For the few reading this that don’t know me, I have been watching Star Trek since I was seven years old. That was 1987. I started off on Next Gen and quickly fell in love with the original series as well. I didn’t play GI Joe. I played Star Trek. My friends and I would sit in the living room with one of the movies playing. I was in the Captain’s chair (a lazy boy) and my friends were at their stations. We’d watch the film and pretend we were in it. The point here? I’ve loved the Star Trek universe for a long time.
Let me start off by saying this was not the worst Trek movie ever. Nemesis takes the grand prize. In fact, I think this is a far cry better than Nemesis or Insurrection. I sat through both of those and have watched them a few times since. But even though they were shitty movies, I did still care for the characters. That was missing for me in Star Trek into Darkness.
It’s no secret that my original expectations were high. I was very happy with the 2009 reboot and wanted more. In the latter part of May I read some early reviews that tempered those expectations. I was prepared to be disappointed, but my preparation was not adequate.
I won’t write a full review because I think Devin Farcai’s has already written one that encompasses the bulk of my feelings. It’s full of spoilers but accurately represents how I feel about this film from start to finish. (http://badassdigest.com/2013/05/14/star-trek-into-darkness-spoiler-review/)
It wasn’t all bad. It’s an attractive film on screen. There are some beautiful visuals, and of course the CGI is excellent. The score is solid and the cast does an excellent job with the exception of Chris Pine. As in the 2009 film, Zachary Quinto IS Spock. He embodies the character through and through.
Why did I hate it? As others have written, the plot was sloppy and the screenplay uninspired. I watched until we learned Khan has “magic” blood. At that point, I decided I had seen enough. I walked out. I may sound like the bitter canon trekkie who hates all new Trek. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I simply didn’t care what happened. The plot was so broken for me that the outcome was irrelevant. Even more disappointing, I really didn’t need to watch to know how it was going to end. Every plot point is predictable.
More importantly, I didn’t want my memories of Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan to be in any way intertwined with this movie. When they announced into Darkness, I wanted Khan to be the villain. After watching most of the film, I can say Abram’s Khan isn’t Khan. He was present only in name. What a waste of talent. Benedict Cumberbatch is a brilliant actor and could have brought the essence of Khan into JJ’s universe. But that was impossible with the screenplay he was given. It was full of holes – a sinking ship.
The movie is doing well and I have no doubt will surpass the 2009 film in terms of revenue. I expect they’ll soon begin the planning for the third movie in their series. Fortunately, my expectations are now permanently tempered when it comes to JJ Abram’s Trek universe. It will be hard to disappoint me in 2016.
And with that… I end with a quote from the real Khan. To JJ and company I say:
“He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I’ll chase him ‘round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares Maelstrom and ’round Perdition’s flames before I give him up!”
Without a doubt, this has been one of the hardest weeks of my life. We lost my uncle Joe on Tuesday to a sudden heart attack. He was one of the most important mentors and figures in my life. This was what I said about him at the funeral on Friday.
It’s fair to say that I’ve spent a large part of my life trying to be like Joe. We met when he started dating my aunt Cindy. I was nine and I’ll admit I was a little jealous at first. I wasn’t a custom to sharing my aunt. But it didn’t take me long to realize this was a two for one deal. By years end, Joe had become my idol.
Joe was driven to succeed, but his drive was never more important than his integrity. He was a man of his word and kept the promises he made. Joe took his work seriously, but never let it take precedent over his family. He was always there when someone needed him.
I think what most people will remember about Joe is the dedication to his family. Every choice he made was centered around their security and happiness. Cindy, Jackson and Laurel were the center of his universe. He could not have been more proud of Laurel or Jackson.
Joe supported all of us in so many ways. If there was a tough decision to be made, I always knew who to call. He talked me through the problem and gave a balanced perspective. It wasn’t always exactly what I wanted to hear – but I always knew it was what I needed to hear. Two years ago when I was debating a move to San Francisco for a new job, Joe explained that there shouldn’t be a debate. Move. Go get the experience and come back in a few years if that’s what you want. As always, he was right.
