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    I think this is huge. It reminds me of the early days of Firefox (back then still known as Phoenix) in a world where IE6 and pop-up ads dominated. At launch IE6 was really the best and most innovative browser of it’s time (IMHO). But after IE6 had beaten Netscape, Microsoft stopped putting money in IE development and the situation got worse over time. It was Phoenix with, among other things, a pop-up blocker that was on by default that brought down Internet Explorers hegemony.

    Today, with Chrome being dominant the situation is different because Google is still innovating Chrome at light speed. The one and only Achilles heel to beat this giant is by attacking their business model, which is to enable ad blocking by default. I expect this is something people want, just like pop-up blockers back in the days. Google will never be able to lead, or even follow in this direction without changing their business model.

    Unfortunately, Mozilla’s own business model also heavily relies on selling ads, albeit indirectly. According to this statement from an independent audit report:

    Note 10 - Concentrations of Risk:

    Mozilla has entered into contracts with search engine providers for royalties which expire through November 2020. Approximately 93% and 94% of Mozilla’s royalty revenues were derived from these contracts for 2017 and 2016, respectively, with receivables from these contracts representing approximately 75% and 79% of the December 31, 2017 and 2016 outstanding receivables.

    In other words, $539 Million, which is 93% of their total revenue, comes from companies that have selling ads as their business model (Baidu, Google, Yahoo and Yandex).

    I really hope Mozilla will be able to change this revenue stream to better align with their mission[1]. They have been trying to diversify their revenue since 2014 and although they might not be as dependent on Google as they once were, they’re still almost fully dependent on ads.

    Oh, and yeah, of course simply making a better browser than Chrome would also help ;)

    Background:

    [1] https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/mission/ “An Internet that truly puts people first, where individuals can shape their own experience and are empowered, safe and independent.”

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      I really hope Mozilla will be able to change this revenue stream to better align with their mission[1]. They have been trying to diversify their revenue since 2014 and although they might not be as dependent on Google as they once were, they’re still almost fully dependent on ads.

      This is the million dollar question / problem. The world does not run on fairy dust and good intentions. Figuring out HOW to better align with their mission is a decidedly non trivial problem, and I’d wager that were it not they’d have done this already, because everybody and their uncle likes to carp about Mozilla.

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        I think they should introduce a pro-version with a different firefox icon for 5$/month, I would buy it.

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          So… they’d need to find ~10 million people like you who will pay for an icon in order to be able to replace their ad-related revenue stream. I doubt that’s going to happen, or that they’re even going to have any viable revenue stream out of this.

          As the amount in question is $500M/year, Mozilla’s problem is similar to the situation that large corporations face, where they are unable to enter many markets because they are just too small. Mozilla needs to find large revenue streams, and it’s impossible for them to combine lots of tiny revenue streams (by doing things like you suggested) because the overhead would be too high.

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            I don’t agree. First, I don’t understand why browser development (since we are talking about firefox) should cost $500M/year. Second: Diversification. Icon was just one proposal, another can be payed VPN, another can be enterprise features proposed in this thread. (Hated) pocket integration is another one. Mozilla in some sense reminds me of Europe that for 20 years cannot diversify itself from the russian gas (money coming from the ads companies).

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              My point is that you can’t replace $500M/year with tiny revenue streams like that. You’d need hundreds of them, and it’s simply unmanageable.

              Why it costs so much: it’s probably because there’s a lot more than just one browser. Whether there really need to be so many projects is another question, I don’t really know the answer to that.

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                One problem I expect they have is that shrinking costs is really hard, and growing them really easy. The vast majority of it is probably salaries. Trying to shrink from $500M/year to $50M/year (say) would mean getting rid of roughly 9/10 employees!

                To do this successfully you’d need to retain quality employees, and make sure that the administrative staff shrunk as much as (or more than) the engineering staff. Not something that is easy to do while firing 90% of your staff, going on a very long hiring freeze, or so on.

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              I said this a long time ago. Make some privacy-focused, enterprise offerings on top of it with good service. Additionally, an auditability-focused version supporting logging, messaging, etc. Enterprises buy lots of that stuff, too.

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                We’re getting there. There was already a VPN service that we experimented with at the end of last year (I believe signups are closed now) and there are other ideas in the works as well.

                The hard part is figuring out what is acceptable to charge for. The last thing we would want is a world where users need to pay for increased privacy. Enterprise offerings could certainly fit the bill.

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                  Have you considered EU sponsoring?

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                    I am very far removed from this process, all I know is what’s been shared by leadership internally :). But from what I can tell there have been a ton of ideas and the process has been very thorough. I’d be surprised if this hasn’t been considered.

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                    ahal, start with changing the icon ;) Once the infra for two repos is set, you will see where it brings you.

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                  As would I, however you don’t have to look far at all to see that this amounts to good intentions. Sure, a few of us would pony up, but the VAST majority of users simply will not. They want a free lunch.

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                Yeah, just think of the speed benefit they could brag about by simply blocking all ads by default too. Privacy is great by itself, but imagine the wow of being 2x or 3x faster than the “fast” google chrome with such a simple change on top of it!

