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.

Firefox New Tab page

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.

via AdAge

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6 replies on “Mozilla to sell ad space in Firefox new tab page”

  1. This is just the first step in getting Firefox users conditioned to accepting paid commercial advertising delivered by the browser software.

    Most Firefox users are on Windows, and Windows users have tolerated adware for many years.

    The corporate bean counters will want to open up more revenue streams in the future.

    Targeted advertising will be so easy by means of the “browsing history” and “cookie cache”.

    The new design of Australis may well have been motivated by making advertising panels as part of the browser frame so much easier to incorporate in future which was probably not so easy with the old GUI style and code.

  2. The links are “popular in your geographic location” sounds like they are tracking you. I imagine some people will have a problem with this.

    1. For all those who are mad, this is just like Maxthon or Opera, or even Chrome.

      They do exactly the same thing. Opera has premade tiles on the speed dial page (Facebook, amazon, …) , that redirect the user to the site via an url :

      The opera premade tiles are also tailored to your region, I have “Zalando” which is a company only in France.

      Maxthon also has those premade tiles (even more than Opera).

      On Chrome’s side, it uses user’s history to sell ads, and their new tab page is an advertisement to Google products.

      I think Mozilla is the only company daring to tell the truth here.

  3. Are these just links with a thumbnail? Will the ads only go away if I fill up the tab page? I assume Mozilla has some sort of monitoring on what ads show up. I block ads mainly because they’re a prime source of malware not just user tracking. Even the ads on Google’s site can send you to a malware site (rarely though).

    1. “Will the ads only go away if I fill up the tab page?”

      Yes, exactly this. (Source: )

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