Blocking Firefox

There’s recently been a lot of buzz about a list of sites that make Firefox sad. Having written reporter, I’ve done a fair amount of monitoring in this area over the past few years. Overall I think the scope of sites that still block certain browsers/OS is declining. By scope I mean quantity of sites/popularity of sites. More and more often the sites are less and less popular sites. Often they are either financial institutions (known for being the last to update their tech) or media related (and dependent on Microsoft Windows Media DRM). That’s not to say the landscape doesn’t need to improve. From where I sit, it says the landscape is improving. More and more websites are realizing the need to work anywhere. No site is happy with a 5% drop in traffic. That means they can’t afford to ignore a browser with even more market share.

Things are looking a little brighter. While it’s still not good for the web, Silverlight and Flash seem to encourage much more compatibility across browsers/platforms than Windows Media Player ever has. Flash has been a major win for Firefox. Flash is rather consistent across browsers making it a popular choice for media (think YouTube). It’s leveled the playing field, since lets face it, Windows Media historically has been lacking in Firefox, though recently improving. On Mac OS X it is awful at best. h.264 support will make Flash even more attractive to content providers in the near future who are still holding out because of quality.

An interesting point made by that list is a lot of sites are “IE only” because of buggy navigation menu’s, typically due to flyout and drop down menu’s. It really is too bad. Most of those implementations aren’t even search engine friendly (they often store the entire navigation in a JS array). You’d think that would be incentive enough to change.

So those are my somewhat random thoughts on the topic for the moment.

On a sidenote, other content of the site includes a how to on Firefox pencils that look pretty cool.

4 replies on “Blocking Firefox”

Recently I heard about new sites blocking Firefox. However, this time however it is an active block, because Firefox has the ability to host extensions and these have the ability to block advertisements.

Of course it is pretty stupid to block all Firefox-browser just for that reason, but some people just do not think. Of course one can also install ad blocking software on the OS level or in the IE browser, but I guess Firefox is more famous for it or in Firefox it is easier.
A better way would be to somehow detect the presence of an AdBlocking-extension and then tell the visitor that you do not like it. But that would require some programming experience instead of just some (server side) browser sniffing.

> or media related (and dependent on Microsoft Windows Media DRM)

What about the “Microsoft® DRM” plugins Firefox loads from the Windows Media Player?

Unfortunately, I don’t see the landscape being as nice as you describe in general. Yes, it _is_ that nice for Firefox, but as Firefox gains market share, what happens quite often is that the browser detection goes sniffing for “Firefox” in the UA string in addition to “MSIE” and blocks all other browsers or even just hides some features from them. And yes, that applies to some very high-level sites, including GMail, Google Maps, my Yahoo! and others. Things like that make Camino, MicroB and others send “Firefox” in their user agent so that they work with those sites. From where I stand, in a browser project that doesn’t have “MSIE” or “Firefox” in its UA (SeaMonkey in this case), the world is looking rather more grim than one or two years ago, actually 🙁

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