back to article Google funds hold Firefox fate (for sure)

If there was any doubt that Google has the power to pull the plug on Firefox, it's been laid to rest. This week, the Mozilla Foundation released its 2006 financial statement, telling the world that Google provides 85 per cent of the revenue for the foundation and its Mozilla Corp. subsidiary. The footnote lists "concentrations …


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  1. yeah, right.
    Thumb Down

    except that...

    Except that Adblock Plus doesn't block the simple text ads that Google puts up. And I don't care, because they aren't intrusive in the least. Adblock is, however, incredibly good at blocking the jittery, annoying crap that makes me stay with Firefox, as it's the only one with an ad blocker that actually works.

    I actually find that NoScript blocks more of their ads, mosty unintentionally, because they've invariably embedded with javascript - which NoScript doesn't allow to be run indiscriminately.

    Note to advertisers: want people to see your ads? Don't treat people like walking wallets whose sole purpose for existence is to see and react to your ads. But hey, you're probably too busy coming up with the lastest version of punch the monkey or the newest popunder equivalent to actually give a shit about listening to the people you're annoying.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just tempted to put as my default firefox search.

    I wish I could just use both at the same's a crap shoot, but they work :)

  3. Lou Gosselin

    Re: except that...

    Incorrect, google ads are blocked on affiliate networks through adblock. They are just not blocked on google's own site.

    This is about right, because it means that users voluntarily using will see the ads, but those browsing other sites don't get plagued by google's ads.

    Those who want to avoid ads seen on but want the same results can access it through a meta search such as

  4. Peter Ramins

    Still not right...

    I've never 'been plagued' by google's ads. They're like ads should be - not intrusive, not irritating, not huge, and hey! - occasionally they're even relevant!

    I really think AdBlock has lost it's way. A significant portion of the internet I like to visit depends on ad revenue, and they've done it by depending on sedate and reasonable ad content. No matter, AdBlock has recently (the last year-ish or so?) been rather indiscriminate in what gets blocked.

    Punch the monkey to win a prize? Yeah, block that damn thing.

    Unobtrusive silent small little old google ads? Who on earth is bothered by those?

  5. Tim Croydon

    AdBlock Plus...

    ...has made reading The Register a more pleasurable experience ;-)

  6. Dr Who

    @yeah right

    Aren't you being a bit hypocritical? You like Firefox, as do I, yet you're willing to have a rant at the *only* company that's making Firefox a possibility and you're blocking the content that ends up paying for your free software. Bit of a contradiction there I think.

  7. Smell My Finger

    The two aren't compatible

    The fact that Firefox comes out of the box trying to push Google on users has always struck me as antithetical to being open source.

  8. Micha Roon

    They don't really need to worry

    with 75 million $ in assets they have some cash to burn.

    at current levels, they can easily make it 3 years without income, which is not bad at all.

    in a company developing free software, I was surprised to see 300K worth of software. It can't be their's as it is freely available so it must be bought. isn't that a pity.

    I'0m sure they use MS Office :-(

  9. gareth
    Paris Hilton

    @lou gosselin

    they are blocked i don't see any ads other that the text ones on or

    and if you tell adblock to block the frame that contains the text adds you don't see those either

  10. Tony Barnes

    How much???

    Jebus, didn't realise they'd be making so much money from ads!! Fair play, that's a pretty decent return for a free browser...

  11. Joel

    Et tu Reg

    Speaking of annoying ads, what prompted me to install Adblock in the first place was the hugely annoying ads on El Reg which get out of their box and rampage all over the screen. You know who you are.

    So, the question is, what effect does accepting ads like these have on overall revenue? Previously I was happy to have well behaved ads sitting there while I read the reg. Now they have irritated me enough to block them, which presumably has a negative effect on revenues...

  12. Mark Lynch
    Thumb Up

    very useful

    I just quickly installed and blocked the the adds on this page by putting in

    much better now as i have more screen space for the comments / articles!

    and all this has led me to another useful plugin

    which can block all the adds in gmail etc...

  13. Edward Rose


    As the Welsh would say: Beth?

    How can Google control the fate of Firefox? The organisation, yes, but the browser? Nope, not a chance. If the funding goes someone else will pick up the mantle.

