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Last post Author Topic: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles  (Read 6749 times)

TaoPhoenix

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Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« on: November 10, 2014, 11:50:05 PM »
Okay, Firefox just stabbed themselves in the foot with a fork again. (Less dangerous than shooting it! And if you keep stabbing it enough, it raises the bottom line! ... Uh... by treating the (slightly smarter than IE) userbase as ... idiots?!)

Now they have decided, after testing in the test channels, to roll out ad tiles in Firefox.

Fine, there's plenty of ads everywhere else, and we go through the big discussion of adblock vs whitelisting a very few sites.

But ads in the browser proper?! That just feels wrong on so many levels! That's just smelling like giving the FF mod editions a lead in the race. The first few Slashdot comments are up, and so far they're "restrained". (I used the new Firefox Forget button, and I now forget ... didn't Firefox lose their big Google revenue stream contract? So, did they hit a cash crunch that the CFO decided to fix with ads in the browser?) But more importantly, I'd half expect the other Big Companies to do this, but Mozilla?! They were (once?) "the cool kids". So how can they not know that some corners of their base won't be so ... restrained?!

So for y'all on Palemoon, I so hope they use this to further promote themselves.

Iceweasel came up, which is also a good option at least for Linux. Is there a Windows version of Iceweasel? I ignored long running performance problems because the rule is "assume incompetence before malice" ... but now they just added malice! That's enough to make me boycot them, and just use the derivative mod editions out there. So, besides a guess at iceweasel for Win, P-M I have, is there a third such mod edition out there so I can go back to my 3-copy set usage style I just started working on today?


bit

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2014, 12:51:18 AM »
I haven't noticed anything on my Firefox like this yet.
But I've got some old VCR tapes of movies, complete with tv used car commercials and other sales pitches, and you know what?
I used to hate those old tv ads, or not care for them so much, and now, the nostalgic value is incredible.
I mean, when I see the old movie, and then those old commercials pop up, it's like being in the past, before all the modern things that went bad and made the world go crazy (crazier than it already was) happened, and I wouldn't trade those old shows for nothing because of those commercials.

But as for your Firefox, nope, haven't noticed anything like you pointed out yet.

PS - I use AdBlock Plus and Ad Muncher.

app103

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2014, 03:49:47 AM »
Once upon a time, there were browsers with ads in them, in which you could pay to have them removed.

  • Opera
  • CrystalPort (very innovative tabbed IE based browser from the late 90's)
  • Plenty of others

But they all either disappeared or got away from that business model. I believe Opera was the only survivor from that era. (A shame, because I really liked CrystalPort and still miss some of its features)

And now here we have Mozilla that hasn't learned from the past and the mistakes of others, creating an even worse set of options with Firefox: ads or screw you, use something else...not even a paid option, without ads.


I haven't noticed anything on my Firefox like this yet.
But I've got some old VCR tapes of movies, complete with tv used car commercials and other sales pitches, and you know what?
I used to hate those old tv ads, or not care for them so much, and now, the nostalgic value is incredible.
I mean, when I see the old movie, and then those old commercials pop up, it's like being in the past, before all the modern things that went bad and made the world go crazy (crazier than it already was) happened, and I wouldn't trade those old shows for nothing because of those commercials.

This is different, very different. There will be no nostalgic ads involved.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2014, 05:17:40 AM »
I haven't noticed anything on my Firefox like this yet.
...
But as for your Firefox, nope, haven't noticed anything like you pointed out yet.
PS - I use AdBlock Plus and Ad Muncher.

Well, let's get into what variant of definition of "notice" you meant, and that's one reason I made the thread - because I didn't "notice" it either, for *both* variants of "notice".

1. Cruising along, (I'll get into Adblock soon), and happen to have tiles turned on, and then you make a new tab, and then suddenly one or more of those tiles makes you exclaim "Hey! I never visited any pages like that!?"

