from the you'll-take-this-improved-user-experience-and-like-it dept
A Mozilla blog post explains the new effort as such:
"Directory Tiles will...suggest 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. The sponsored tiles will be clearly labeled as such, while still leading to content we think users will enjoy."
The change isn't very exciting, it's not very major, and can be easily disabled. So why are a lot of Firefox users annoyed? It appears that a lot of the problems start with Mozilla being intent on refusing to call the ads what they are, while insisting the changes are somehow a great innovation in browsing. Mozilla's general counsel Denelle Dixon-Thayer, for example, tells CNET that the company is tired of being a "window into the web" -- insisting that these ads (without calling them ads) will bring more value to the end user:
"We wanted to get away from being this window into the web that doesn't bring value," to users, she said. "We looked at it from the perspective of how much value are we bringing to the user? We're not focused on bringing the most revenue into Mozilla," she said."Mozilla VP Darren Herman takes things a step further by insisting that previously Firefox was a "dumb window," and the practice of throwing a few ads on a page will somehow make for a completely improved and smarter browsing experience:
"Late last year it made a big hire in former kbs+ Ventures chief Darren Herman, who joined as VP, content services, who will lead Mozilla's ad and content efforts. "Mozilla is moving from a dumb window to the internet to a smart agent on behalf of the user, putting the user first," Mr. Herman said."Except you threw a few paid ads on a launch window, you didn't revolutionize recombinant gene technology. The kind of rhetoric Mozilla's using is the sort you'd expect from a cable company, which love to insist that the new $5 monthly fee on your bill isn't to make money, it's to "improve the customer experience." Mozilla is a nonprofit organization, and for more than seven years around 85% of their funding has come from Google for being the browser's default search engine. While most people wouldn't fault them for wanting to have a broader revenue stream, refusing to call a spade a spade clearly isn't helping the sales pitch.