Firefox to emit ‘occasional sponsored story’ in ads test

Privacy preserved, promise, because Mozilla wants to reinvent web ads

By Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor


Some users who bravely test betas of Mozilla’s Firefox browser will soon also test an “occasional sponsored story” as the browser-maker tries to re-invent web ads.

This story starts with Mozilla’s February 2017 acquisition of web-clipping app Pocket.

Pocket let users bookmark content they like, then sync that list of sites across multiple devices. The occasional sponsored post popped up among those lists.

At the time of the acquisition Mozilla said it would integrate Pocket with Firefox. And thanks to an “Update on Pocket and Firefox Integration” posted late last week we now know that will mean. Pocket’s powered recommendations in the content displayed when German, Canadian and US-based Firefox Quantum beta users click “New Tab” for a few months now.

Next, “a small portion of U.S. users” will see the sponsored recommendations.

Mozilla’s positioned this as not just a way to see if it can make some cash but its own contribution towards making web ads better.

“We believe the current model of web advertising is broken because it doesn’t respect user privacy, isn’t transparent, lacks control, all the while trending towards click-bait and low-quality content,” the outfit wrote. “We need to conduct experiments like this in order to help create change.”

Mozilla reckons the fact all its products are open source will help give users confidence that their privacy has been respected and protected, and that its implementation of sponsored posts will “Rewards valuable content, worthy of your time. Not driven by clicks.”

We’ll believe that when - or if – we see it. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily


More from The Register

Mozilla wants to seduce BOFHs with button-down Firefox

Control. Control. Control

Go away, kid, you bother me: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla kick W3C nerds to the curb

Web standards body dressed down in spec spat

Mozilla rejects your reality and substitutes its own … browser for VR and AR goggles

Enter another dimension, not only of sight and sound but of mind …

Microsoft concedes to Mozilla: Redmond will point web API docs at Moz Dev Network

Firefox, IE, Chrome makers: One manual to rule them all

Mozilla pulls ads from Facebook after spat over privacy controls

UK advertisers' society has also fired a warning shot

Mozilla edict: 'Web-accessible' features need 'secure contexts'

If an API or feature needs the 'net, it needs HTTPS under Mozilla's new plan

Aw, all grown up: Mozilla moves WebAssembly into sparsely furnished Studio apartment

Invites devs for tour amid ongoing construction

Mozilla sends more snooping Web APIs to smartphone Siberia

Light and proximity sensors blocked for Firefox 62

Mozilla releases voice dataset and transcription engine

Baidu's Deep Speech with TensorFlow under the covers

Mozilla extends, and ends, Firefox support for Windows XP and Vista

Even Extended Support Releases will be naked and alone as of June 2018