1. 11
  1.  

  2. 25

    I think ads are the worst way to support any organization, even one I would rate as highly as Mozilla. People however are reluctant to do so otherwise, so we get to suffer all the negative sides of ads.

    I just donated to Mozilla with https://donate.mozilla.org, please consider doing the same if you think ads/sponsored stories are the wrong path for Firefox.

    1. 14

      Mozilla has more than enough money to accomplish their core task. I think it’s the same problem as with Wikimedia; if you give them more money, they’re just going to find increasingly irrelevant things to spend it on. Both organizations could benefit tremendously from a huge reduction in bureaucracy, not just more money.

      1. 9

        I’ve definitely seen this with Wikimedia, as someone who was heavily involved with it in the early years (now I still edit, but have pulled back from meta/organizational involvement). The people running it are reasonably good and I can certainly imagine it having had worse stewardship. They have been careful not to break any of the core things that make it work. But they do, yeah, basically have more money than they know what to do with. Yet there is an organizational impulse to always get more money and launch more initiatives, just because they can (it’s a high-traffic “valuable” internet property).

        The annual fundraising campaign is even a bit dishonest, strongly implying that they’re raising this money to keep the lights on, when doing that is a small part of the total budget. I think the overall issue is that all these organizations are now run by the same NGO/nonprofit management types who are not that different from the people who work in the C-suites at corporations. Universities are going in this direction too, as faculty senates have been weakened in favor of the same kinds of professional administrators. You can get a better administration or a worse one, but barring some real outliers, like organizations still run by their idiosyncratic founders, you’re getting basically the same class of people in most cases.

      2. 21

        So Mozilla does something bad, and as a result I am supposed to give it money?? Sorry, that doesn’t make any sense to me. If they need my money, they should convince me to donate willingly. What you are describing is a form of extortion.

        I donate every month to various organizations; EFF, ACLU, Wikipedia, OpenBSD, etc. So far Mozilla has never managed to convince me to give them my money. On the contrary, why would I give money to a dysfunctional, bureaucratic organization that doesn’t seem to have a clear and focused agenda?

        1. 9

          They may be a dysfunctional bureaucratic organisation without a focused agenda (wouldn’t know as I don’t work for it) which would surely make them less effective, but shouldn’t the question instead be how effective they are? Is what they produce a useful, positive change and can you get that same thing elsewhere more cost-effectively?

          If I really want to get to a destination, I will take a run-down bus if that is the only transport going there. And if you don’t care about the destination, then transport options don’t matter.

          1. 17

            They may be a dysfunctional bureaucratic organisation without a focused agenda (wouldn’t know as I don’t work for it) which would surely make them less effective, but shouldn’t the question instead be how effective they are? Is what they produce a useful, positive change and can you get that same thing elsewhere more cost-effectively?

            I am frequently in touch with Mozilla and while I sometimes feel like fighting with windmills, other parts of the org are very quick moving and highly cost effective. For example, they do a lot of very efficient training for community members like the open leadership training and the Mozilla Tech speakers. They run MDN, a prime resource for web development and documentation. Mozilla Research has high reputation.

            Firefox in itself is in constant rebuild and is developed. MozFest is the best conferences you can go to in this world if you want to speak tech and social subjects.

            I still find their developer relationship very lacking, which is probably the most visible part to us, but hey, it’s only one aspect.

            1. 9

              The fact that Mozilla is going to spend money on community activities and conferences is why I don’t donate to them. The only activity I and 99% of people care about is Firefox. All I want is a good web browser. I don’t really care about the other stuff.

              Maybe if they focused on what they’re good at, their hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue would be sufficient and they wouldn’t have to start selling “sponsored stories”.

              1. 18

                The only activity I and 99% of people care about is Firefox.

                This is a very easy statement to throw around. It’s very hard to back up.

                Also, what’s the point of having a FOSS organisation if they don’t share their learnings? This whole field is fresh and we have maintainers hurting left and right, but people complain when organisations do more then just code.

