He announced with a bang that his organization is making a dramatic U-turn by adopting ads on Firefox: Darren Herman, Mozilla's vice president of Content Services, spoke to ClickZ to clarify a few points we were left wondering about.
The official announcement was made live at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) annual leadership conference in Palm Springs, California, but Mozilla's blog post gave a few more clues. For instance, it explained how the revenues generated by the ads, which the organization refers to as "sponsored content," will finance Mozilla. It also provided elements of clarification on the process of the system testing and subsequent roll-out. For background on the announcement and to better understand the following discussion, we invite you to read ClickZ's piece on Mozilla (finally) embracing ads.
ClickZ (CZ): Can you elaborate more on the declared nonprofit mission of Firefox and the fact that the ads – "sponsored content" – will be providing support to Mozilla's overarching mission?
Darren Herman (DH): Mozilla remains proudly nonprofit and that allows us to focus on solutions like these, which we believe will help create the Internet that users need. The revenue we derive from sponsored content will be re-invested to continue making products, empowering communities, teaching skills, and shaping environments that help build the Internet the world needs.
CZ: Is Mozilla going to shift to a new model? How?
DH: Historically, Mozilla has had one dominant model for generating revenue to sustain our mission. We are looking to diversify our revenue, thus, create different models that help us be more impactful with our mission. Yesterday we outlined to staff and the advertising industry a new approach to the first-time experience for Firefox users. At this stage we are only planning to roll this out to first-time users; we will assess feedback from users before deciding whether to extend it to others.
CZ: What is the feedback so far about the User Personalization (UP) initiative?
DH: In December we released the first of several UP Research Studies to a sample of Mozilla’s Test Pilot audience. This first study will give us insight into how well Firefox can match interests on the client using browsing history. Users who opt in to participate are giving us valuable insights into which algorithms perform best and good initial signals that we are moving in the right direction. If you’d like to join the nearly 5,000 people already in the study, you can install the add-on directly from AMO [the site dedicated to Add-ons for MOzilla].
Conclusion: Keep your eyes on this man and on Mozilla.
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Liva Judic joined Search Engine Watch and ClickZ in May 2010 as a news blogger. She has lived and worked across the globe in Madagascar, Switzerland, London, NYC, Asia and is now based in between New York and Berlin.
Her background is in government relations and financial media where she started out as a journalist at Bloomberg and became senior editor at AFX news (now part of ThomsonReuters). Prior to forming her own consultancy Judic was head of international PR for a head of state.
Judic focuses on facilitating brand and marketing transitioning for European startups moving to the US. She has been named one of the Top 50 Industry Influencers of 2014 by AGBeat
March 19, 2014