Mozilla plans to place ads in new Firefox tabs

Mozilla wants to diversify its revenue sources, the company said

Mozilla is going to show advertising to Firefox users to increase its sources of revenue that now mainly comes from Google, the company said Wednesday.

Firefox will show sponsored links in some of the nine tiles users see when they open a blank new tab in the browser, said Darren Herman, Mozilla's VP of Content Services in a blog post. Other tiles will continue to show frequently or recently used sites.

For new users those tiles are empty, and to fill the void Mozilla's new Directory Tiles project will start suggesting pre-packaged content for them, Herman said.

"Some of these tile placements will be from the Mozilla ecosystem, some will be popular websites in a given geographic location, and some will be sponsored content from hand-picked partners to help support Mozilla's pursuit of our mission. The sponsored tiles will be clearly labeled as such, while still leading to content we think users will enjoy," he said.

Mozilla is going to start showing advertising Firefox because it is looking to diversify its revenue resources, a Mozilla spokeswoman said in an email.

"The majority of Mozilla's revenue comes from a single search partner and we would like to expand our resources to keep up with the evolution of the Web," she said. The Content Services team was formed to explore additional revenue opportunities, she said.

"Our search relationship with Google remains beneficial for both parties," she said.

Google provides the majority of Mozilla's revenue in return for it making Google the default search engine in Firefox.

With Directory Tiles, Mozilla hopes to shift the industry towards more user-centric approaches to digital marketing, and deliver a better user experience, she added.

Mozilla has not worked out the whole roadmap for Directory Tiles yet, but will begin to talk to possible content partners, Herman said, adding that Mozilla will start showing Directory Tiles to new Firefox users as soon as it has the user experience right.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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