    Okay, the organisation may sell out and allow Google some form of control, but they should be shot for doing that and Google will upset many users if they put their nose in too far. A bad move from both parties, and one that I reckon would cause a fork. Or knife if you'd prefer (one without a point though - apparantly pointy knives are the number one cause of stabbings).

    Just my 0.001p (roughly 2 cents with the current exchange rate?).

    And why oh why isn't back up yet?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what can they be spending all that on

    To be honest since Googles contract started I haven't noticed it being any better not worse not different just wonder what the money is doing .

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    RE: Re: except that...

    oo! google bad, scroogle good! :-) i just visited that site. lovely, especially the ssl mode. very handy for stealth surfing at work. which, of course, i condemn on the highest level!

  16. Sean Ellis

    No chance

    There is no way that google could stop AdBlock. If they did that, then they would instantly start playing whack-a-mole as hundreds of new variants would pop up. After all, it's an open platform. And if they closed the platform, a new "Combustion-Badger" browser would pop up looking surprisingly similar to the original open Firefox.

    I think that google are savvy enough to avoid this trap.

    Write off the adblockers - they weren't going to click anyway - concentrate on getting the money from the people who want to see the ads.

  17. Chris Cooke

    For sure?

    Could someone explain what "for sure" is intended to mean here please? I've only ever heard it uttered on Frank Zappa's "Valley Girls", so I'm at a loss as to its meaning in this context...?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Kill the ads, kill the services...

    Of course, if you successfully start to kill every ad on every site, then you also start to kill the very sites you're wanting to access.

    TANSTAAFL (google it). If you want to access content that you don't have to subscribe and pay for, then you should be prepared to accept the fact that adverts will be used in order to provide a revenue stream for that service.

    Even precious bastions of open source like sourceforge embrace the advertising model as a source of revenue. Whilst there should be more rules about intrusive, and probably illegal (access for those with disabilities?) ads that popup windows right on top of the stuff you try to read, removing ads completely is not the answer unless you want to start to pay for everything you access.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @peter Ramins

    >I really think AdBlock has lost it's way

    you do realise that adblock only actually blocks ads that you have told it to? most users simply subscribe to a filter list rather than set it up themselves though.

    after being forced to use IE during the daty at work, firefox is liek a breath of fresh air. pages load much faster without the offsite picture ads, aren't broken up and don't annoy the crap out of me by flashing/moving/plastering a big picture over the content i actually went to the site to see.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only kill the BAD ads

    Most people are happy with "plain text" ads, so long as they only occupy a reasonable part of the screen.

    Google's text ads are fine, and probably the ONLY ads I've ever followed. As a matter of principle, I wouldn't follow an intrusive ad.

    It's really a matter of common sense -- if you want people to NOT to block your ads, don't make them irritating so that they NEED to block them.

    Personally, I've never needed to put ads on any of my sites. Web servers cost peanuts these days. If the service that the site is intended to provide isn't worth the cost of a sandwich to the site owner, then don't run the site. Because if its not worth the cost of a sandwich to the site owner, there are plenty of other people that could provide the service instead.

    I ran a BBS in the 80s. Part of a large international network. Despite having to pay for a dedicated BT line and the call costs of transferring echos between the various boards it was free to the users, and it didn't need adverts. Why then does everybody suppose that now a site owner doesn't have most of the expenses, a site needs to provide income? If you don't want the job, then let somebody else provide the service!

  21. Marcus Brutus

    Re:Kill the ads, kill the services...

    Or websites could just use non-obtrusive text or image ads that don't use javascript, hosted on their own site. They generally aren't blocked by AdBlock unless a user specifically wants them gone. There's more than one way to skin a cat, as they say. AdBlock is challenging content providers to adapt their business models, change is good. I for one enjoy not being sold anything, hell I even donate to sites that catch my eye and don't treat me like a meal ticket.

    "If you want to access content that you don't have to subscribe and pay for, then you should be prepared to accept the fact that adverts will be used in order to provide a revenue stream for that service."

    For services that demand a subscription you might find that the FireFox extension "UserAgent Switcher" is great for imitating a googlebot and reading the content without any need for viewing splash screens or registering.

