Setting a world record

Josselin thinks it's the most stupid world record, my take is that it is only a useless one.

World records are interesting when they are challenged, not when they are set. And the fact is Firefox will become the world most downloaded software in a day in the world because nobody else tried to set this record before. Most Guinness records are such records, by the way: they're set, not challenged.

Speaking of stupid records, and how they are set (... or not), I quite like the following story, which happened live on french television. Some years ago, a guy wanted to set the record for spitting a greenpea as far as he could (*that* is a stupid record). The Guinness records guy was there, obviously, so that the record could be homologated. I don't remember the numbers, but it's not very important after all. Anyways, the guy sets his record, he is happy, and for fun, the TV show host tries. First try, first win, he broke the record that had been set a few seconds before ; without even trying to beat it.

Coming back to the Firefox record, it's useless to set a record you already know is not an absolute record. Microsoft service packs and affiliated are downloaded massively the day they are released, Microsoft just never considered submitting it to the Guinness book. And if they'd have tried, they would have set it at least an order of magnitude higher than Firefox will set it. Then Firefox would have needed to come up with a catch phrase like "the most downloaded free (as in free speech, because a MS service pack is free as in free beer) software" to get its moment of fame.

So, how long before Microsoft tries to break it, with, say, IE8 ? And what will be the new marketing trick for Firefox 4.0 (after a full page in NYT for 1.0, "get your name in Firefox" for 2.0 and a Guinness record for 3.0) ?

2008-06-18 10:33:58+0900


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10 Responses to “Setting a world record”

  1. Fabian Says:

    > And what will be the new marketing trick for Firefox 4.0

    Hmm, maybe something like “Firefox 4.0 will be based on the all-new groundbreaking web rendering engine called… WebKit!” ;)

  2. ssam Says:

    the record is only counting downloads initiated by a human. automatic updates are not counted.

    could microsoft really beat mozilla on this?

  3. Marcin Trybus Says:

    Above +1. Second, I doubt any MS update is pulled that many times on release date. Most Windows users never saw the update screen, which is on full auto. Only the automatic forced updates could compete. If there was any sense to compare it with anything, which there isn’t.

    It’s a silly accusation. For someone to beat a world record, it’s kinda required for someone to set it first.

    For Firefox 4.0 I propose lighting the Moon with lasers to form the logo. Sure it’s a huge waste of resources and it’s entirely impossible to pull this off, but still it would be way cool.

  4. arno Says:

    nytimes advertising was for version 1.0
    I can’t remember of a massive marketing operation for version 2.0

  5. Absolute » Blog Archive » Mike Hommey: Setting a world record Says:

    […] Mike Hommey: Setting a world record …without even trying to beat it. Coming back to the Firefox record, it’s useless to set a record you already know is not an absolute record. […]

  6. glandium Says:

    ssam, Marcin: Microsoft got 3 million downloads in the four first days of IE7, and that was without advertising they were trying to set a record so everybody should download on the same day, and without autoupdate.

    arno: Ah you’re right, it was for 1.0 ; that was the “get your name in firefox” for 2.0…

  7. ssam Says:

    glandium. thanks for that stat.
    mozilla have over 7 million in 1 day. the figures are roughly the same order of magnitude.

    i’d like to see microsoft make an attempt to beat mozilla’s record. it would be pretty close, and hence exciting :-)

  8. jorge Says:

    simple logic, will show how much of an oxymoron your statement is.

    how does a world records get establish? is firefox saying they are going to break a record or establish a new one?

    as for the microsoft statement. defaults are not really an option. take for example the amount of windows licenses sold with new computers. does that translate into people that want to buy windows?

  9. Nerd Owned You!! » Blog Archive » 7 Reasons Why Firefox 3 Download Day Sucks (tribute to someone) Says:

    […] It might be the “most stupid world record ever” (or at least useless) and comes just as some browsers move away from the Gecko engine. ( Netscape plz !! )  […]

  10. Firefox: 8 milioni di download. » Ultima frontiera Says:

    […] Ora, giusto per puntualizzare….., devo far notare che Mozilla ha stabilito un nuovo record, ma non ha battuto nulla: prima d’ora non c’era una voce che diceva “software più scaricato in 24 ore” nel libro del Guinness dei primati, cosa che ha spinto Mike hommey, Debian Mainteiner di Iceweasel, a domandarsi l’utilità di questo record. Personalmente, penso che Firefox 3.1 o meglio ancora Firefox 4.0 ora avranno un record da battere, il che come operazione commerciale non è male. […]