2. See this official announcement:
Slashdot's copy where I learned about it: http://news.slashdot...uckgo-search-and-ads

Venturebeat article: http://venturebeat.c...les-to-new-tab-page/

Key phrase that Slashdotters began discussing: (( Double Parens are mine))
In addition to ((the debut of the Firefox Developer Edition, Mozilla today announced new features for its main Firefox browser. The company is launching a new Forget button in Firefox to help keep your browsing history private, adding DuckDuckGo as a search option, )) and rolling out its directory tiles advertising experiment.

...

After experimenting with adding ads to Firefox Nightly in late August, Mozilla is now ready to start pushing its sponsored directory tiles to all Firefox users. Previously, Firefox’s new tab page would remain empty until you established a browsing history.

When you first launch Firefox now, a message on the new tab page will inform you what tiles are (with a link to a support page about how sponsored tiles work), promise that the feature abides by the Mozilla Privacy Policy, and remind you that you can simply turn tiles off. If you do turn them off, you’ll get a blank new tab page and will avoid Firefox’s ads completely.

Firefox users should “expect a lot more experimentation in advertising,” Mozilla Senior Engineering Manager Gavin Sharp told VentureBeat. That may not be what most want to hear, but Mozilla is eager to find new revenue streams, as long as it manages to keep the privacy of its users intact."



TaoPhoenix

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2014, 05:25:56 AM »
Now for the second half of "notice", I will pick either FF regular (and / or FF Developer!) and begin seeing what triggers an ad and how long it takes. (How bad are they blanketing the ads?) To do this I am turning Adblock off, "to give them their fastest shot at me", and then we can see what effect Adblock does with tiles if my turned off copy starts getting something and then other people don't. A bit loose for methodology, but the best I can do ad-hoc. What I most wanted to do was raise the topic. Normally I just turn tiles off altogether and someone on Slashdot says that also removes (most?) possibilities of tile-ads off.

Yeah, PS App I agree with you, but fortunately, by starting with open codebases, we aren't quite as trapped as back then, so those other FF-mod projects out there will be an alternative with (almost?) the same features as "brand FF". (And think, full circle, Mozilla was so feisty about their brand vs the Debian crew not budging, that's how IceWeasel showed up to begin with ... though I don't know what they'll do about this, if all they did was a logo change. Palemoon seems more active with direct code optimizations they feel are right.)

Edit: To best simulate a "normal user", I am also re-toggling "remember browser, search, and form history" back on, and not using any private browse pages. There's a small chance their ad-base is small and the ads may not show up for a while. But that's why the topic is here - DC is really good at having us "put stuff in the back of our minds", then waiting for updates in news.

Better yet, if anyone can stand it, let's do a mini faux award for "FF Ad Bingo"! The first one to get an ad tile wins! (Screen shot highly suggested so we can study it.)

Heh - it will be a little unnerving surfing the web "without a winter jacket" and the regular user tools!

Edit2: My tiles started off blank. I'm getting my first few "normal" ones in. PS I never realized how painful Youtube ads are without Adblock! 45 second ads for like 3 min of content! Start your percentage skeet shooter guns!
:o

Edit: I just got a sponsored tile! (Oh dear, I'm excited to get an ad. But just the first one. It's hell from here on out!)


« Last Edit: November 12, 2014, 05:32:43 AM by TaoPhoenix »

rgdot

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2014, 07:30:39 AM »
Once upon a time, there were browsers with ads in them, in which you could pay to have them removed.

  • Opera
  • CrystalPort (very innovative tabbed IE based browser from the late 90's)
  • Plenty of others

But they all either disappeared or got away from that business model. I believe Opera was the only survivor from that era. (A shame, because I really liked CrystalPort and still miss some of its features)

And now here we have Mozilla that hasn't learned from the past and the mistakes of others, creating an even worse set of options with Firefox: ads or screw you, use something else...not even a paid option, without ads.


