Mozilla released “Sponsored Top Sites”, that in their words “top sponsored sites” (or “sponsored tiles”), this experimental feature currently being tested by a small percentage of users of Firefox in a limited number of markets.
Mozilla said it is working with advertising partnerss to place sponsored tiles on the Firefox home page (or when opening a new tab) which would be useful for Firefox users. As the goal of all advertising, the base is pay per click. In other words, Mozilla gets paid when users click on sponsored sites.
What does this change for browser users?
Mozilla said nothing changes except that users will now see advertisements in the aforementioned places. The foundation also goes on to say that this will not affect your browsing or user experience in any way, as it is possible, with just a few clicks, to disable the display of these ads.
At the same time, it reiterates its commitment to respect privacy. and notes that this is critical to its mission. To that end, it has stated that you will only work with advertising partners that comply with their privacy standards for Firefox and added that he currently only has one partner which is adMarketplace.
Also, you should know that when you click on a sponsored tile, Firefox sends information to its partners, only that the foundation guarantees that they only include technical data and that everything is anonymized. In other words, Mozilla’s partner companies cannot know who you are and, of course, will not access any private or confidential information.
“When you click on a sponsored tile, Firefox sends anonymous technical data to our partner through a proxy service owned by Mozilla. They do not include any personally identifiable information and are only shared when you click on one of the sponsored tiles, ”Mozilla explained.
Mozilla mentions that function code is available on GitHub so that interested parties can check the different aspects for themselves. The proxy appears to be built to hide the string from the client (removing the verbose version of the operating system) and removing the cookie headers.
This would prevent Mozilla partners from seeing your IP address and setting cookies. However, does this also prevent tracking? Mozilla did not address this point in the feature presentation.
Why is Mozilla betting on sponsored advertising?
In fact, this is not something new, since since Chrome has monopolized a large number of users, Mozilla has stopped receiving a large amount of income that came from Google and this led Mozilla to make the decision to dismiss at the beginning of 2020 to some engineers, explaining that the organization had to reorganize in an attempt to generate more revenue.
The goal was as clear as possible: Mozilla wanted to focus specifically on revenue-generating products. According to the organization, sticking with only free solutions obviously didn’t work.
“You may recall that we expected 2019 and 2020 revenue from new subscription products, as well as higher revenue from sources other than research. It was not the case. Our plan for 2019 underestimated the time required to build and ship new revenue-generating products, ”Mozilla President and Acting CEO Mitchell Baker said in a January 2020 memo sent to employees affected by the layoffs.
Yes OK Firefox is not a source of income at this timeMozilla is now betting on other products for the entire project, including the VPN service the company launched in 2020 in a variety of markets.
Firefox VPN is supposed to allow users to browse the web while remaining completely anonymous.
Finally, Mozilla says that the main idea behind Sponsored Tiles is that Mozilla is always looking for ways to generate income, in addition to that does not force you to accept this function to users and shows how they can disable them.
The feature can be completely disabled by following this path: Firefox> Options> Home> Top Sites> Top Sponsored Sites.