T: What is Tor? Well, if you want to browse the Internet without every click being recorded by Big Brother and Big Business you’ll need an anonymous chain of proxy servers. And amongst anonymous chains of proxy servers Tor is the “bee’s-knees”. It’s free and open-source, and you’ll find it right here! At present the Tor network contains a few hundred servers. We’d like to see a few million, each of them running an upgraded and completely distributed version of the Tor software.
M: But to achieve this noble objective we need to sell the benefits of Tor to potential sponsors and to those “sys admins” who have server bandwidth to spare. Now, when you want to sell something you consult a marketing guru. So we consulted JG. We don’t take to marketing people in general, but JG is one of the rarest of mortal beings, a “tame” marketer—one who asks the people what they would like to buy, rather than asking Big Business what it would like to sell!
JG’s Tor Strategy
First, you’ve got to inform the world that this thing called Tor exists. And then you’ve got to persuade the world that this thing called Tor is “fun”, is “me”, is “cool”.
Forget the human rights and “nanny” state angle: your average punter doesn’t want to hear about anything unpleasant; and should circumstances finally force him to think about it, then it’ll already be “fait accompli”. Taking care of “a stitch in time” is not one of humanity’s strong points. So just ensure you make Tor “fashionable” and “fun”.
Forget about trying to gain sponsorship based on “benefit to society” arguments. You can approach the corporate sponsors who have funds and appeal to their “better natures”; but that won’t work: corporations have “bottom lines”, not “better natures”. You can approach the “concerned organizations” who have “better natures” and appeal for their funds; but that won’t work: sponsors are organizations who make profits, not organizations who have principles.
But, if a corporate sponsor can associate his business with what the world at large “approves of” then his profits will grow. So, just enthuse the people, and sponsors will materialize magically, like mushrooms on an autumn morn’.
Ah! You can tell that JG knows his apples from his onions! So, how to put these wise words into practice? Well, how about an “I-Tor-To” campaign? Whenever you send an email or post to a news group just put an “I Tor to X! Do you?” or an “I Tor to X and Y! Do you?” in the signature line, where “X” and “Y” are your favourite sites. But make “Tor”, “X”, and “Y” into hyperlinks pointing to their respective sites.
Now, if even a modest proportion of the several hundred thousand Tor users did this, the world would soon know all about Tor. And assuming that we generally correspond with people who like what we like—the Prof informs us that from a mathematical point of view the relationship “to like” is frequently associative—then soon the whole world would like Tor too—how’s that JG, do I have a future in marketing? … Ouch! … Clearly, Tiffs thinks not!
Cutting Some Code
For those of you who don’t understand all this hyperlink business, here’s how. If, for example, you like Tiffany—and who wouldn’t—then you might sign that email or newsgroup post with a:
I Tor to Tiffany! Do you?
using the following code:
I <a href="http://tor.eff.org/">Tor</a> to <a href="http://www.nearlyperfectprivacy.blogspot.com/">Tiffany</a>! Do you?
or, if you can’t use HTML, then:
I Tor (http://tor.eff.org/) to Tiffany (http://www.nearlyperfectprivacy.blogspot.com/)! Do you?
Just cut and paste the code fragment above, replacing “Tiffany” and our web address with the name and web address of your choice; or, if you’re feeling really lazy, just use it “as is”—“she” won’t mind!