Mozilla will soon start displaying the “occasional sponsored story” in the beta version of Firefox in a bid to reinvent the current model of web advertising. The sponsored story ads will be displayed via Pocket for Firefox, an in-browser tool that helps users save websites that they might want to revisit later. Mozilla acquired the web-clipping app Pocket back in February last year.
Mozilla started testing Pocket Recommendations in Firefox Beta New Tab last year, the test revealed that people started using New Tab more when this feature was enabled.
The company recently started testing personalized recommendations and Mozilla now says that it will soon experiment with showing the occasional sponsored story within Pocket Recommendations section in the New Tab Page in Firefox Beta. The company says that these stories will be shown to a small portion of users in the United States during the test period.
Mozilla doesn’t necessarily view this as a way to generate cash. It acknowledges that while advertising is the business model of the internet. “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 company says.
Mozilla says that it needs to conduct experiments like this to help create change and strike a balance between commercial profit and public benefit for the overall betterment of the internet. The company says that this responsible sponsored content model delivers personalization without sharing all of the users’ personal data with others and that it puts valuable content forward that’s not driven by clicks and is worthy of the users’ time.