Mozilla may be hinting at premium, ad-free Firefox for $4.99 a month

onetheycallEric

TS Addict
Staff member

No one likes ads, and auto-playing video or audio is the bane of many internet denizens. Yet, income from these ads is what drives a lot of sites and content on the internet -- including TechSpot's. So, despite a decelerated growth in advertising revenue, ads aren't going anywhere in the near term. In the meantime, many users employ ad blockers; others are willing to pay for premium versions of their favorite websites that offer an ad-free experience, among other perks.

Mozilla seems to have a different solution: a premium browser that offers an ad-free experience, and presumably more. We started hearing about Mozilla rolling out paid subscriptions within Firefox last month, and this was after Mozilla suggested it was looking into alternate sources of funding.

A page at Mozilla's website reveals what could be the beginning of a premium, paid version of Firefox. "We share your payment directly with the sites you read. They make more money which means they can bring you great content without needing to distract you with ads just to keep the lights on," the page reads. The aforementioned payment is $4.99 per month.

The idea of browsing the web while retaining your private information, while also evading annoying targeted ads is gaining popularity and traction. The Brave web browser has its own approach, albeit not in the form of a monthly payment. Opera also has its own built in ad-blocking tool.

There's a certain duality in Mozilla diversifying its revenue stream in such a way. It's both congruent with Mozilla's anti-tracking, privacy oriented stance, but also presents an opportunity to experiment with a way of decoupling from the ad-driven ecosystem -- and it's biggest competitor, Google. While Mozilla is still working on the service, it does have a survey for those interested.

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psycros

TS Evangelist
Browsers have always been free? Netscape Navigator was the first full-fledged browser on the market and it wasn't free for the first few years. A lot of dial-up and early broadband ISPs started providing it for free with their services so I can see where someone might assume it had never been paid software. I'm fairly certain that Opera also wasn't truly free at first..I think it had a trial period for years.

 
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fps4ever

TS Evangelist
Browsers have always been free? Netscape Navigator was the first full-fledged browser on the market and it wasn't free for the first few years. A lot of dial-up and early broadband ISPs started providing it for free with their services so I can see where someone might assume it had never been paid software. I'm fairly certain that Opera also wasn't truly free at first..I think it had a trial period for years.


I paid $80 for my copy of netscape navigtor.
 

hahahanoobs

TS Evangelist
I don't think it should be left to browsers to collect money for the internet. I 100% agree you need to be paid to do what you do, but shouldn't website owners be the ones coming up with a plan together? One plan. I know it's the internet and not cable TV, but there has to be a better way. I'd keep ads enabled if they weren't littered all over my screen, and between paragraphs while I'm reading. The current trend of using Patreon to subscribe/donate to individual websites doesn't sit right with me at all. I have NEVER and will probably NEVER EVER buy something just because I see it in an ad.

Almost every website and channel wants ~$5/month, and that's just not gonna happen, especially when there are new channels and new Patreons coming out every day. The last thing I want to do is have my financial information all over the net just to make $5/month payments. I know I'm gonna lose track of what I'm paying for, then if I can't afford it then I gotta start dropping out of paying, and then what?
 

hahahanoobs

TS Evangelist
If there are two things I HATE the most is

1.) ads/commercials

2.) rust on cars/trucks.

I dropped cable because of commercials. I have OCD & ADHD and I hate ads! cluttered and annoying.
Amen to that.

Now peep this....
Couple days ago I was at my computer with my phone next to me and out of nowhere, I hear someone talking via the speaker on my phone. It was an ad for a customized sex doll. The screen was off and I thought I was trippin, so I googled it, and others have had ads play through their phones without even touching them too. I haven't found the source on my phone yet, but when I do I'm gonna go off on whoever is responsible.

Ads are getting out of control. That's why I got tracking and ad protection on my PC and my phone right now.
 
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Axiarus

TS Evangelist
If there are two things I HATE the most is

1.) ads/commercials

2.) rust on cars/trucks.

I dropped cable because of commercials. I have OCD & ADHD and I hate ads! cluttered and annoying.
Amen to that.

Now peep this....
Couple days ago I was at my computer with my phone next to me and out of nowhere, I hear someone talking via the speaker on my phone. It was an ad for a customized sex doll. The screen was off and I thought I was trippin, so I googled it, and others have had ads play through their phones without even touching them too. I haven't found the source on my phone yet, but when I do I'm gonna go off on whoever is responsible.

Ads are getting out of control. That's why I got tracking and ad protection on my PC and my phone right now.
Now peep this....
Ads are customized to your search history. If you are getting ads for customized sex dolls...what ya searchin' for? Huh?
 
