Mozilla defends the use of sponsored tab pages for Firefox

Back in February, Mozilla announced that it was working on a replacement page for the ‘new tab’ view in its Firefox browser that would suggest content to users as well as offering sponsored sites. The move was met with considerable backlash from users, with many threatening to drop the browser if the company added advertising to such a fundamental part of the browsing experience. Mozilla’s VP of Firefox, Johnathan Nightingale posted again today to reassure users that the browser wouldn’t turn into “a mess of logos sold to the highest bidder” and went on to say that it’s “not going to happen, that’s not who we are at Mozilla.”

A few months ago Darren posted about some experiments we wanted to do with the new tab page. It didn’t go over well. A lot of our community found the language hard to decipher, and worried that we were going to turn Firefox into a mess of logos sold to the highest bidder; without user control, without user benefit. That’s not going to happen. That’s not who we are at Mozilla. But we will experiment. In the coming weeks, we’ll be landing tests on our pre-release channels to see whether we can make things like the new tab page more useful, particularly for fresh installs of Firefox, where we don’t yet have any recommendations to make from your history. We’ll test a mix of our own sites and other useful sites on the Web. We’ll mess with the layout. These tests are purely to understand what our users find helpful and what our users ignore or disable – these tests are not about revenue and none will be collected. Sponsorship would be the next stage once we are confident that we can deliver user value.

What do you think?

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Written by Louie Baur

Louie Baur is Editor at Long Beach Louie, a Long Beach Restaurant Review site as well as Skateboard Park. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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