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Mozilla clarifies, defends Firefox ad position
ZD Net ^ | 14 February 2014 | Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Posted on 02/17/2014 4:12:46 AM PST by ShadowAce

The surprising news that Mozilla would start placing a limited number of ads on Firefox's new tabs page, Directory Tiles, still has some users annoyed.

Mitchell Baker, chair of the Mozilla Foundation explained and defended the Foundation's new ad program, but many supporters remain unconvinced.Mitchell Baker, Mozilla chair
Mitchell Baker, the chair of the Mozilla Foundation, explained and defended the new ads in the Firefox Web browser

According to Baker, previous attempts to add advertisement content to Firefox had been rejected by the Firefox user community. Baker described these as "features, bookmarks, tabs, and other irritants added to the product to generate revenue. We’d seen Mozilla code subsequently 'enhanced' with these features, and so we have a very strong, very negative reaction to any activities that even remotely remind us of this approach to product That’s good."

Firefox users would agree. So, what's changed?

Baker explained: "This reaction somehow became synonymous with other approaches that are not necessarily so helpful. For a number of years we refused to have any relationship with our users beyond we provide software and they use it. We resisted offering content unless it came directly from an explicit user action. This made sense at first when the web was so young. But over the years many people have come to expect and want their software to do things on their behalf, to take note of what one has done before and do something useful with it."

"We think we can offer people useful content in the Tiles," she added. "When we have ideas about how content might be useful to people, we look at whether there is a revenue possibility, and if that would annoy people or bring something potentially useful. Ads in search turn out to be useful. The gist of the Tiles idea is that we would include something like 9 Tiles on a page, and that 2 or 3 of them would be sponsored — aka 'ads.' So to explicitly address the question of whether sponsored tiles (aka 'ads') could be included as part of a content offering, the answer is yes."

At the same time, these won't be like normal ads. These sponsored results/ ads would not have tracking features." The emphasis is Baker's. Since maintaining user privacy has long been one of Mozilla's defining features, this should help reassure loyal Firefox users.

Baker concluded, "Pretty much anytime we talk about revenue at Mozilla people get suspicious. Mozillians get suspicious, and our supporters get suspicious. There’s some value in that, as it reinforces our commitment to user experience and providing value to our users. There’s some drawbacks to this as well, however. I’ll be talking with Mozillians … in the coming days on these topics in more detail."

On the blog, users expressed concern over the lack of detail about how this would work. Others worried that Mozilla was "entering onto a slippery slope where eventually 'monetization' will be the primary goal in deciding elements of the browser’s design rather than user experience. Already there are rumors floating around about such extreme future actions as getting rid of the ability to have 3rd-party add-ons due to their potential to disrupt Mozilla’s revenue stream somehow."

Still others disliked the way that the ads were first presented in a "shockingly amateurish" fashion. In the blog's comments, Baker agreed that it could have been handled better. She said, "Details are important and we would have done much better if we had gotten our steps ordered differently and discussed and vetted the details first."

She also explained that one reason why Mozilla is looking for more revenue is the cost of creating Firefox OS. "Building an entire mobile ecosystem is extremely expensive," said Baker. "Offering services is expensive. If we don’t do these things then we will not be able to offer people the tools for modern life."

Baker also hinted that Mozilla might also look at other ways to bring in revenue. "Other models could work too. Note that if we offer fremium services we might want to tell people about them, and maybe that would seem like advertising too …… lots of details involved in making any approach work."

Today Mozilla gets almost all of its funding from Google. Indeed, in 2012, 90 percent of its revenue came from its Google search deal with far less than 1 percent coming from donations. Clearly Mozilla needs to diversify its revenue streams lest it become little more than a branch of Google.

Still Baker realizes that Firefox's culture is very hostile to advertising. Baker added that "We recognize the slippery slope issue. We came out of that setting, where the product we built at Netscape was deeply damaged for this," and they've no desire to repeat those mistakes.

Mozilla will have to walk a very narrow line between creating its own native sources of revenue and alienating its user base. Baker is working hard to get Mozilla on the right path after its initial mis-steps. It will be interesting to see how well Mozilla can pull off this balancing act in the coming months.


TOPICS: Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: firefox; firefoxos; google; mosaic; mozilla; netscape; privacy
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I know that if they start placing ads where I can't block them, I will probably switch browsers.
1 posted on 02/17/2014 4:12:46 AM PST by ShadowAce
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Salo; JosephW; Only1choice____Freedom; amigatec; Still Thinking; ...