  22. Anonymous Coward


    Anybody hear of Proxomitron? Been using it for years. Will even run under Linux using Wine. Best @#!$ ad blocker out there, and with lots of other features too. Sadly, the developer that created this efficient, free marvel has passed away. Too bad there's not a sainthood for programmers.

  23. Jamie Kitson
    Thumb Up


    By far the most invasive ads have always been found at el Reg, but these dinosaurs who walk all over the text take the biscuit! Thanks for the AdBlock tip!

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re:Kill the ads, kill the services...

    Oh COME ON guys! Do you seriously believe that rubbish you're spouting...

    First of all, it's simply not the case that a large site can survive on the supposed philanthropic urges of it users... whilst you'll get a bit of revenue that way, you're not going to get enough to pay the way.

    Yep, small sites with a few thousand users a day can probably survive on a small server - and again, your occasional full of charity site administrator who has nothing better to do with their spare time and has other means of income (TANSTAAFL) to pay for the site may keep something going out of the goodness of their heart. But lets live in the real world here... large multi-million user sites aren't going to operate on that basis.

    And what on earth makes you think that every website owner wants to get into the business of marketing and selling advertising space? Why take on all the overheads that entails, just so that you can say that the ads are 'hosted on my site' instead of coming via a third party? Ads are ads after all!

    There are professional agencies already in existence that'll get the advertisers and are actually going to pay you to host their ads, what possible reason would there be to try to do it yourself!?

    Yes, do something to stop the intrusive ads, but as to ads in general, just suck it up and deal with it - or stop visiting those sites that offend you so much and set up your own ad free competing one that you fund yourself (and see how long that venture lasts...)

  25. marc

    Pay per click?

    I always thought Google was paid by advertisers per-click. Therefore Firefox gets its share per click. Therefore users blocking adverts won't click (they can't see any adverts!) and nothing unfair is going on. It's not as if Google is paying Firefox for those users that don't see anything. Users who see the adverts are clicking them, and paying Firefox. If Adblock suddenly became mainstream, no Firefox users would ever click Google's adverts - and so just by the way it works, the Firefox revenue would go down.

    As has already been pointed out, ABP does not block Google's ads anyway :)

  26. censored


    Firefox has what, 100 million downloads? Adblock Plus has had 2.5 million.

    Simple arithmetic shows Adblock is not quite a big enough threat.... yet...

  27. Geoff Mackenzie

    Re: The two aren't compatible

    That's nonsense. There's no contradiction between being open source and pushing ads or acting in favour of a particular company. It might strike a lot of people as unpleasant behaviour, but it's not antithetical to open-source.

    Of course one of the nice things about the fact that Firefox is open source is that if it really bothers you you can compile your own variant that doesn't in any way push Google... but as others have pointed out, Google's ads are so inobtrusive I can't say I mind them.

    As for ad revenue being essential to certain websites - I don't see how ad blockers are a problem from this point of view. The small (as a proportion, large in number) minority of web users that actually click banner ads probably don't run ad blockers. Those that would run ad blockers would presumably rarely click the ads anyway, to phrase that differently. Until ruthless ad blocking is a core feature of Firefox, enabled by default, it's not a threat.

  28. John Stag

    Adblock is the only thing which makes The Register readable

    The day I finally installed AdBlock and NoScript was when El Reg messed up and started using 100% CPU in their Javascript.

    The same Javascript also prevents the auto-password completion of Firefox so to post a comment I have to type in my enormous password every single time.

    Without it, The Register would be a pain in the ass to visit/use.

  29. Rick Stockton

    Ads? What Ads?

    I've no idea what you're all talking about. :))

    (APB, *plus* RIP/Greasemonkey, kills everything I don't want to see. If you really want to control the layout, then you really need to add RIP too.)

  30. Rob Tait

    Web owner should be aware of what shows on their pages.

    For years I have barred certain 3rd party sites from delivering content to my computer. I also choose in security setting that only content from the site I am visiting shall be displayed in my browser.

    If a web service places adverts hosted on their own site I will see them and won't bother to block them. Usually these adverts will be reasonably targetted anyway.

    I take offense at any site that attempts to peddle shit from other sites without consideration to what may be offered. Any responsible site owner should want to know that they are not advertising immoral or illegal items on their pages.

    Web site owners, take heed. It you place antything on your site, you are endorsing it. If it is illegal, you can be held responsible.

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