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Brian Kardell
  • Developer Advocate at Igalia
  • Original Co-author/Co-signer of The Extensible Web Manifesto
  • Co-Founder/Chair, W3C Extensible Web CG
  • Member, W3C (OpenJS Foundation)
  • Co-author of HitchJS
  • Blogger
  • Art, Science & History Lover
  • Standards Geek
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Posted on 11/08/2023

Wolvic Store Experiment

A post about cool stuff for a cause.

As of today, you can purchase some cool Wolvic swag, and proceeds will go to supporting development of the browser:

There’s mugs, and water bottles and shirts and sweatshirts and … You know, stuff.


For the last few years I’ve been writing about the health of the whole web ecosystem, and talking about it on our podcast. We just assume that the “search revenue pays for browsers” model that got us here is fine and will last forever. I’m pretty sure it won’t.

When you look at how engines and browsers are funded, it’s way too centralized on search funding. Of course, this is not a way to fund a new browser - rather it rewards those that are already making really significant entry. The whole thing is actually kind of fragile when you step back and look at it.

It would be nice to change that, and we only achieve that by trying.

So, in general at Igalia we’re trying several ways to diversify funding. Specifically for Wolvic, we’re looking into how we might explore other kinds of advertising, but we’ve got this far with investment from Igalia, a partnership model and an Open Collective.

It’s kind of easy to get applause when I talk about this, but the truth is very few people put money into our collectives. It reminded me of… Well… Every charity, ever.

Lots of charities (or even NPR) give you some swag with a donation. For some reason, that’s helpful in expanding the base of people making any kind of donation at all. For some reason, offering swag makes people consider putting some donation toward the cause.

Of course, this isn’t especially efficient: If you buy a product from our store, maybe only a few dollars of that becomes an the actual donation. It would be far more efficient to just donate a couple of dollars to the collective, but very few do. So we’re trying something new.

Will offering swag help here too? Is this a model that could help us pay for things? I don’t know, but I’m always looking for new ways to talk about this problem and new experiments we could try to keep the discussion going. So, what do you think?