There were times when Mozilla announced that Mozilla will set the default settings to blocking ad cookies. But times change very quickly and now when a Firefox user will power up his browser for the first time, he will see tiles on the home page which will also have ads.
Mozilla is calling these ‘sponsored content’ but these tiles are ads by all definitions. Mozilla’s Vice President dealing with Content Services has said that the new Directory Tile program will have “pre-packaged content for first-time users. 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.”
He writes on that :
“The sponsored tiles will be clearly labeled as such, while still leading to content we think users will enjoy. Mozilla is “excited about Directory Tiles because it has inherent value to our users, it aligns with our vision of a better Internet through trust and transparency, and it helps Mozilla become more diversified and sustainable as a project. While we have not worked out the entire product roadmap, we are beginning to talk to content partners about the opportunity, and plan to start showing Directory Tiles to new Firefox users as soon as we have the user experience right.”
Mozilla definitely needs funds and there is nothing wrong about that because at this time Mozilla is heavily dependent on its agreement with Google which will expire in December 2014. Google pays Mozilla $300 million per year for remaining the default search engine on Mozilla. The last extension to this arrangement happened at the very last minute and Mozilla is likely trying to have a future even if Google does not renew this.