains security and stability fixes.
It’s not a final release, only a weekly, use it on your own risk.