Incorporating Ads in Firefox Browser is Mozilla's Way to Generate Revenue Away from Google Deal

By Joe Rizzo February 12, 2014

It just goes to show you that time changes all things. About a year ago, Mozilla was thought of as the villain of the online ad business. It was at that time that Mozilla announced that the latest version of Firefox would block third-party ad technologies by default.

A mere year later we have word that Mozilla is launching an ad business. It seems that ads will appear within the tiles of Foxfire’s new tab pages. In the nine block screen that appears when a new tab or window is opened through the Directory Tiles feature, Firefox will display targeted ads to new users.

Foxfire’s new tab page will also start suggesting pre-packaged content for first time users. In a blog post the following was said, "Some of these tile placements will be from the Mozilla ecosystem, some will be popular websites in a given geographic location and some will be sponsored content from hand-picked partners to help support Mozilla's pursuit of our mission. The sponsored tiles will be clearly labeled as such, while still leading to content we think users will enjoy."

In a prepared company statement, Mozilla said, "We want to see even more personalization across the Web from large and small sites, but in a transparent way that retains user control. The team at Mozilla Labs is focused on exploring ways to move the Web forward and has thought a lot about how the browser could play a role in making useful content personalization a reality."

It seems that the initial use will only be for new users. This accounts for a very small portion of the total number of users. Once these new users have built up a suitable browsing history, Directory Tiles will feature sites that are regularly visited and not just ads.

Darren Harman, who is the vice president of content services at Mozilla, said in his blog post, “We are excited about Directory Tiles because it has inherent value to our users, it aligns with our vision of a better Internet through trust and transparency and it helps Mozilla become more diversified and sustainable as a project. While we have not worked out the entire product roadmap, we are beginning to talk to content partners about the opportunity and plan to start showing Directory Tiles to new Firefox users as soon as we have the user experience right.”

Currently, Foxfire’s ad revenue is tremendously dependent on Google. A deal was made with Google to feature the search engine as the default internet search within the browser. Since the deal will be up for renewal at the end of this year, Mozilla sees this as an attempt to diversify its ad revenue.

Mozilla’s general counsel, Denelle Dixon-Thayer added, "We wanted to get away from being this window into the web that doesn't bring value. We looked at it from the perspective of how much value are we bringing to the user? We're not focused on bringing the most revenue into Mozilla. We're not at odds with having a commercial relationship with the digital media ecosystem out there."

This goes to show you what a difference a year can make. One year ago the idea was to automatically block ads, now Directory Tiles will display ads. A year from now Mozilla’s deal with Google may bring about some other changes. We will just have to wait and see.




Edited by Cassandra Tucker

TechZone360 Contributing Writer

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