As online business models go one can say lots of things of course but regarding Mozilla I wonder how long their Google relationship will last (I guess you all know how much of their income is Google based?) Tiles is probably the wrong way but if they are smart they have been looking beyond Google because even if it does last for a while longer it stopped being healthy once Chrome came along

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2014, 10:30:22 AM »
As online business models go one can say lots of things of course but regarding Mozilla I wonder how long their Google relationship will last (I guess you all know how much of their income is Google based?) Tiles is probably the wrong way but if they are smart they have been looking beyond Google because even if it does last for a while longer it stopped being healthy once Chrome came along

Sure, there's a bit of a lag sometimes between the length of the original contract for revenue (marketing) and the rollout of a new software offering (tech).

So I agree, Mozilla needs to find something new to do ... but not ads! But I don't know where it is either.


bit

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2014, 07:08:22 PM »
Oh, okay, I didn't quite pick up on what you meant when you wrote 'ad tiles'.
Yes, if you like using tiles that would be annoying.
I don't recall where the tiles option is, but I seem to recall switching it off and don't see it in my FF.

I suppose this may be what FF was thinking of when they created this new 'feature':commercials_cartoon.jpg


« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 07:13:26 PM by bit »

app103

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2014, 01:17:54 AM »
I suppose this may be what FF was thinking of when they created this new 'feature':

I am pretty sure what they are doing won't be comparable to Super Bowl ads.  ;)

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2014, 05:34:39 AM »
I got a sponsored tile! It clearly isn't based on browser usage - CVS is pretty generic. But it showed up in both my FF Dev Ed, and the new Nightly and my other Firefox main. Though of the big Co's, Cvs is pretty tame - they live by selling "stuff", not really by being wed-ad-only etc. But there you have it!

Now we just get to see what all this means - ads in FF. At least a tile is ... an image tile (for now). It doesn't do annoying Flash-y things.

FF Tile CVS 1.png

620A3E4520A62.png

First page of Mozilla Help on Tiles and stuff
https://support.mozi...o-tiles-work-firefox

Some clips:

"Enhanced Tiles
For users with existing tiles (History Tiles) in their new tab page, Firefox replaces the default screenshot with a better image. The Enhanced Tile is displayed only for sites that would have appeared on a user's new tab page based on their browsing history. The improved image is supplied by the site or partner and can include a logo plus a rollover image. "

"Sponsored Tiles
Any tile that was included or improved because of a sites commercial relationship with Mozilla have been clearly denoted as sponsored: sponsored "

"What data is being collected and why?
Only information about Directory and Enhanced Tiles on a user’s new tab page is being collected to help offer the most interesting sites to new Firefox users and improve recommendations for existing Firefox users. All the information is aggregated and does not include a way to distinguish between unique users. We are collecting data to make sure the tiles are delivering value for our users and advertising partners, and are only collecting the data we need to determine that.

Where does my data go/get shared?
Data is transmitted directly to Mozilla and only aggregate data is stored on Mozilla servers. For both Directory Tiles and Enhanced Tiles, Mozilla is sharing aggregate numbers with partners on the number of impressions, clicks, pins, and hides their own content received. "

"How do I turn it on/off?
You can turn off Enhanced Tiles by clicking on the gear icon on the top right corner of the new tab page, and selecting Classic to show only unenhanced History Tiles or Blank mode, which turns the Tiles off. "



« Last Edit: November 12, 2014, 05:44:20 AM by TaoPhoenix »

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2014, 05:45:49 AM »
Here's a tab page when I turned Adblock Edge back on somewhere:


It's not labeled sponsored ...
What ARE all these things? I haven't even heard of half of them! And why aren't they labeled sponsored?



2.png



MilesAhead

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2014, 05:51:55 AM »
I just updated via the Help About menu from 33.02 to 33.1 and got an eBay AddOn with button I did not ask for.  Do you think this is related?

I'm using Privacy Badger and haven't noticed anything else happening.

Edit:  Also, do you think I should forget about the Forget About It Button?