                1. 6

                  To have a competitive, web browser we can trust plus exemplary software in a number of categories. Mozilla couldve been building trustworthy versions of useful products like SpiderOak, VPN services, and so on. Any revenue from business licensing could get them off ad revenue more over time.

                  Instead, they waste money on lots of BS. Also, they could do whaf I say plus community work. It’s not either or. I support both.

                  1. 8

                    To have a competitive, web browser we can trust plus exemplary software in a number of categories. Mozilla couldve been building trustworthy versions of useful products like SpiderOak, VPN services, and so on. Any revenue from business licensing could get them off ad revenue more over time.

                    In my opinion, the point of FOSS is sharing and I’m pretty radical that this involves approaches and practices. I agree that all you write is important, I don’t agree that it should be the sole focus. Also, Mozilla trainings are incredibly good, I have actually at some point suggested them to sell them :D.

                    Instead, they waste money on lots of BS. Also, they could do whaf I say plus community work. It’s not either or. I support both.

                    BS is very much in the eye of the beholder. I also haven’t said that they couldn’t do what you describe.

                    Also, be aware that they often collaborate with other foundations and bring knowledge and connections into the deal, not everything is funded from the money MozCorp has or from donations.

                    1. 1

                      “Also, Mozilla trainings are incredibly good, I have actually at some point suggested them to sell them :D.”

                      Well, there’s a good idea! :)

                  2. 3

                    That’s a false dichotomy because there are other ways to make money in the software industry that don’t involve selling users to advertisers.

                    It’s unfortunate, but advertisers have so thoroughly ruined their reputation that I simply will not use ad supported services any more.

                    I feel like Mozilla is so focused on making money for itself that it’s lost sight of what’s best for their users.

                    1. 2

                      That’s a false dichotomy because there are other ways to make money in the software industry that don’t involve selling users to advertisers.

                      Ummm… sorry? The post you are replying to doesn’t speak about money at all, but what people carry about?

                      Yes, advertising and Mozilla is an interesting debate and it’s also not like Mozilla is only doing advertisement. But flat-out criticism of the kind “Mozilla is making X amount of money” or “Mozilla supports things I don’t like” is not it

                    2. 3

                      This is a very easy statement to throw around. It’s very hard to back up.

                      Would you care to back up the opposite, that over 1% of mozilla’s userbase supports the random crap Mozilla does? That’s over a million people.

                      I think my statement is extremely likely a priori.

                      1. 1

                        I’d venture to guess most of them barely know what Firefox is past how they do stuff on the Internet. They want it to load up quickly, let them use their favorite sites, do that quickly, and not toast their computer with malware. If mobile tablet, maybe add not using too much battery. Those probably represent most people on Firefox along with most of its revenue. Some chunk of them will also want specific plugins to stay on Firefox but I don’t have data on their ratio.

                        If my “probably” is correct, then what you say is probably true too.

                    3. 5

                      This is a valid point of view, just shedding a bit of light on why Mozilla does all this “other stuff”.

                      Mozilla’s mission statement is to “fight for the health of the internet”, notably this is not quite the same mission statement as “make Firefox a kickass browser”. Happily, these two missions are extremely closely aligned (thus the substantial investment that went into making Quantum). Firefox provides revenue, buys Mozilla a seat at the standards table, allows Mozilla to weigh in on policy and legislation and has great brand recognition.

                      But while developing Firefox is hugely beneficial to the health of the web, it isn’t enough. Legislation, proprietary technologies, corporations and entities of all shapes and sizes are fighting to push the web in different directions, some more beneficial to users than others. So Mozilla needs to wield the influence granted to it by Firefox to try and steer the direction of the web to a better place for all of us. That means weighing in on policy, outreach, education, experimentation, and yes, developing technology.

