Does Blackbird sound like a bad idea to you too?

I ran across this new ‘browser’ this morning. Blackbird is a rebadged version of Firefox for the African American community. It offers features like ‘Black Search’, ‘Black News Ticker’ and ‘Black Bookmarks’. This sounds like a walled garden to me, and basically like a very bad idea.

If there’s one thing I love about the internet it’s how everyone is equal online, and how the web brings people together. I have no idea about the ethnicity of the people who email me about WP-Cumulus (for instance), nor do I care. This is a global community.

So why build a black browser? They actually made it black btw, which I thought was a particularly bad pun. Why not start a web portal that offers the same ‘black’ features? That would make more sense to me. Why create a system that favors ‘black’ content, narrowing your field of vision? I was very happy to see Obama win the elections, but this sounds like a step backwards to me.

The only reason I can think of that makes sense to build a black browser is ethno-marketing, and considering how this project is ad-supported that is starting to make a lot of sense. But maybe I’m missing something. A white nerd target audience specific browser perhaps, with ‘white nerd search’ and ‘white nerd bookmarks’?


  1. I’m with you on this one. The internet is really the only place where we are all without name, gender, and creed. To use this browser is to wilfully restrict your feed of information to the specific preferences of faceless activists – it doesn’t add any functionality to the user, it just removes some freedom.

    This unnecessary, segregationist project seems like stereotypical American shortsightedness to me. Ever had an American visit you in The Netherlands and refer to people with black skin as “African American”? Even if they are Jamaican-Dutch? So-called “political correctness” is so forced in America that some Americans don’t even think about the meanings of those labels anymore.

    Comment by Brian — December 10, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

  2. So why build a black browser?

    hmmm i think this’s just for money…… take for niche market…. hmmm….

    Said No To Capitalist!

    Comment by joomlacube — December 10, 2008 @ 8:20 pm

  3. I think like you and Brian, it’s a step backwards, it’s completely segregationist and it implements ethno-marketing in a “browser” that reduces the vision angle of user.

    I hate certain unscrupulous (and hidden) people that manipulates the information and uses it to manipulate another people.

    It’s like chains, in a free world, it’s like shackles for free people.

    (sorry for my bad inglish 🙂

    Comment by Kijote — December 11, 2008 @ 3:09 am

  4. Did you ever look up “lolifox” – another rebranded project themed at a subset of firefox users. Theming browsers for culture sounds good, way of pushing out a brand or keeping communities together, but segregation is a whole different kettle of fish.

    Comment by Anonymous — December 12, 2008 @ 3:02 pm

  5. Omg..

    This is terrible for so many reasons..

    Comment by Jordan — December 14, 2008 @ 11:53 am

  6. Are you serious?

    Comment by Jordan — December 14, 2008 @ 11:53 am

  7. I’d like to invite you in on the discussion of the blackbird browser and get your feedback. The show begins at 10 am PST this morning if you’d like to participate please call in at 702-309-6127 or 702-942-7371 if the line is busy. The show will be live on all talk radio network and you can hear it at you can also download a copy of the show in the Coffee With Caryll Radio Show archives. We’d love to have you in on the discussion.Have a good one!

    All Talk Radio Network

    Comment by All Talk Radio Network — December 16, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

  8. It’s not a way of excluding anyone. It’s a way to gather relevant info for the black community without people having to delve through yet another Paris Hilton / Lindsay Lohan story.

    How does it work? Web 2.0 the way you want it unless you’re black?

    Although if Paris decides to sleep with any NBA All-Stars i’m sure it’ll count.

    You know. There’s the news and then there’s NEWS.

    Comment by Dave — December 17, 2008 @ 3:23 pm

  9. After having pondered this for a few days I must say it’s that fact that this is a browser that bugs me most. I have no trouble with websites that focus on a specific cultural group. But browsers should imho be very generic tools that do not filter or prioritize content in any way. That’s why I don’t like Flock and it’s also why I like this even less.

    What good would a wrench be that only turns bolts on European cars? Making this a Firefox add-on would have been a better idea imho.

    Comment by Roy — December 17, 2008 @ 3:40 pm