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Vrmithrax

TechSpot Paladin
So, umm, just to recap. Mozilla is saying we can pay for what we can currently get for free with any number of other browsing solutions. What's the upside for us, exactly?

And what really interests me is how much backlash and issues will pop up from content providers all over the internet. I'm already inundated with "I see you have an adblocker on, please turn it off so we can bathe you in glorious technocolor advertising that you don't want or need" messages constantly when going to a growing number of websites. How are those sites going to feel about Mozilla's tactic? Will sites begin blacklisting FireFox access to combat it? Seems like a quick way to make lots of enemies in the "internet revenue" players out there. And is FireFox going to block even that adblocker warning for me? If not, why would I bother paying them? So many questions, makes me wonder just how Mozilla plans to tapdance through this minefield.
 
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DukeJukem

TS Booster
I'll accept this offer from mozilla but they need to include tracker blocking as well and if I find ANYTHING gets through compared to what I already use for free then we are going to court and they can pay me for being a huge company with a lot of money that can't accomplish what I can for free. Pay me fire crotch.

Ever used Operas' built in ad blocker? Highly uncustomizable poopy doo that let's ads through. Nope. I'm good.
 

Evernessince

TS Evangelist
So, umm, just to recap. Mozilla is saying we can pay for what we can currently get for free with any number of other browsing solutions. What's the upside for us, exactly?

And what really interests me is how much backlash and issues will pop up from content providers all over the internet. I'm already inundated with "I see you have an adblocker on, please turn it off so we can bathe you in glorious technocolor advertising that you don't want or need" messages constantly when going to a growing number of websites. How are those sites going to feel about Mozilla's tactic? Will sites begin blacklisting FireFox access to combat it? Seems like a quick way to make lots of enemies in the "internet revenue" players out there. And is FireFox going to block even that adblocker warning for me? If not, why would I bother paying them? So many questions, makes me wonder just how Mozilla plans to tapdance through this minefield.
Incorrect. There is an increasing number of websites that require a sub to access. Blocking websites isn't you getting something for free, it's you depriving sites you visit of income and will hamper their ability to produce quality content. You rely on others to pay your way and it's a very shortsighted way of thinking.

Mozilla is proposing a solution that would pay sites you visit that's non-instrusive, easy to use, and doesn't give out personal details. No one says you have to subscribe to the service either. In fact, if it becomes successful, it could very well result in non-intrusive ads for those who do not pay for the service. The only reason some sites use intrusive ads is because ad blocker has tanked the number of ad clicks they are getting. That would not be a problem if they are getting revenue directly from their users.
 

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
That would not be a problem if they are getting revenue directly from their users.
It is only a problem because they kept raising the bar. Their revenue was never enough. So screw all of them. I don't care how anyone looks at me for blocking ads. I'm sick of all of them.
 

TheBigFatClown

TS Evangelist
So, umm, just to recap. Mozilla is saying we can pay for what we can currently get for free with any number of other browsing solutions. What's the upside for us, exactly?

And what really interests me is how much backlash and issues will pop up from content providers all over the internet. I'm already inundated with "I see you have an adblocker on, please turn it off so we can bathe you in glorious technocolor advertising that you don't want or need" messages constantly when going to a growing number of websites. How are those sites going to feel about Mozilla's tactic? Will sites begin blacklisting FireFox access to combat it? Seems like a quick way to make lots of enemies in the "internet revenue" players out there. And is FireFox going to block even that adblocker warning for me? If not, why would I bother paying them? So many questions, makes me wonder just how Mozilla plans to tapdance through this minefield.
Incorrect. There is an increasing number of websites that require a sub to access. Blocking websites isn't you getting something for free, it's you depriving sites you visit of income and will hamper their ability to produce quality content. You rely on others to pay your way and it's a very shortsighted way of thinking.

Mozilla is proposing a solution that would pay sites you visit that's non-instrusive, easy to use, and doesn't give out personal details. No one says you have to subscribe to the service either. In fact, if it becomes successful, it could very well result in non-intrusive ads for those who do not pay for the service. The only reason some sites use intrusive ads is because ad blocker has tanked the number of ad clicks they are getting. That would not be a problem if they are getting revenue directly from their users.
I'm sorry but intrusive ads were terrorizing the Internet way before ad blockers were a thing. You kinda got your history backwards. Intrusive ads are what gave birth to ad blockers. Because you know it makes sense if you nag someone constantly and shove content in their face and down there throat they will eventually come around and buy your stuff. Unlike me where I get angry and just kill any ad that pops up in my face as fast as I can. Kinda like playing whack a mole. Obxnoxious over the top advertisers have brought DOOM upon themselves. It's kinda funny. Now, websites beg you to turn off your ad blockers out of pity. But they never asked you before if it was okay to display obxnoxious obtrusive ads in anybody's face. I guess it's just assumed that were all A-OK with that.
 
