Story 2014-08-28 2RAB Mozilla rolls out sponsored link tiles

Mozilla rolls out sponsored link tiles

in internet on (#2RAB)
story imageYou'd think that Mozilla, whose Firefox browser is dropping in popularity alongside the now ubiquitous Google Chrome, would be desperate to incorporate new features that allow Firefox to regain its leadership marketshare. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the approach they're taking.

Instead, they've added a feature where new pages show sponsored advertisements. From TheNextWeb:
Mozilla has rolled out directory tiles, the company’s advertising experiment for its browser’s new tab page, to the Firefox Nightly channel. ... News of the non-profit organization’s plan to sell ads in Firefox first broke back in February 2014. The Directory Tiles program is designed to “improve the first-time-with-Firefox experience,” the company says. Instead of seeing blank tiles when a new Firefox user opens a new tab, Mozilla thought it would be best that they see “content.” ... As you use Firefox, the rectangle tiles on the new tab page are populated with the most frequent and recent websites you visit. Since they start as empty (because new users naturally have no browser history), however, Mozilla sees the new tab page as both an opportunity to provide “inherent value” to the user, as well as an opportunity to generate revenue.
[Ed. note: this article posted using Chrome.]
Reply 16 comments

Popcorn time (Score: 1)

by on 2014-08-28 21:06 (#2RD9)

Dammit, I do not have any popcorn left!

Re: Popcorn time (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-08-28 21:22 (#2RDF)

I'm not sure there's going to be much to watch while you munch on your popcorn. Firfox users are getting sick of all the bullshit and will start deserting the platform. Then they'll limp along a bit until Google decides to stop paying them the few million a year they pay to make Google the default browser.

Then Firefox will use DuckDuckGo as the default browser and try to make that choice into some sort of "power to the people' decision when the reality is that they got screwed.

Then when they can't hire developers, the platform will stagnate, fall behind on security features, and rot away.

Nice work, Mozilla, you bunch of asshats.

Re: Popcorn time (Score: 1)

by on 2014-08-28 22:21 (#2RE0)

Yep, I agree with your forecasts (even though they are just forecasts and we can be wrong). I do not see why Google would continue sponsoring Mozilla (except for a bit of openwashing marketing), not only because Firefox market shares decrease, but mostly because now that Google has locked such a large number of users in their system/services, these users will choose Google as search engine / start page even if it is not the default proposed by the web browser.

Re: Popcorn time (Score: 1)

by on 2014-08-31 00:49 (#2RXE)

Probably because Firefox continues to make Google its default search engine.

Default ads in my fresh browser? Great way to guarantee I never install Firefox again.

(Actually, I haven't since SeaMonkey and PaleMoon became available.)

Re: Popcorn time (Score: 1)

by on 2014-08-30 11:03 (#2RWM)

Last time the deal was negotiated (or details were made public), Google was ramping up their payments to firefox to remain the default browser due to increased competition from Yahoo and Microsoft.

Let's say firefox dropped to under 10% market share as a result of this, a substantial drop: Do you think that microsoft or yahoo wouldn't pay a lot of money to be the default search? And do you think google would happily hand over even a small percentage of their search revenue to their competitors? That's the lifeblood of the company, and they take it very seriously.

I wouldn't be surprised if mozilla's revenue dropped next time they renegotiate contracts, but that's okay. They're pulling in over $300m/year revenue and using that to cover a wide range of non-core and unprofitable projects. If worst came to worst, they could spin off all their other efforts and survive on a small fraction of that.

(disclaimer: I don't agree with a lot of their decisions, but I think they'll be fine financially for a long time yet)

Before everybody goes crazy... (Score: 1, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-08-29 02:19 (#2RGJ)

First off, let's not forget that this is nightly and not an actual released build, so, probably (if they are sane) they're not going to include it. If the do for some reason, it can be turned off. Lets not forget that one of the big draws of Firefox is that its super customizable. Having it on by default is uncool, but not the end of the world. Ubuntu had the same controversy with their in OS advertising. I understand why people are pissed at Mozilla, but I still think they're a good group trying to do good stuff. Everybody missteps.

I suspect this is going to come down to Coke vs Pepsi. Dr pepper wins anyway.

Re: Before everybody goes crazy... (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-08-29 04:12 (#2RHJ)

Super customisable. Right.How does one disable JavaScript in firefox these days?

Re: Before everybody goes crazy... (Score: 2, Informative)

by on 2014-08-29 08:28 (#2RK2)

Write about:config into the url bar. Then write javascript into the search field.
Probably it could be done from their standard GUI also if you dig deep enough into their option dialog.

Re: Before everybody goes crazy... (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-09-01 14:21 (#2RYN)

No you can't find it in the settings, the only way in the latest version is to use about:config.

Re: Before everybody goes crazy... (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-08-29 09:08 (#2RKG)

Install NoScript. It's a long time since I've last cared about the availability of the global option.

Re: Before everybody goes crazy... (Score: 1)

by on 2014-08-30 11:48 (#2RWP)

I'm still annoyed they removed the "Load images by default?" tick-box. You have to screw around in about:config now. It was rather useful for tethering, but apparently buttons confuse users.

Re: Before everybody goes crazy... (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-08-30 20:09 (#2RX4)

I for one will be glad when the "Buttons confuse users" craze comes to an end. It's led to a regression in usefulness in so many tools. Why should we be pandering to the mouth breathers? Power users need tools too, ya know. Remember when you actually had to read the manual because the new toy/tool was capable of so much? It's like that's anathema these days. Isn't the current joke that the Gnome3 interface is slowly being reduced to a blank screen with one big button, and the button is deactivated by default, or something like that?

Re: Before everybody goes crazy... (Score: 1)

by on 2014-08-31 00:51 (#2RXF)

For everyone who is pissed about having to dumpster-dive to find basic settings like enable/disable Javascript and load/don't-load images, my solution is prefbar:

And if you disable compatibility checking, it will work despite the browser's complaints.

Re: Before everybody goes crazy... (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-09-01 14:22 (#2RYP)

I can't recommend Pale Moon enough. The image loading setting is right there where it should be.

Re: Before everybody goes crazy... (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-08-29 11:21 (#2RMJ)

Fair enough - but you don't usually go to all the work to add code, just to not eventually release it. Plus, it seems they believe they are solving a real problem in a way that (cough, cough) just happens to earn them some money. On a fresh install, a newly opened tab will have 8 links on the page, but no browser history available in order to present you recent, frequently visited sites. What to do? Oh yeah, sell real estate.

I think Opera does this too, by the way. That allows me to ding Firefox twice: once for this bad idea, and a second time for copying Opera. :)

Maybe that's not so bad. Opera's preset "speed dial" choices are what helped me discover Reddit, which, believe it or not, i'd never heard of.

Chrome (Score: -1, Flamebait)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-08-29 03:54 (#2RHC)

So static links without tracking in Firefox, in an effort to get out from under Google's thumb... or the peverse tracking of Chrome.

Anyone who uses Chrome an complains about ads is a moron.