40hz

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2014, 07:48:04 AM »
"How do I turn it on/off?
You can turn off Enhanced Tiles by clicking on the gear icon on the top right corner of the new tab page, and selecting Classic to show only unenhanced History Tiles or Blank mode, which turns the Tiles off. "


"What data is being collected and why?
Only information about Directory and Enhanced Tiles on a user’s new tab page is being collected to help offer the most interesting sites to new Firefox users and improve recommendations for existing Firefox users. All the information is aggregated and does not include a way to distinguish between unique users. We are collecting data to make sure the tiles are delivering value for our users and advertising partners, and are only collecting the data we need to determine that.

I find it interesting that you can turn the 'enhanced' tiles off - but nothing at all is being said about how to turn Mozilla's data collecting 'feature' off.

Looks like Mozilla borrowed a page from the OpenCandy playbook.

BTW is "enhanced" now a new synonym for "sponsored"? :huh:

dantheman

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2014, 08:14:01 AM »
MajorGeeks gives us laugh at this novelty.

You may want to consider ViewMarks addon to change that page.
(Just wished it synced with browser clean history option)

Mozilla, where are you going?!

MilesAhead

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2014, 09:26:42 AM »
MajorGeeks gives us laugh at this novelty.

You may want to consider ViewMarks addon to change that page.
(Just wished it synced with browser clean history option)

Mozilla, where are you going?!

Is there a secret handshake to download these AddOns? They all seem to be circular links.

Edit:  never mind.  I googled.  :)

Edit2:  I have to say FlexBar is kind of lame.  I clicked the Menu Bar, it goes away, no way to get it back except restart.  Of course I forget the hotkey to restart(if there is one) so I have to kill then open, since there's no Menu Bar.  Strange AddOn.  :(

(Hovering the mouse per the docs did not work )

I'll try the ViewMarks though.  Currently I'm using FVD SpeedDial.  Ok but none of these dials seem to have everything just right.


« Last Edit: November 12, 2014, 09:46:22 AM by MilesAhead »

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2014, 04:54:55 PM »
I just updated via the Help About menu from 33.02 to 33.1 and got an eBay AddOn with button I did not ask for.  Do you think this is related?

I'm using Privacy Badger and haven't noticed anything else happening.

Edit:  Also, do you think I should forget about the Forget About It Button?

I'm a little confused because I forgot that Nightly (currently 36.0a1) "Eats" regular Firefox by somehow installing itself in the same place, whereas dev edition is somehow on a "different profile".

But the original point of the thread was about the tiles. If you got a weird add-on, to me that's worse news, but different.

I think the Forget button is like a parallel universe of "clear browser history" and fine for what it is. So for example you are watching 15 Youtube videos across 3 tabs, if you just "nuke the process" like in Task Manager, a fairly decent anti-crash routine will try to resurrect all your tabs. But you really wanted it all to go away, so the forget button is decent about that.

 

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2014, 04:57:54 PM »
BTW is "enhanced" now a new synonym for "sponsored"? :huh:

Good guess, but no. I'll let someone else tell us the diff between enhanced and classic, but my CVS tile is still there on classic.


app103

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2014, 09:00:54 PM »
Here's a tab page when I turned Adblock Edge back on somewhere:


It's not labeled sponsored ...
What ARE all these things? I haven't even heard of half of them! And why aren't they labeled sponsored?


 (see attachment in previous post)

What is that? Or better question, what browser is that?

I have Adblock edge installed in both Pale Moon and Firefox, and I have never seen a page like that before, with or without Adblock edge.

I have seen a page similar to that in Chrome, however. They were some sort of installed add-on apps in my father's browser.

Are you sure you don't have some other add-on installed that is making that page, or a bunch of little browser apps installed, matching those names?

rgdot

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2014, 09:55:55 PM »
Mine does look like that and I don't have anything installed to make them like that. I was under the impression that those are/will be the tiles we have been talking all along

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2014, 10:03:14 PM »
What is that? Or better question, what browser is that?

I have Adblock edge installed in both Pale Moon and Firefox, and I have never seen a page like that before, with or without Adblock edge.

I have seen a page similar to that in Chrome, however. They were some sort of installed add-on apps in my father's browser.

Are you sure you don't have some other add-on installed that is making that page, or a bunch of little browser apps installed, matching those names?