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Evernessince

TS Evangelist
I'm sorry but intrusive ads were terrorizing the Internet way before ad blockers were a thing. You kinda got your history backwards. Intrusive ads are what gave birth to ad blockers. Because you know it makes sense if you nag someone constantly and shove content in their face and down there throat they will eventually come around and buy your stuff. Unlike me where I get angry and just kill any ad that pops up in my face as fast as I can. Kinda like playing whack a mole. Obxnoxious over the top advertisers have brought DOOM upon themselves. It's kinda funny. Now, websites beg you to turn off your ad blockers out of pity. But they never asked you before if it was okay to display obxnoxious obtrusive ads in anybody's face. I guess it's just assumed that were all A-OK with that.
It is only a problem because they kept raising the bar. Their revenue was never enough. So screw all of them. I don't care how anyone looks at me for blocking ads. I'm sick of all of them.

So you blame every website for the actions of a few? I don't see the point in flipping the chess board over when it's possible to lay the foundation of acceptable advertisement on the internet. Otherwise you will continue to see this hyperbole. I don't expect it to get any easier, as we've seen with those script based bitcoin miners.
 

BSim500

TS Evangelist
The only reason some sites use intrusive ads is because ad blocker has tanked the number of ad clicks they are getting.
LOL. How long have you been using the Internet? Not only have flash ads been around long before ublock Origin, I can assure you before even the pre-cursor to Flash (FutureWave SmartSketch) was even invented, we had annoying animated GIF's / embedded audio files / pop-ups & pop-unders, misused iframes since before AOL vs Compuserve on 9-56kbps analogue modems plugged into RS232 serial / COM ports, and back when people thought "broadband" meant an overweight pop group...

Thanks to the "joys" of ActiveX, we even had ads trying to embed themselves directly on the Windows "Active Desktop". Likewise Microsoft were forced to first disable (on W2000 / XP) and then remove (from W7) the "Messenger Service" (text messages over LAN) when Internet ads were abusing that too. Throw in Home Page hijacking for IE (including auto-executing downloaded .vbs scripts that ran .reg files that changed registry entries), URL spoofing (fake addresses in the Status Bar on mouse-over links), nested URL redirection, click-jacking, malvertising, fake UI elements / overlays / warnings, hostile Java, etc.

Ad-blockers, NoScript, etc, were 100% a reaction to this stuff. You must be "remembering" some parallel universe if you think they "caused" it back when IE and Netscape Navigator didn't even have a plugin system as we know it today to even write them for.
 
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Vrmithrax

TechSpot Paladin
Incorrect. There is an increasing number of websites that require a sub to access. Blocking websites isn't you getting something for free, it's you depriving sites you visit of income and will hamper their ability to produce quality content. You rely on others to pay your way and it's a very shortsighted way of thinking.
But those websites are not part of this discussion. If a website requires a sub to access, it requires a login to access content, so you aren't getting in for free to rob the site and force others to pay your way. Totally different situation in that case, I'm talking solely about ads on standard non-subscription sites, or perhaps on sites that allow you to log in for the "premium" experience without ads.

Mozilla is proposing a solution that would pay sites you visit that's non-instrusive, easy to use, and doesn't give out personal details. No one says you have to subscribe to the service either. In fact, if it becomes successful, it could very well result in non-intrusive ads for those who do not pay for the service. The only reason some sites use intrusive ads is because ad blocker has tanked the number of ad clicks they are getting. That would not be a problem if they are getting revenue directly from their users.
Ok, so that right there makes sense. If Mozilla is using their subscription revenue to pay other sites for bypassing their ads and such, it makes sense. And avoids my wonder about how sites would feel if FireFox was making money through offering a way to bypass the revenue streams of all of the websites you visit with it. But even assuming that Mozilla does pass along all of that sub fee to other sites, and doesn't pocket the money themselves (big assumption there, very unlikely)... A measly $5 spread out over a mass of potential websites you might visit in a month doesn't add up to very much at all. That figure would have to continue to grow, almost exponentially, as more websites go to exclusive subscription or premium content models. It doesn't seem sustainable.
 

quadibloc

TS Booster
If they can actually work out the logistics of an "ad-free" browser that instead of just blocking ads, gives funding to the sites whose ads are blocked, this would be a very positive development for the Internet.
 

Bats Dude

TS Rookie
I haven't liked/used FF since FF 55. Tor's the only way to go anymore. I KNEW mozilla was firing torpedoes at itself!