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                I like it, but the number of times I have to tell Privacy Badger that a domain is a legitimate API versus a tracker does not inspire confidence in this being painless.

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                  Actual link contained in the sub-tweet. It barely says anything and it’s nothing offical from Mozilla.

                  As I, @friendlysock and others have implored others for a while: please do not link news. That’s not what this site is about, nor what it should be about. Other sites do news already. Lobste.rs shouldn’t. And it’s very rare that Twitter submissions are worthy.

                  Here’s the full content of the article linked in the article that you eventually get to by following the submission (emphasis added). It’s extremely light. The quote making up the title isn’t even from someone at Mozilla. If what the title of the submission says is true, it would be helpful to see it from Mozilla itself, not an unsourced blurb from a writer on Fast Company.

                  When Facebook users learned last March that the social media giant had given their sensitive information to political-data firm Cambridge Analytica, Mozilla (parent company of the security-focused browser Firefox) reacted fast: Within eight hours, the product team had built a browser extension called the Facebook Container. The plug-in, now the most popular browser extension Mozilla has ever built (1.5 million downloads and 500,000 monthly active users), prevents Facebook from trailing its users around the internet. Firefox Monitor, a service Mozilla launched in September, uses your email address to determine whether your personal info has been compromised in a breach. By summer 2019, the Firefox browser will also block, by default, all cross-site third-party trackers, strengthening privacy without your having to do a thing (unlike Firefox’s biggest competitor, Google Chrome). “We want to make it simple for people to create walls around data that’s important to them,” says Denelle Dixon, Mozilla’s COO.

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                    Actual link contained in the sub-tweet. It barely says anything and it’s nothing offical from Mozilla.

                    Although Jen Simmons, the one making the quote is Designer Advocate at Mozilla.

                    As I, @friendlysock and others have implored others for a while: please do not link news. That’s not what this site is about, nor what it should be about. Other sites do news already. Lobste.rs shouldn’t.

                    Fair enough. Maybe we should add that to the story submission guidelines.

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                      Although Jen Simmons, the one making the quote is Designer Advocate at Mozilla.

                      Maybe she’s being coy since she’s only quoting the article. Regardless, it’s not an official statement so it’s all conjecture at this point.

                      Maybe we should add that to the story submission guidelines.

                      This is a good point. We should talk about in the IRC channel.

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                    I believe that the European cookies directive should be addressed to browser creators, not website owners. Let’s be honest: Google and Mozilla are dependent on advertising money and unless forced by legislation they will not protect their users.

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                      In your opinion, which legislation forced this move by Mozilla then?

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                        I haven’t heard this idea earlier. It sounds like a really good idea.

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                        including google analytics?

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                          Any third-party *analytics domain (and those with different names but known to be used for similar purposes) has been blocked for a long time now here, if you rely on those statistics to be correct you’re sadly out of luck.

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                            what’s “here”?

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                              Here on the farm in the Swedish countryside, here on the networks managed by me from there. It does not matter where here is, what matters is that there are folks out there who pro-actively have been filtering non-essential content from the web for a long time now. Since I am surely not the only one who has been doing this the reliability of the data gathered by these analytics packages will by definition be skewed towards that part of the populace which does not do any filtering.

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                                i get that, but that’s not why i was asking whether firefox will block it.

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                          Does this mean if we have google analytics or mixpanel or anything else on our site, we’ll lost these functionalities?

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                            in theory, any analytics package should continue to work just fine in terms of giving you tracking data on visits and hits on your site. blocking 3p cookies will largely stop third parties from tracking your visitors across sites unrelated to yours.

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                              Safari blocks third party cookies already. It’s likely your “analytics” are already incorrect.

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                                No, they will block only domains on disconnect.me blacklist. See the link in my comment above.

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                                Related to privacy enhancements I always wonder what the effect on perceived user numbers are, because I would argue that on average Firefox, Linux, BSD, etc. users might be a lot more security minded.

                                Of course this is also true for Internet Explorer setting DNT per default.

                                While I don’t think the difference is enormous one has to keep in mind that a big factor of various statistics about the web (Alexa, Browserstats, Netcraft, …) are browser bars which not too rarely are installed by people not unchecking boxes in “freeware”.

                                Again, while I don’t think it makes a huge difference overall I once tried using these browser extensions and was able to produce thousands of users for an empty page that only was hit by me and some bots according to the access logs. This of course was a completely unscientific experiment, but it worked for that test website as well as a blog that didn’t have any third party content or Javascript, but isn’t small visitor wise at all. According to websites like Alexa and others visitors from my country all of a sudden were the major part which I consider unlikely to just have happened during that test.

                                On the other hand Chrome has a lot of intention to be tracked at least by Google to show leads to a certain page by the search engine or advertisements, since that’s where the money comes from.

                                While I don’t think manually changing settings makes a huge difference of the overall picture, I think defaults certainly can have, so I’d imagine not having cookies can either have an impact of not being tracked or being tracked multiple times, as since people are maybe not recognized to have visited. While I know that cookies aren’t the only way here they might still be a factor.