                      So I get that a lot of people don’t care about Mozilla’s mission statement, and just want a kickass browser. There’s nothing wrong with that. But keep in mind that from Mozilla’s point of view, Firefox is a means to an end, not the end itself.

                      1. 1

                        I don’t think Mozilla does a good job at any of that other stuff. The only thing they really seem able to do well (until some clueless PR or marketing exec fucks it up) is browser tech. I donate to the EFF because they actually seem able to effect the goals you stated and don’t get distracted with random things they don’t know how to do.

                2. 3

                  What if, and bear with me here, what they did ISN’T bad? What if instead they are actually making a choice that will make Firefox more attractive to new users?

                3. 9

                  The upside is that atleast Mozilla is trying to make privacy respecting ads instead of simply opening up the flood gates.

                  1. 2

                    For now…

                4. 10

                  If Firefox starts showing me ads I’m 100% abandoning the browser, period.

                  1. 17

                    If Firefox starts showing me ads in the New Tab page, I’m 85% clicking on that little “(?)” icon, clicking “New Tab Preferences”, and un-checking a box or two.

                    But, I hope that if you end up running a browser made by an advertising company, you will at least savor the irony.

                    1. 5

                      Well, I abandoned chrome a long time ago and will certainly never return, if that’s what you’re getting at :)

                      Advertising is a slippery slope. I don’t care to play cat and mouse with a company that thinks it’s OK.

                      The real irony is that I (and probably many others) would be happy to pay for a browser…

                      1. 5

                        I’d be happy to pay for a high-quality browser too. But the industry doesn’t seem to be headed that way.

                        I’m curious where you’ll go. Vivaldi, Opera, and Brave all use the Blink rendering engine from Chromium. All the little WebKit-based browsers are beholden to Apple. Only Firefox has any independence or control of its code base, as far as I can tell.

                      2. 1

                        If Firefox starts showing me ads in the New Tab page, I’m 100% clicking on them, to support Mozilla.

                        But my new tab page is about:blank, I probably won’t see them :(

                        1. 1

                          Eh, given that Firefox has forced adware on its users in the past, I wonder if Mozilla isn’t an ad company at this point, if one which makes somewhat different kinds of deal.

                      3. 7

                        The Register is utter crap. This story was already posted here days ago in less sensationalized form.

                        Cue the hate bandwagon. Firefox is next in line. Pile on everybody! MIcrosoft, Apple and Google are so passe!

                        1. 5

                          So, yes, the Register is a tabloid. Do you have a link to the other story? I can’t find it.

                          In any case, this isn’t a hate wagon. I strongly feel that most forms of advertising are detrimental to society and our mental health, and I distance myself from ads as much as possible.

                          1. 4

                            here is the other story.

                            In my opinion, the categorization of the recommendations that Pocket will provide in the new tab as “advertising” is questionable.

                            I’m a heavy Pocket user, and I use their Recommended Stories feature quite often to great effect. Their engine does in fact recommend stories I’m interested in.

                            This isn’t Mozilla heavy-handedly blasting dialog based blocker ads to their users, this is them taking advantage of a partnership they’re in to provide users with a useful source of new content that they see as a default background in their “New” tab.

                            And you can turn it off as a part of the regular preferences as detailed here

                            1. 5

                              In my opinion, the categorization of the recommendations that Pocket will provide in the new tab as “advertising” is questionable.

                              Today it’s not “advertising.” It will be. Straight from Mozilla’s blog:

                              we will soon experiment with showing an occasional sponsored story within the Pocket Recommendations section in New Tab Page

                            2. 2
                            3. 1

                              People getting upset about this before it’s a real fiasco is probably the best possible situation. You’d rather is languish and become a festering wound before people react. It would not be better for Mozilla, in fact it would be horrible.

                              1. 2

                                I disagree with the characterization of this as “advertising” - see my previous response for more color.

                            4. 4

                              It’d be great if they’d just release a ‘bizdev free’ version on GoG for $10 or whatever.