Cindy and Joe proved to me that there is such a thing as soul mates. You could see it whenever they looked at each other. As individuals, they were different in demeanor, but as a partnership, they completed one another. I’ve never known a more devoted couple. Joe adored Cindy. After more than two decades of marriage, that adoration was still apparent to anyone that spent time with them.
Joe taught me a lot. I think the most important lesson was to always be proud of who I am and know that his love was unconditional. It’s one of the best lessons of my life and I’m forever grateful.
Finally, I just want to say thank you to my Uncle for all the love and support you’ve shown all of us. We miss you and love you very much.
The engagement team launched a new channel last week. We’re experimenting with SMS (text messaging) as a tool to promote Firefox for Android to our desktop base. Desktop enjoys a large user base, and we’re interested in making it easier for a Firefox desktop user to install Firefox for Android.
We communicate with desktop users through our snippet, a small bit of text under the search box that you’ll see when you open Firefox (unless you’ve changed your default homepage). It highlights promotions related to desktop, mobile, community and more.
This real estate receives massive amounts of impressions. We’ve been running snippets promoting Firefox for Android in the bulk of our locales for more than a year. It’s been a successful vehicle for driving clicks. However, the install experience from a desktop device to mobile isn’t seamless. We’ve been discussing how we can better leverage the snippet traffic by adapting the install experience for desktop users.
Most users install apps while using their mobile device. But snippet viewers are on a desktop machine. We theorize that by getting the download link onto a user’s phone our conversion rates will increase.
Old install flow
- Jane Doe opens Firefox on her desktop.
- She sees a snippet and clicks on the link.
- The snippet link directs Jane to Google Play on her desktop.
- Jane hunts for the install link.
- She clicks the link and must login to her Google account.
- Finally, Jane has to select the device she wants to install Firefox for Android on.
We believe Jane might find it easier to go through this process on the device she wants the app to be installed.
Here’s the experience we’re testing.
- Jane Doe opens Firefox on her desktop.
- She sees the snippet and clicks a link.
- We direct her to a landing page where she can send herself a text message.
- She receives the text message on her phone.
- Clicks the link to Google Play.
- Clicks install and she’s on her way.
In addition to our SMS tool, the brand team has been working on a series of animated Firefox for Android snippets. We were able to launch these two projects as an integrated campaign. Users who interact with the animated snippet are taken to the SMS landing page. The added exposure from the animation is bringing about even more clicks and helping us thoroughly test SMS as a viable engagement channel. You can read more about these animations and the development process on the MDN blog.
SMS is an experiment. It’s true that not everyone viewing a snippet has a phone that’s compatible with Firefox for Android hence the experimentation vs. large-scale implementation. We’re giving SMS a try in the U.S. first and treating it as a pilot program. If successful, we’ll begin investigating which countries SMS might also work. (A note – the Firefox for Android animation is visible in several locales, but the snippet link in non-EN builds take the user directly to Google Play vs the SMS landing page).
Big thanks to the brand team who worked with us to design the creative pieces for the SMS experience and developed the Android animations. Also, many thanks to web dev, privacy, legal and security for their help during the evaluation and implementation phases. This was a big group effort.
Our initial results are very encouraging. More details on that soon.
Email engagement had a great year at Mozilla. We started 2011 with 125,000 email subscribers. In December, we crossed the finish line with more than 3 million subscribers and we’re now adding 25,000 new subscribers each day.
Email engagement overview:
We believe email is a powerful channel for communicating with users. Our consumer facing email programs inform users of new features and help optimize their experience with Mozilla’s product offerings.
How effective was email in 2011:
Our email program has grown extensively and maintained healthy engagement rates. This is a testament to the interest and enthusiasm our subscribers have for Mozilla products.
Here’s a break down of open and clicks in 2011:
You’ll notice a dip in our engagement rates as the list grows. This is a common trend. Mozilla’s email engagement consistently beats industry open and click averages when compared to list size.
