When a company or organizations wants to make money from one of their products, but knows that charging people to use it would most-likely cause them to switch to a competitor, they usually turn to advertising or premium subscriptions. Mozilla chose the former when looking for ways to monetize Firefox, but for an organization whose ethics tend to put it against the online advertising industry, finding a way to use advertisements without going against its own moral codes has seriously limited its options. Because of this, Mozilla has decided to do away with its advertising experiment, such as the ad-filled New Tab page, in favor of content discovery.
It’s no secret Mozilla has been toying with ideas to monetise Firefox, with one “experiment” including advertisement-filled home page tiles. After trialling the feature for a while, Mozilla has decided to give it the axe. As Darren Herman, the organisation’s VP of content services explains, Mozilla wants to shift its focus to “content discovery” over ad-serving. It wants to provide stuff that’s “relevant, exciting and engaging”, which I’m sure we can all agree, ads are definitely not: “We want to deliver that type of content experience to our users, and we know that it will take focus and effort to do that right … We have therefore made the decision to stop advertising in Firefox through the Tiles experiment in order to focus on content discovery. We want to thank all the partners who have worked with us on Tiles. Naturally, we will fulfill our current commitments as we wind down this experiment over the next few months.” The post itself is chock full of buzzwords, but that’s to be expected, especially when Herman goes on to mention that it hasn’t given up entirely on the ad front: “We believe that the advertising ecosystem needs to do better -– we believe that our work in our advertising experiments has shown that it can be done better. Mozilla will continue to explore ways to bring a better balance to the advertising ecosystem for everyone’s benefit, and to build successful products that respect user privacy and deliver experiences based upon transparency, choice and control.”