Mozilla is getting ready start offering sponsored content on the new tab page of its Firefox web browser. That might seem like an odd move from a company leading the charge against third-party tracking cookies. But it’s probably not as bad as it sounds.
Here’s how it’ll work. When you launch a new tab in Firefox you’re greeted with an auto-generated list of thumbnails for frequently visited websites. But the first few times you open the browser you might not see any thumbnails at all.
So Mozilla is introducing something called Directory Tiles. Instead of showing a bunch of empty boxes, users will see the Welcome to Firefox page, websites that are popular in your geographic location, and “sponsored content from hand-picked partners.”
The sponsored tiles will be labeled and those tiles should go away after a while as the new tab page fills up with your own personalized view.
So if all goes according to plan the non-profit that develops the open source Firefox web browser gets a new source of revenue, new users get some recommended content, and everybody wins.
Hopefully Mozilla can pull this off in a way that doesn’t instigate a user backlash like the one Canonical faced when it started including Amazon affiliate links in search results within Ubuntu.