2 posted on 02/17/2014 4:13:01 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce

I’d rather pay $30 for a browser with no ads FOREVER and be done with it.


3 posted on 02/17/2014 4:14:58 AM PST by Dr. Sivana ("We are not sluts."--Sandra Fluke)
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To: ShadowAce

Aaaaannnnnd Mozilla adds to the internet search/demographic/content bubble.

Wonder if duckduckgo makes a browser......

KYPD


4 posted on 02/17/2014 4:17:59 AM PST by petro45acp (It's a fabian thing.....how do you boil a frog? How's that water feelin right about now?)
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To: petro45acp
There's always Midori.
5 posted on 02/17/2014 4:21:01 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Dr. Sivana

The ads on youtube really tick me off!


6 posted on 02/17/2014 4:21:02 AM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: ShadowAce

There are other browsers


7 posted on 02/17/2014 4:38:50 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: petro45acp

There are probably browsers using duckduckgo as default


8 posted on 02/17/2014 4:40:00 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: Dr. Sivana

GNOME Epiphany is in beta and Duckduckgo is the default search emgine


9 posted on 02/17/2014 4:43:23 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: ShadowAce

I would use Chromium or Midori or something. Anyone ever use Lynx?


10 posted on 02/17/2014 4:46:53 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: ShadowAce

I’d rather they fix the bugs and performance problems that have consistently gotten worse over the last 3 years than worry about writing another damn OS.

They keep this up and they’ll be gone in 5 years. They have lost their way like so many before them.


11 posted on 02/17/2014 4:53:30 AM PST by TheZMan (Buy more ammo.)
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To: GeronL

I use Lynx when verifying my ping list. It’s used in the script I wrote.


12 posted on 02/17/2014 4:55:47 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: GeronL

Midori also uses DuckDuckGo as its default


13 posted on 02/17/2014 4:56:38 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce

Open source ...right?

Someone could tweak the code and release it under a new name


14 posted on 02/17/2014 5:15:24 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: ShadowAce

On my laptop and desktop (Win 7 machines), I use FF 15. That was the last version that seemed to have less conflicts and problems. Mozilla’s rapid release is crap.

I also occasionally use their FF portable at version 23.

FF has become bloatware and caused more conflicts than it resolved. I had trouble with some versions and Adobe Flash, PDF files, etc.

FF has become more of a hassle than it is worth. It used to be a great browser.


15 posted on 02/17/2014 5:33:42 AM PST by TomGuy
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To: TomGuy

Agreed—it’ll be interesting to see it they get any flack over this.


16 posted on 02/17/2014 5:35:08 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra
The ads on youtube really tick me off!

At least, many time, you can click the 'skip ad' button after a few seconds.

Youtube has also become unwatchable due to the pop-ups during the video stream. Many times, the little X to close them doesn't even show up until you run the mouse pointer around the edges.

Many of these companies are doing the same thing they did to TV -- cramming them with commercials.


17 posted on 02/17/2014 5:37:36 AM PST by TomGuy
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To: GeronL; ShadowAce
I move between Windows, Mac OS-X, and Linux all day long at both work and home. I require a consistent browser environment that spans all three, having web/browser based tools (not to mention bookmarks, etc.) that need to run the same across all three.

Do you know of a cross-platform browser that approaches Firefox in capability, including (for example) both Flash and some sort of selective Flash-blocking add-on? I rely on being able to enable and use Flash only when I want it. And then there's GreaseMonkey which is an integral part of my Freeping experience...

18 posted on 02/17/2014 5:48:38 AM PST by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is...sounding pretty good about now.)
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To: dayglored

As I mentioned above, Midori is cross-platform, but I do not know about its capabilities.


19 posted on 02/17/2014 5:50:23 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce

bkmk


20 posted on 02/17/2014 5:50:31 AM PST by novemberslady
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To: ShadowAce

I use Firefox. I hate the new ads and was wondering if my popup blocker had failed. Glad for the clarification.

I hate hate hate the ads and do not “understand” and will likely get a Macbook because I want to be virus free which is why I use Mozilla instead of Internet Explorer. I want to be ad free too.

So this idiot broad has killed the goose that lays the golden eggs and Firefox is done.


21 posted on 02/17/2014 5:50:56 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: TomGuy

I had to update the newest version of Youtube on my droid last night.

Screwgle really messed that up. It lasted all of 5 minutes.
What a piece of crap. More tracking crap than any app. I have ever seen.


