Increasingly online companies (such as Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest) have started to offer advertising on their sites. Recently, Mozilla announced that it will allow brands to advertise on its Firefox browser. Ads, that will be labelled as such, will be displayed on Firefox’s ‘new tab’ sites.
The new feature called ‘directory tiles’ only affects newly installed Firefox browsers. Normally, the ‘new tab’ sites show the nine most frequently visited user websites. After newly installing Firefox, the ‘new tab’ site shows empty tiles. As soon as the most visited sites are identified, these empty ‘directory tiles’ are gradually replaced. According to Mozilla the own sites will now be shown after 30 – 45 days and before that Mozilla will display its own sites, popular regional sites and carefully selected partner ads.
Darren Herman, VP of Content Services at Mozilla, explained the reasoning behind introducing ‘directory tiles’ in his blog: They are meant to enhance users’ first experiences with Firefox. Users benefit from being presented with relevant content instead of just empty ‘new tab’ sites.
Mozilla hasn’t announced yet when this new feature will be introduced due to Firefox still optimising the user experience. The ‘directory tiles’ will initially be introduced on PCs and then also on mobile devices.
There are speculations about Mozilla’s reasons for this move towards advertising and one could be that it wants to be independent from Google. At the moment about 90% of Mozilla’s income derives from the search giant. Denelle Dixon-Thayer, VP of business and legal affairs, however denied that this is an attempt to distance themselves from Google. She explained that the move isn’t part of trying to make more money but to add value for its users. According to Dixon-Thayer, Firefox is all about contributing to the growth of the internet and the new feature is a part of this.
Mozilla is known for encouraging users to increase their internet usage and at the same time protecting their privacy. Darren Herman stressed in his blog post that the company doesn’t want to profit from user data. At the moment it looks like Mozilla doesn’t want to conduct targeted data analysis but we will have to watch this space to see what will happen.