Adverts may be coming to Firefox in order to help Mozilla ensure its browser has a fiscally sound future.
It’s not as bad as it sounds, though – as the ads won’t be plastered all over the shop, and will be targeted at new users and the initial experience of using Firefox.
The ads will be displayed in the form of “Directory Tiles,” in other words, the nine tiles which are displayed, and are all blank for a new user (save for the “Welcome to Firefox” one), when you open up a new Tab in Firefox.
In time, these are filled with the user’s most-visited sites, and Mozilla isn’t going to change that – but it does want to fill the initially blank rectangles with “suggest pre-packaged content for first-time users.” The ads, in other words – although only some will be paid for, the company noted in a blog post, and they’ll be clearly labelled as sponsored entries.
The blog post stated: “We are excited about Directory Tiles because it has inherent value to our users, it aligns with our vision of a better Internet through trust and transparency, and it helps Mozilla become more diversified and sustainable as a project.”
Mozilla is heavily reliant on income from search royalties from Google, and has been for some time, so this would seem to be an exploration of other financial options – with possibly more alternative revenue streams to come?
Mozilla’s current royalty deal with Google expires in November of this year. Whether or not this arrangement is solid for the longer-term has always been a source of concern for Mozilla, doubtless enough, as of course Google has had its own very successful browser for some time now. In other words, eventually, it may decide to attempt to down Firefox…
As to exactly when Directory Tiles will be arriving in Firefox, that hasn’t yet been confirmed.