22 posted on 02/17/2014 6:04:05 AM PST by VRWCarea51
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To: Dr. Sivana
...no ads FOREVER...

You were probably an early adopter of cable, too. ;->

23 posted on 02/17/2014 6:10:13 AM PST by Paine in the Neck (Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; cardinal4; ColdOne; ...

We should all get everything for free, right?


24 posted on 02/17/2014 6:14:55 AM PST by SunkenCiv (http://www.freerepublic.com/~mestamachine/)
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To: TomGuy; Dr. Bogus Pachysandra
Many of these companies are doing the same thing they did to TV -- cramming them with commercials.

The same with talk radio. Around 25 minutes of ads and "news" per hour. It's aggravating.

25 posted on 02/17/2014 6:16:20 AM PST by raybbr (I weep over my sons' future in this Godforsaken country.)
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To: raybbr

It’s why I don’t listen to radio, or have subscription TV anymore.


26 posted on 02/17/2014 6:17:23 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: SunkenCiv
We should all get everything for free, right?

If the user is the product (and we have been for quite some time), then yes--we should get it for free.

27 posted on 02/17/2014 6:18:21 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce
> As I mentioned above, Midori is cross-platform, but I do not know about its capabilities.

I first saw Midori on my RaspberryPi. Cool browser. Unfortunately, on Midori's download page:

Warning!

You appear to be using Mac OS X, and this application is not compatible with that system.

Continue at your peril.

"Peril" is not what I need in my browser... not even a little peril (Holy Grail).

NOTE: I believe in compensating folks for the work they do. I don't mind ads that merely pay for the service provided. I don't want everything for free "just because everything should be free".

But I do NOT want the presence of "sponsors" to have the same effect they had on TV, which is to stifle content by censorship. That's the danger I avoid.

28 posted on 02/17/2014 6:18:53 AM PST by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is...sounding pretty good about now.)
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To: VRWCarea51

I am following the same path I did with XP several years ago — I quit upgrading most software, including browsers and Windows.

About 6 months ago, it seemed that every software upgrade created a conflict with some other software program.

Windows 7
Java
Adobe PDF
Adobe Flash
Firefox
IE 10 [MS auto-updated from 9 to 10. 10 caused some add-ons to quit working. I had to drop back to IE9 just to keep things working]

Every time I see ‘upgrade/update’ for software, I cringe. More times than not, I have had to do a system restore to a previous time just to clear out the new conflicts.

It wasn’t broke, so they fixed that.


29 posted on 02/17/2014 6:23:50 AM PST by TomGuy
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To: ShadowAce; SunkenCiv
>> We should all get everything for free, right?

> If the user is the product (and we have been for quite some time), then yes--we should get it for free.

The way I figure, I donate real money to Wikipedia (which has no ads), but I don't donate real money to Firefox, because they are supported almost entirely by Google, and Google gets a TON of revenue from the ads that appear all over the freakin' place in my browsers.

If Firefox starts with the ads, I feel like I'm being "charged" twice. I guess I'd have to start using AdBlock or something, but I'm never entirely sure what blockers do that I might not want. FlashBlock being the one exception to that -- unwanted Flash is an abomination.

30 posted on 02/17/2014 6:23:58 AM PST by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is...sounding pretty good about now.)
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To: raybbr

I have many TV programs that do not have ads.

In the 1970s, TV programs had typically 48 minutes of content.

Now, TV programs have between 38 and 42 minutes of content.

Half-hour TV programs have comparable reductions in content.

Broadcasters cut out parts of the older programs to fit them into the new lengths. In so doing, they cut out some content that is essential to the program.


31 posted on 02/17/2014 6:32:43 AM PST by TomGuy
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To: All
But over the years many people have come to expect and want their software to do things on their behalf ..

Similarly, over the years, many people have come to expect someone to wipe their butt, too.

Those eager to accomodate them are currently serving 2-4-6 year terms, depending on their level of expertise.

Hence our national toilet circling race.


In other news .. rather embarrassingly, I was unaware of this factoid:

Today Mozilla gets almost all of its funding from Google

Anyone have a clue as to whether the other browsers that use FF code under the hood are similarly beholden to Leviathan Jr ?

Frankly, this having to look for alternative software and/or updates every 15 minutes is gettin' pretty f'n old.

32 posted on 02/17/2014 6:56:12 AM PST by tomkat
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To: dayglored

I’ve found safari is good in the first two, though I haven’t used linux so can’t speak to that.


