Swedish web site aims to raise $1m for Firefox

A Swedish internet entrepreneur has launched an innovative appeal to help the Firefox web browser compete with the likes of Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Having set up the web page HelpFirefox.com, Sam Nurmi, founder of the largest Swedish web hosting operator Loopia, now hopes to sell each of the one million pixels on the page for a dollar. All the revenues will go to the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, which develops Firefox.

After just one day, the page has already raised $13,000, after a dozen companies chipped in for varying quantities of pixels.

“Today, Firefox is the best browser on the market. Its developers are doing an incredible job, but for Firefox to be able to surpass Internet Explorer with its unlimited budget, external funding is necessary. We will give them that,” said Nurmi.

The idea came from the British student Alex Tew, who in the autumn of 2005 succeeded in enlarging his education budget by almost a million dollars through his ad page TheMillionDollarHomepage.

The Mozilla Foundation actively encourages donations, and its Firefox browser has been downloaded over 100 million times.

Despite such figures, it is still a minnow compared to Internet Explorer – something which Nurmi wants to help change.

“A monopoly is a bad thing, particularly when it came about through unfair competition,” he said, referring to Microsoft’s practice of distributing their web browser with their operating system. He continued:

“Open source applications, on the other hand, are a positive and natural phenomenon, in an evolution directed towards cutting the costs of goods and services. Firefox is based on everybody’s support and free exchange of ideas.”

Nurmi founded Loopia at the end of 1999 and by 2004 it had become the largest operator in Sweden.