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You know those rectangles that appear when you open a new tab in the Firefox internet browser? They show your most frequently visited websites — convenient! — but soon they’ll also show a mélange of Firefox sites “and other useful sites on the web.” Bummer? Maybe. These are just the tests, still mainly aimed at fresh installs of the Firefox web browser and always to beta users, before the rollout of sponsored tiles.

It does sound like adverts are in the pipe, but it depends on the reaction to Mozilla’s initial tests. Mozilla’s Jonathan Nightingale says that, last time around, the reaction wasn’t as positive as his company hoped. “It didn’t go over well,” he states. Further, he insists that Firefox won’t become “a mess of logos sold to the highest bidder; without user control, without user benefit.” Nightingale and Mozilla are treading thin ice in this respect, as the company is associated directly with the open source movement. In so many words, the company risks offending its most hardcore, longest-running users: its core fanbase.

As Nightingale puts it, “Sponsorship would be the next stage once we are confident that we can deliver user value.” Don’t expect glaring McDonald’s ads anytime soon.


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