33 posted on 02/17/2014 7:11:58 AM PST by reed13k (For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothings)
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To: dayglored
I wouldn't get on the net anymore without AdBlock+.

If I need a product, I'll do the research to find what best suits.

Otherwise, I despise advertising - 99% of which is absolutely moronic.

If that makes me a 'freeloader' in the minds of some, oh well.

34 posted on 02/17/2014 7:20:55 AM PST by tomkat
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To: TomGuy
Broadcasters cut out parts of the older programs to fit them into the new lengths. In so doing, they cut out some content that is essential to the program.

I happened to notice on the Directv guide this morning, Brady Bunch has a marathon on TVLand and each episode runs 45 minutes.

35 posted on 02/17/2014 7:30:07 AM PST by eartrumpet
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To: ShadowAce

speaking for myself, when that annoying hockey penguin became unable to turn off, and i kept getting those annoying ads. i switched to chrome.
firefox needs me more than i need firefox.


36 posted on 02/17/2014 7:49:04 AM PST by camle (keep an open mind and someone will fill it full of something for you)
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To: camle
... when that annoying hockey penguin became unable to turn off...

I run AdBlock Plus and NoScript, so I don't know anything about that. I've never seen anything like that.

37 posted on 02/17/2014 7:52:29 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce
But over the years many people have come to expect and want their software to do things on their behalf, to take note of what one has done before and do something useful with it."

Uh, no we don't. The only thing I want a browser to do is browse. Possibly remember passwords.

38 posted on 02/17/2014 7:57:34 AM PST by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Still Thinking

Exactly.


39 posted on 02/17/2014 7:59:17 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce; Revolting cat!; GeronL

Wait until the ads are bought in block purchase by Obamacare (using your own tax dollars), the DNC, MoveOn.org (they bought a login screen, must view ad on Myspace blaming Booosh for Katrina than ran over 1 week), et al.

I’ve tuned out of tv, I don’t see such propaganda. could you imagine such banners appearing at the top of your browser all the time?


40 posted on 02/17/2014 8:10:55 AM PST by a fool in paradise ("Health care is too important to be left to the government.")
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To: TomGuy
 

In the 1970s, TV programs had typically 48 minutes of content.

Now, TV programs have between 38 and 42 minutes of content.

Half-hour TV programs have comparable reductions in content.

You appear to suffer from the common misconception that most people have. You have it exactly reversed. The commercials are the content. The shows themselves are nothing but a vehicle to bring the ads to you.

 

41 posted on 02/17/2014 8:12:46 AM PST by zeugma (Is it evil of me to teach my bird to say "here kitty, kitty"?)
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To: zeugma
You appear to suffer from the common misconception

No, not really. I have posted many times that TV programs are just filler between commercial breaks.

Hmmm. That even applies to radio talkies.
42 posted on 02/17/2014 8:17:11 AM PST by TomGuy
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To: TomGuy
That even applies to radio talkies.

I refuse to listen to Rush, Hannity, Levin, or Berry any more because all they do is talk for 3 minutes, then go to "a hard break." They use that excuse because it deflects blame from them.

43 posted on 02/17/2014 8:52:06 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: a fool in paradise

Yes. I got it on Facebook when all sorts of leftist causes were advertised on the FB wall instead of “friends” posts.

I turned on Ad Blocker Plus and a couple of other things and those ads are gone.


44 posted on 02/17/2014 9:00:32 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: yldstrk

I haven’t seen any ads on Firefox yet


45 posted on 02/17/2014 9:01:09 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: yldstrk
So this idiot broad has killed the goose that lays the golden eggs

Yep. Since it is open source, someone will take the code and erase the ads and call it something else.

46 posted on 02/17/2014 9:02:22 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: SunkenCiv

Not necessarily free. But if they start throwing ads in peoples faces and there is an alternative, it is a stupid business model. Like on Facebook, half the posts were ads for leftist congressional candidates and leftwing orgs. I am glad I got ad blocker.


47 posted on 02/17/2014 9:04:36 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: camle

I sometimes use a stripped down, Linux version of Chrome called Chromium.


48 posted on 02/17/2014 9:08:13 AM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: ShadowAce

NoScript is very nice.


49 posted on 02/17/2014 9:17:43 AM PST by csvset
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To: ShadowAce
I know that if they start placing ads where I can't block them, I will probably switch browsers.

The thing is, what other browsers are out there that can match the perform that Mozilla once gave us?

50 posted on 02/17/2014 10:29:57 AM PST by ducttape45
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