Online advertising is often described as the “original house of the Internet.” getting content has always been known for free but ad tech has emerged in ways that many feel violate their privacy and sometimes even safety (advertising has been used to deliver malware). Anyone that’s ever used an ad blocker also knows that most websites load more quickly without ads and look less visually cluttered.
Ads are a big part of the reason the internet is full of so much stuff. While some big-name publishers can get away with putting their content behind paywalls and charging a subscription price for access, many ad-supported sites (including Liliputing) probably wouldn’t exist without ads.
Mozilla is currently only running an online survey to see whether consumers would take up its $5 Firefox offer but it seems far enough into its plan to at least have a button offering users to ‘Sign up now, for $4.99 per month’. Clicking it leads to the survey of the product with no Ads that isn’t actually available yet.
The service is expected to offer ad-free browsing, audio versions of news articles, and cross-platform syncing of news stories from multiple websites. Should Mozilla launch the service, it seems likely to be provided in partnership with Scroll which currently has an ad-free news subscription in collaboration with 12 media partners, including Slate, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, Gizmodo, USA Today, and Vox. It’s worth noting that many of these partner news sites don’t currently have paywalls, but do display ads on their pages.
“We’ve turned our attention toward finding a more sustainable ecosystem balance for publishers and users alike,” wrote Firefox product lead Peter Dolanjski in a blog post.
The company previously acknowledged that its anti-tracking strategy stripped value from publishers who rely on ads for revenue, while stressing the need for a profitable revenue ecosystem on the web in order to create, foster and support innovation.
Mozilla, however, is not the first company to offer an à la carte news service for a price. Apple News Plus, announced by the iPhone maker earlier this year, gives users access to a wide range of magazines, digital publications, and newspapers for $10 a month. But response to the service has been lukewarm at best.
The product isn’t officially available yet, but it’s soliciting user feedback, so it can push the feature for launch.