Most Popular Links of 2011 for English Readers:
We thought it’d be interesting to take a peek at the most popular links clicked in 2011. Take a look:
|Link Name||Number of Unique Clicks||Notes|
|Download Firefox Desktop||2,130,468 unique clicks||This link is included in every edition of Firefox & You, hence the large number of unique clicks.|
|Firefox Speed Test||130,225 unique clicks||December newsletter|
|Get Firefox 4||107,281 unique clicks||Firefox 4 release day|
|Mozilla Foundation Video||99,645 unique clicks||December foundation email|
|Firefox 4 User Interface Video||16,393 unique clicks||April 2011 Newsletter – post Firefox 4 release|
Localized Firefox & You
One of our major objectives in 2011 was to launch several localized versions of Firefox & You. Jessilyn Davis joined Mozilla in September to manage the localization process and work closely with contributors to create content that speaks to our global audience. As of Jan 2012, we now offer Firefox & You in French, German, Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish.
Learn more about our localization program on Jess’s blog.
Into 2012 and beyond…
Localization will continue to be a priority for our email program in 2012. Our goal is to address every major Firefox market by providing them with a localized version of the Firefox & You newsletter.
We’ll also be making more upgrades to our newly launched email preference center. We launched version 1 of the preference center late in 2011. Our goal is to provide subscribers with one place to manage their email preferences. They are now able to add or remove themselves from one or multiple Mozilla newsletters in a central location. Phase 2 of the email preference will provide them with more ways to customize their email content. For example, if I wish to hear exclusively about apps, I’ll be able to change my preferences to request that all content be centered on apps.
Maintaining our growth rate will continue to be a focus. We’re currently adding 25,000 new email subscribers each day. We will continue to strive for an 8% click through rate and 20% open rate to ensure that users are finding value in the content they are receiving.
A big thanks to our web dev and creative teams. Creative is responsible for all the beautiful email templates and images you see. Also, Matej Novak writes the rich copy you’ll find in every edition of Firefox & You.
Just as important are the members of the web dev team who have helped integrate mozilla.org with our email vendor. In addition, they also built our recently launched email preference center – a critical piece of our email program that allows users to edit and change their communication preferences.
You can sign up for email updates by visiting www.mozilla.org/newsletter.
The May email stats for the Mozilla & You newsletter are in. Let’s do the numbers:
|Total Subscribers||Unique Open Rate||Unique Click-Through Rate|
We maintained strong open and click through rates. However, you’ll notice we did see a dip when compared to March and April. We believe this was due to the Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of summer vacations. Having said that, our numbers are still strong and exceed industry averages. We’ll see these numbers climb a bit during the next week.
If you’re interested in seeing how our program stacks up to others, check out benchmark stats from email marketing providers Bronto and MailChimp. You’ll find information on average open and click through rates.
Have a look at our trends report:
In addition to our aggregate numbers, we’ve analyzed open and clicks by locale. We narrowed our focus to countries with more than 5,000 readers.
|Country||Readers||Unique Open Rate||Unique Click-Through Rate|
When reviewing the data, one conclusion jumps out immediately. Localized content provides us with high engagement stats. Our recently localized German newsletter is the top performer. The remaining top performers are all from countries with a large population of English speaking citizens. This isn’t a surprise given we currently only offer the newsletter in German and English, but great reinforcement for continued work on expanding our email program into other markets using localized content.
To that end, we’re in the process of launching a French and Portuguese newsletter. More news about those projects coming soon. Stay tuned.
Finally, let’s take a look at our top links in English and German:
1. Download Firefox for Desktop
2. Check your plug-ins
4. Add-on – Webmail Notifier
5. Download Firefox Mobile
1. Check your plug-ins
2. Download Firefox for Desktop
3. Add-on – Add to Search Bar
4. Video – About Firefox Mobile
5. Today’s Tip – Add-on Bar
The next issue of Mozilla & You is targeted for June 21. Make sure you’ve opted in to receive the newsletter!
We had a lot of email coolness in April. We rolled out a new email template and launched our first localized newsletter. German subscribers now have their very own ‘Mozilla & You’. Willkommen!
A new look
Why redesign? The previous template had some minor rendering issues in email clients. We also wanted the newsletter to match the recently updated style of Mozilla.com. Our goal for the new template was to render beautifully in AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and Outlook 2007/2010. We also optimized for mobile readers. Take a look at the old vs. the new.
The new design is brighter and the layout provides more flexibility when adding new articles. The old version had a sidebar on the right throughout the entire email. Eliminating that made it much easier to add content blocks.
