Firefox may soon display Sponsored Top Sites on the New Tab Page
Mozilla is working on introducing Sponsored Top Sites to the Firefox web browser's New Tab Page. The New Tab Page is displayed by default when users open a new tab in the browser. It is customizable, and may display a number of items by default including top sites, highlights such as Pocket recommendations, visited pages, or most recent downloads, and news/announcement snippets from Mozilla.
Some of the elements are reserved to some regions. Pocket especially falls into that category as story recommendations are only available in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Canada. Sponsored Stories, also linked to Pocket, are only available in the United States.
A recently added bug to Mozilla's bug tracking site Bugzilla indicates that Firefox may soon display sponsored top sites on the New Tab page. The bug requests that a preference is added to Firefox to disable sponsored top sites.
Information on the implementation is not provided, but it is very likely that Mozilla is going to launch the advertisement in one or a small number of regions first. The United States is probably the best candidate, considering that Sponsored Stories is also only available to users of the country.
It is also likely that the introduction of Sponsored Top Sites affects only new installations of Firefox and not existing installations.
The main motivation behind introducing the feature is to diversify Mozilla's income further. The organization relies on search engine deals, and has an agreement with Google in place that brings in most of the organization's yearly earnings.
Mozilla has some data from its Sponsored Stories integration in Firefox, and it may have used the data to estimate the earnings that it could get from the inclusion of Sponsored Top Sites.
Mozilla is not the only browser maker that sells top sites placements. Vivaldi earns revenue from partner deals with bookmark partners; these bookmarks are displayed on the browser's New Tab Page for new installations. The Opera browser uses a similar system to earn revenue from Speed Dial listings.
Firefox users get control over the Sponsored Top Sites listings and can block these from being displayed in the options once the change lands in the browser. We have to wait for additional details to surface to find out more about the implementation, privacy, and other information.
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