A group of activists have launched a campaign to persuade surfers to dump Internet Explorer (IE) and switch to Firefox.

The campaign - Explorer Destroyer - exploits a new Google scheme to pay users $1 for each referral to Firefox made through Google Toolbar.

"You already want people to switch to Firefox. Now's the time to get serious about it," campaigners proclaim. "Google is paying $1 for each new Firefox user you refer. Now you can advance your ideals, save people from pop-ups and spyware hell, and make some serious money."

Google did not return calls seeking comment for this story, but the search giant offers a standard $1 per user referral fee to sites that generate new downloads of Firefox with the Google Toolbar.

Explorer Destroyer offers site owners scripting technology that will detect if a visitor is running IE. If so, an alert will appear directing them to download Firefox either to view the site better or at all. Whenever a visitor switches to Firefox from IE, the site owner will get the referral fee if they have signed up to Google's AdSense scheme.

There are three types of alerts site owners can put on their page: "gentle encouragement," "semi-serious" or "dead serious."

At its mildest, IE users visiting campaign-supporting sites will be presented with a banner ad that invites them to download Firefox, while the sternest alert actually blocks site access to IE users.