How Much is a (knock-off) Web Browser Worth?


Answer: At least $30 million.

Flock – which is a pimped version of Firefox for social networking – has just raised another $15 million in financing. This is a Series D financing that was led by Fidelity Ventures (Bessemer
Venture Partners, Catamount Ventures and Shasta Ventures, also
participated). Total financing to date for Flock is now hovering at around $30 million.

According to a release issued by Flock – “Since January 2008, Flocks user base has
increased by more than 250 percent while its revenue has risen by more
than 400 percent.”

Without the proper context of knowing how much their revenue was prior to January of 2008 the growth doesn’t mean much to me (though on the surface it sounds impressive). Mozilla makes its millions primarily through Google. I’d suspect that Flock makes its money in much the same way with a variety of affiliate and search driven models for revenue generation.

Personally I don’t use Flock (though I’ve tried it). The problem for me in a basic sense is that Firefox is the base, and for me I customize Firefox my own way (yeaaaah I’m my own pimp) to meet my social networking needs.

I’m running Firefox 3 RC 1 now (and yes I’ve got IE 8 Beta running on my Windows test box) which is the bleeding edge of browser innovation. Is Flock based on Firefox 3?

According to the Flock FAQ – not yet.

Flock will be moving to the Firefox3 engine when it is completed,
and we’ve already pushed some bug fixes and enhancements for Firefox3
to the Firefox team.

It’s not necessarily a contest between Flock and Firefox, since both are open source and do collaborate to a certain extent and choice is always a good thing. But it is interesting to see how an open source product, based on another open source product can generate $30 million in financing.

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