firefox-pic

Mozilla (Finally) Embraces Ads

  |  February 12, 2014   |  Comments

After years of declining the use of ads and fighting the very principle, Mozilla has finally given in with its Directory Tiles initiative.

firefox-picAfter years of declining to use ads and even fighting them, Mozilla has finally given in with its Directory Tiles initiative. Announced at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) annual leadership conference that just concluded in Palm Springs, California, the program's goal is twofold: bring browser personalization to a new level, and finance Mozilla itself. The newly launched Firefox Accounts and Firefox Sync services should help further down the line. Read on.

In a blog post, Mozilla explains it will sell the ads on the blank webpages that get displayed when a first-time Firefox user opens a tab. Nine rectangles will be presented and filled with content coming from across Mozilla's properties. They will also include "sponsored content," according to Darren Herman, vice president of content services.

This is what an empty page looks like, without the advertisers and brands yet.

mozilla-blank-newtab

Faithful to its open-source vision and approach, Mozilla had softly introduced the move last summer with a first step called "User Personalization," whereby Firefox users would agree to share their interests with other sites, on an opt-in basis only. At the time, the company had explained the advantages of having a contextualized Web experience, as well as the challenges of privacy - a point that is being handled openly by Mozilla as far as the Directory Tiles and transparency are concerned. "The sponsored tiles will be clearly labeled as such, while still leading to content we think users will enjoy," Herman wrote.

Reading between the lines, so far, there doesn't seem to be quite enough deals on the table yet for the product to be rolled out immediately. No clear timeline is available, either.

Meanwhile, the launch yesterday of Firefox Accounts should definitely help the company expand the program further down the line. Firefox Accounts allow users to log into their own browser experience everywhere they go. This will mean that Mozilla will be able to continue to serve tailored content and targeted ads, regardless of which device users are on, including whether the device is theirs or not.

Firefox Sync, also new, is the engine – so to speak – that will enable users to transport their browsing data, including open tabs, to wherever they are going geographically and device-wise. Sound familiar? Yes, this is just like Google accounts.

For now, though, the services are being tested and are only available to Firefox Aurora users who will provide feedback before the full rollout of the Firefox Accounts.

Now back to the Directory Tiles. Mozilla is transparent about it: The ads – let's call them what they are – will both serve the user in bringing relevant content and support the organization by providing it with a new revenue stream. Their exact words are, "Directory Tiles...helps Mozilla become more diversified and sustainable as a project." A little surprising, to say the least, as Firefox brands itself as nonprofit: "Firefox is fundamentally driven by the Mozilla mission rather than business concerns," is what their website says.

In this, Mozilla is truthful to its mission "to promote openness, innovation, and opportunity on the Web." Or maybe not?

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Liva Judic

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 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Search newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?

Jobs

    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...