A few months back Firefox fans were outraged at the idea of Mozilla introducing ads in the popular web browser. Now, Mozilla is dropping these plans, fearing the lasting effects of such a move on the browser’s popularity.“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,” explains Johnathan Nightingale, Mozilla vice president for Firefox.
That being said, Nightingale says that’s not who Mozilla is. In the coming weeks, the Firefox pre-release channels will receive tests to see whether Mozilla can make things like the new tab page a tad more useful, especially for fresh Firefox installs, where there are no recommendations based on browsing 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,” the VP writes.
Before any of these changes make it into the official channel, the company will experiment on Firefox across platforms and talk to users about what they learn.
Back in February, Mozilla announced that first time users would be in for a surprise due to the introduction of pre-packaged content for the first time.
The tile placements were set to contain content from the Mozilla ecosystem, as well as from other popular websites based on the geographical location of the users. “Some will be sponsored content from hand-picked partners to help support Mozilla’s pursuit of our mission,” said Darren Herman, Mozilla vice president of content services, at the time.
These tiles were supposed to be labeled accordingly and the content tailored to the users’ tastes, although this last part was a bit confusing since new users have no browsing history.
This seemed to be Mozilla’s way of trying to get its hands on some additional funds since most of its financial success is owed to Google, something that many users don’t see with good eyes.