Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Goodbye Echofon

BinI don’t normally ‘shoot first and ask questions later‘, but when I finally realised that Echofon’s writers were taking the P out their Firefox add-on users, I hit the Remove button before I thought about how to deal with consequences.

I’ve used it since it first appeared as Twitterfox, and it works well since I don’t use the social aspect of Twitter, and have it as an alert system for a few selected sources. It means I don’t have to check them as they pop up on-screen whenever something happens, and I can read the detail later.

When the latest Echofon update was installed, I initially thought they had just highlighted the latest tweet to arrive. It didn’t look relevant, but sometimes I get retweets, and ignored it at first.

Then I realised that the content was completely irrelevant, and worse, was an unsolicited advert from an American company – as useless in Scotland as a chocolate teapot is to a tea addict.

A quick check of all the available options showed that there was no choice offered, and that all option to block the ad-tweets had been removed. A look at the list of modifications to the most recent version of Echofon showed the inclusion of ads as the last item in the list.

Fortunately, there’s a simple fix to defeat the ads – provided the Echofon folk don’t do something even more underhand.

I checked the Echofon add-on page at Mozilla – they seem to have upset a lot of people, and possibly not simply be the addition of the ads, but by the imposing way they did it, and without warning. You don’t find out until you upgrade, and find the ad permanently planted at the top of your list of wanted tweets. That’s NOT the way to do it, and expect your faithful to remain faithful.

Placing an ad in the most prominent place in an application and forcing users to look at it every time they open the application is not the way to get it accepted.

Even Microsoft did not do something as blatant in its Office 2010 Starter freebie – it may be a nuisance and nag, but at least it’s a nag tucked away in a corner – not in the middle of the page of every document or spreadsheet you open.

Echofon for Twitter :: Add-ons for Firefox

I see it’s review rating has gone from a high of 5 stars (242) to a high of 1 star (348) the morning, after this ad stunt was exposed.

It’ll be interesting to see if anything changes – after all, if the idea of adverts is to bring people in, what do you do with ads that drive people away, and reduce your popularity?

It also makes the tagline that introduced their add-on look a bit sick – Full featured, super clean Twitter app for Firefox.

Super clean?


February 4, 2012 - Posted by | Civilian | , ,


  1. I ran into this post when Googling to see if the ads that magically appeared and took up the top 20% of my echofon window were related to some sort of horrible malware that I accidentally installed. Nope.

    In this post you mention that there is an easy way to remove the ads. Just to spell it out to anybody else who may find it useful: Mozilla maintain a version history of every addon so you can still get at the old ones. To find it, just scroll to the bottom of the Echofon download page, click versions, then click ‘full version history’ and redownload 2.3.6.


    Comment by @cmb | February 5, 2012

  2. Thanks for the tip – 2.3.6 now reinstalled. 2.4 must have been installed during the ‘upgrade’ to Firefox 10.


    Comment by Paul | February 5, 2012

  3. do you recommend any twitter addon for firefox ?


    Comment by Aravind (@netcitizen) | February 6, 2012

  4. I would have recommended trying:

    UrlbarExt :: Add-ons for Firefox

    But when I tried it after ditching (winding back) Echofon I found that the Twitter option was no longer working.

    UrlBarExt performs a number of other functions I use all the time, and because I don’t use the ‘social’ side of Twitter, its method of showing tweets suited my needs. Looks as if it is not connecting to my account, but I can’t see why.

    But it might be an issue with my return to using the Beta release of Firefox, rather then the current stable release (which I don’t really want to go back to).


    Comment by Apollo | February 7, 2012

  5. Thanks for the tip. 100% agree with your comments, especially ad relevance given I also live north of the border.


    Comment by Matthew Wasley (@MatthewWasley) | February 9, 2012

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