No, I haven't done a super rigorous test that other addons are creating that.

But I have new evidence that even with Adblock Edge on, the sponsored tiles come through.

3.pngFirefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles


app103

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2014, 08:05:18 PM »
What is that? Or better question, what browser is that?

I have Adblock edge installed in both Pale Moon and Firefox, and I have never seen a page like that before, with or without Adblock edge.

I have seen a page similar to that in Chrome, however. They were some sort of installed add-on apps in my father's browser.

Are you sure you don't have some other add-on installed that is making that page, or a bunch of little browser apps installed, matching those names?

No, I haven't done a super rigorous test that other addons are creating that.

But I have new evidence that even with Adblock Edge on, the sponsored tiles come through.
 (see attachment in previous post)


The original image you posted looked nothing like this one. It had an unusual icon located next to the search bar and a heading "8 Essential Desktop Apps" and the thumbnails featured icons on colorful backgrounds. That's what I am referring to.

This one actually looks normal.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2014, 08:49:31 PM »
What is that? Or better question, what browser is that?

I have Adblock edge installed in both Pale Moon and Firefox, and I have never seen a page like that before, with or without Adblock edge.

I have seen a page similar to that in Chrome, however. They were some sort of installed add-on apps in my father's browser.

Are you sure you don't have some other add-on installed that is making that page, or a bunch of little browser apps installed, matching those names?

No, I haven't done a super rigorous test that other addons are creating that.

But I have new evidence that even with Adblock Edge on, the sponsored tiles come through.
 (see attachment in previous post)


The original image you posted looked nothing like this one. It had an unusual icon located next to the search bar and a heading "8 Essential Desktop Apps" and the thumbnails featured icons on colorful backgrounds. That's what I am referring to.

This one actually looks normal.

What can I say?

It's all a complicated mess!


rgdot

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2014, 04:51:15 PM »
Interesting

----------

The next Firefox default search engine: Yahoo Search

Google Search has been the default search engine of the browser for the past years with Google paying Mozilla money for that privilege.

While Mozilla put the money from the deal to good use, it made it dependent on that money at the same time.

Ever since the deal was announced (first back in 2004) I had a major concern: that Mozilla became too dependent on Google and that Google would not renew the deal.

Mozilla announced a new strategic partnership with Yahoo Inc. that makes Yahoo Search the default search engine in the United States on mobile and desktop platforms.

http://www.ghacks.ne...engine-yahoo-search/

Deozaan

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2014, 06:37:03 PM »
I thought Yahoo has been the default search engine for a year or so in Firefox... Or was that just in Linux distributions? :huh:


TaoPhoenix

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Re: Firefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2014, 10:59:14 AM »
Just idly checking in on all this ...

Here is a new sponsored tile. But I see a difference here! "I could be wrong ( but I don't think so)" (Monk!) ...
But to me CVS is "friendly". Sure they look at the cereal you buy and cross-print ads for milk or stuff. But last I knew they weren't voraciously trying to own your life.

Check out this new one:

Sphere Info1 Annotated.png

Here's my screenshot of the top of the info page, with some notes. This looks like the next link to Minority Report! Google "just does stuff behind the scenes". This one directly takes your activity, parses it, then spits back *directly at you* "content you may be interested in."

B36323E451873E.pngFirefox begins its mass rollout of ads on new tab tiles

It looks like the guys in the ad dept worked on the wording to make it all cute and "yay the internet is mine!" ... but to me this takes the backbone to a whole new level, because of the direct ... threat ... to abuse what you do as hard as they can! (PS don't forget how cozy the cops are getting with data collection. This one pinpoints your entire web history right to you!)

So, to me this made Mozilla top of the list evil ... but they're telling us about it! Are any other browsers doing this without saying so?!

 :o  >:(


10. Abuse browser customers.
20. Brainwash them into thinking it's about kittens.
30. Abuse them some more.
40. (Black box processing goes here.)
50. Profit!!



« Last Edit: December 01, 2014, 11:18:25 AM by TaoPhoenix »