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Mozilla will introduce sponsored tiles on Firefox start page

by Mark Tyson on 12 May 2014, 12:00

Tags: Mozilla, Firefox

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Mozilla's vice president of Firefox, Jonathan Nightingale, has announced in a blog post that the company plans to perform some experiments in the coming months including the introduction of sponsored tiles upon Firefox's new-tab page.

Some rumours have previously suggested that Mozilla plans to ditch this project after too many complaints and objections from users. However Nightingale has now made it clear that Mozilla is moving ahead with implementing the money-spinning change, which was first proposed at an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) conference back in February. The project will unhurriedly move forward as the company experiments with different new-tab page layouts which may well lead to include sponsored content in the future.

"These tests are purely to understand what our users find helpful and what our users ignore or disable – these tests are not about revenue and none will be collected," said Nightingale. "Sponsorship would be the next stage once we are confident that we can deliver user value."

According to Mozilla's official reasoning, the project is meant to be useful, especially for new Firefox users, since the new-tab page tiles are made up of pages regularly visited. For a new user with no browsing history it's obviously a bit useless, so some suggestions would be useful. The Mozilla properties and other "useful" (or in other words 'sponsored') content may benefit those first time users and help them grow into the Firefox browser. Importantly Nightingale has promised that Firefox will not be turned into a browser with "a mess of logos sold to the highest bidder; without user control, without user benefit."

With Mozilla's lack of other funding sources, besides deals with search engines (Google in particular) making up to around 97.9 per cent of revenue, it is hard to believe that the company only has first-time user experience on their minds. This is simply a new way for Mozilla to expand its revenue generating sources and a vital move towards replacing its Google income dependence.

We shall continue to watch what happens with the interesting commercial 'will they-won't they' Firefox dance. Would any HEXUS readers object strongly to sponsored site suggestions on the initial Firefox start page?



HEXUS Forums :: 17 Comments

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Personally I hope they do an option to pay a small donation and not see the ads. I understand that very little ‘freeware’ is actually free - they have to make money (at least running costs) from somewhere, but ‘sponsored tiles’ is only a whisker away from the start of a slippery slope.
and they wonder why they keep losing marketshare….I know they need money to develop the program but a ‘forced advertising’ page is not the way to go imo.

Obviously I don't want firefox to go anywhere but the dev's have seemingly lost the plot, they just are not listening to what the users want anymore, the amount of people trying to convert ff29 back to the old ui is pretty high on forums I visit.
Tpyo
Personally I hope they do an option to pay a small donation and not see the ads. I understand that very little ‘freeware’ is actually free - they have to make money (at least running costs) from somewhere, but ‘sponsored tiles’ is only a whisker away from the start of a slippery slope.
Like google!

Oh sponsored results in search, fair enough, you have to pay the bills, sometimes it's useful.

Oh you store my entire history, websites I've visited, emails I've exchanged, and target the adds, erm I guess that is kinda still useful.

Oh you are selling my information, how I react to brands, how often they are involved in emails….. ERGH.
LSG501
…the amount of people trying to convert ff29 back to the old ui is pretty high on forums I visit.

That's where classic theme restorer comes in handy - although not perfect.
I really dislike the default ff29 theme, when I first saw it I thought it was an addon playing up.

I only see the ‘new tab’ page for a few moments while I'm typing an address or search so that doesn't really bother me, however it does seem to be a slipperly slope!
Seems they have to make money somehow, i can't see the problem with this.
After all once you discover add-ons FF can be setup to show whatever page you like in the new tab.