At the moment, IE6 still holds about 20% of the market (according to today’s metrics from NetMarketShare). That’s far too large a share for a 8.5 year old browser, especially one that has been superseded by successive releases of its own code by two versions. It’s far too much for a browser that costs too much to support, and despite several service packs still bears significant security issues. It continues to haunt the internet, acting like a lazy bouncer allowing the seediest of activities to go on unchecked.
I propose April 1st be "IE6 Dies" Day. It’s time that IE6 be shown the door. But we’ll need help.
This isn’t the first time people have called for IE6 to go away. But previously, these were developer-led challenges, all of which met the same problem: we’re not the ones who get to make that decision. All a client needs to do is pull out a report from their stats engine to prove why they need it. (Or simply open their company-issued laptop to show the IT-mandated browser.) Going against this kind of weight, we’re lost.
We need to go the other way. Not to the browser makers (they’re on our side), but to the people offering services that people want to see. Want to punish a child? Take away its access to its toys.
We need to call out to the Big 3 search engines. Google, Bing, and Yahoo: Block access to IE6. And I don’t mean provide a subtle hint page, I mean block it entirely. With a big, bold page that says:
We’re sorry, but your browser is no longer supported. Please upgrade to one of the following [insert browser list here]. If necessary, please contact your IT department.
Google’s already on this path. Microsoft has encouraged upgrades to IE8. Yahoo hasn’t really said anything yet, but I imagine they’ve thought something similar. Take these three pages away, and you cut off a primary tool that millions of IE6 users go to daily. With these unavailable for no reason other than a browser update, it should help drive that final spike into the heart.
So why April 1? Well, there’s the obvious reason: IE6 has been "fooling" us for far too long, and it’s time that we prove that we’re not fooled any longer. But a bigger reason is time: Namely, give companies some warning. The upgrade cost can be significant, and companies need time to get things in place. Frankly, they’ve had enough, but a sudden stop without warning can cause some pretty major headaches. (I may be a jerk, but I’m not without sympathy for IT teams, having some good friends who do IT, and having enough IT to respect the problems they solve.)
I can’t do this alone. For this to work, we need as many people as possible to spread the message. Tweet/retweet this message as much as you can (please use the hashtag #ie6diesday, if possible). Send them this message:
Dear Search Provider,
Due to the on-going security and support problems with Internet Explorer 6, I would like to suggest that you consider April 1 "IE6 Dies Day", and block IE6 from accessing your search engine. There are many other options and alternatives. http://bit.ly/bZTUej
[Your name here]
Here’s some quick links to get you started!
- Yahoo: http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/search/indexing/webmaster-01.html and http://www.ysearchblog.com/
- Google: http://www.google.com/support/contact/bin/request.py?bdpg=1&hl=en and http://googleblog.blogspot.com/
- Bing: https://feedback.discoverbing.com/default.aspx?productkey=bing
Spread the news. Let’s convince the search engines that it’s time for IE6 to die, once and for all.