We also launched two new sections devoted entirely to Personas and Add-ons. In past editions, we found that Add-ons and Personas were hot topics. It made sense to make them a recurring theme each month.
A big thanks to the creative team for doing such an amazing job on the new template.
Measuring opens and clicks help us determine what our readers like and don’t like. Here’s an overview of April broken down by language:
- Open rate: 29.5%
- Click through rate (CTR): 14.5%
- Sent to: 624,879
Both the open and CTR were strong. In fact, this is the highest CTR we’ve seen for Mozilla & You.
- Open rate: 55%
- Click through rate (CTR): 33.2%
- Sent to: 3,811
Holy cow! Look at those German numbers. They’re awesome but not entirely unexpected. This is the first time we’ve emailed our German subscribers, and these individuals opted-in within the past sixty days. The more recent the subscriber, the higher the opens and clicks.
Here’s a reminder of how we’ve performed in 2011 to date:
Top 5 clicks
Finally, let’s take a look at the top five links in English and in German.
5. Add-on: F1
5. Today’s Tip – App Tabs
We see the update plugins link near the top of the list in every edition. As we suspected, Add-ons continue to be a hot item. The user interface video was surprising for our German audience. We noted in the German version of the copy that it was only available in English, but it still managed a high CTR. Personas didn’t make the top 5, but they also received a high number of clicks in both English and German.
That’s it for April. The May edition will arrive in your inbox on the 25th. Make sure you’ve opted in for the newsletter!
Hi. I’m Winston – the Mozilla email guy. Since this is post number one, we’ll start off with some context into Mozilla’s email program. Here’s what you’re about to read:
- Why email engagement?
- Aren’t all email marketers nasty spammers?
- How is Mozilla’s consumer email program performing?
Why use email to talk with users?
Email is in an interesting period of flux. The popularity of social media has led many to question what the future of email will be. There are dozens of theories predicting how email may evolve (or when it will find itself buried six feet under). But for this post, we won’t speculate about what the future holds. Let’s talk about what we know right now. For now, we believe our program has demonstrated email is a powerful channel that allows us to deliver relevant content to Mozilla subscribers. You’ll get the juicy details on how we support that statement in just a second.
Email marketing does not mean SPAM.
Believe it or not, most email marketers hate spam. No reputable email marketer believes in sending unsolicited email. The difference between SPAM and permission-based email is super simple. Didn’t ask for the email newsletter that’s sitting in your inbox? It’s spam. There are a few exceptions like transactional email (receipts from online purchases, password retrievals, etc), but for the most part, no permission = SPAM.
A little history…
In September, Mozilla launched its first consumer email program designed to keep users informed about Firefox news and updates. I was fortunate enough to join the user engagement team in January and take the helm of Mozilla’s consumer facing email communications. By the way, email isn’t brand new to Mozilla. The community team has been sending out a bangin newsletter long before we launched the consumer program. The consumer piece is different in that the content is solely focused on consumer needs and interests.
What do we send?
Each month we send out a monthly newsletter to Firefox users about enriching their browsing experience (go sign up). You’ll find stories about new releases, popular Add-ons and hot Personas. We also make time to tell the Firefox story and talk about the thousands of volunteers around the world that make Firefox possible.
Is anyone reading?
We call our consumer newsletter ‘Mozilla & You’. Since its launch in September, we’ve grown our subscriber base to 767,000. We expect to eclipse the big 1,000,000 before the end of Q2. Champagne bottles are standing by.
Keeping people engaged.
While a big list is a great asset, the most important part of an email program is the level of engaged subscribers. In this case, engaged means lots of opens and clicks from the readers. Thanks to an incredible product, a passionate user base and content geared for consumers, we’ve consistently beat industry averages for open and clicks.
Note: The low October open rate was due to a reporting error.
So how do we stack up compared to industry averages? A recent report by email marketing provider Epsilon and the Direct Marketing Association’s Email Experience Council cited the average open rate as 22% and the average click through rate as 5.1%. In the first quarter of 2011, Mozilla maintained an average open rate of 29% and an average click through rate of 12.5%. Both stats are exciting. It demonstrates that our users are digging our content.
Look out for another post in the next few days with the results from our April newsletter. In the meantime, don’t forget to sign up. Next edition will be released the week of May 23.