Request for Innovation: Content and Ad Tech

We founded the Content Services group at Mozilla in order to build user-first content experiences and services within the Firefox browser that:

  • Respect user choice
  • Respect user data
  • Provide user value
  • Where possible, create new revenue opportunities for Mozilla and our partners

We have delivered Tiles in Firefox and have successfully tested some content partnerships. Our next objectives are:

  1. To provide a better content and advertising experience for our users within Firefox.  This may include but is not limited to the creation of new units, better personalization, and a higher volume of partners for varied content.
  2. To push the industry forward.  We are sure that there are content and advertising technology companies who aspire to the same principles we do but do not have the tools to act with today.

That’s why in the next few days we will be contacting a number of content and advertising tech companies, both large and small, to discuss an RFI (“Request for Innovation” – a partnership proposal) for providing more automation and scale in our offering.  Scale allows us to deliver content to our users across the globe so we keep the experience for users fresh and current.  Automation allows us to do this on a scale that’s significant.  We have to engage with the industry’s state-of-the-art.  That means working programmatically (and this can be a very complex space to operate in).  We know that there are many people in ad tech who welcome our involvement – many have already joined the project.

One of Mozilla’s distinct qualities is its ability to bring in champions for our cause, from advocating for open standards to sharing the vision of an open mobile ecosystem, we are at our best when we focus on our own competence and bring others into our community.

This will not be business as usual.  We have a very clear sense of who we would and would not partner with, and any relationship we enter into has to support our values.  And while there may be some areas for discussion we will not partner with organizations who blatantly disrespect the user.

We are explicit about this in the RFI: we want to work with partners who align with the Mozilla mission and our user-centric ethos to change and evolve the industry through this engagement.  As talked about in previous posts on this blog, we’re looking for support amongst our three core principles:

  • Trust: Always architect with honesty in mind. Ask, “Do users understand why they are being presented with content? Do they understand what fragments of their data underscore advertising decisions?”
  • Transparency: Always be transparent. “Is it clear to users why advertising and content decisions are made? Is it clear how their data is being consumed and shared?  Are they aware and openly contributing to the dialog?”
  • Control: Always put the control with the user. “Do users have the ability to control their own data? Do they have the option to be completely private, completely public or somewhere in between?”

Our team is working hard to deliver against these promises to our users:

  • We believe digital advertising can respect users’ privacy choices.
  • We can build useful products and experiences that users will choose to engage with, and provide an experience that delivers value.
  • We believe publishers should respect browser signals around tracking and privacy. Our content projects will respect DNT signals.
  • We will collect and retain the minimal amount of data required to provide value to users, advertisers, and publishers.
  • We will put users in control of product feature opt-in/out.

We’ve launched the early version of our platform in the Firefox anniversary release (33.1), last November and we’ve been learning and tweaking it since.  2015 is a big year for us to scale and build better experiences and we’re looking forward to sharing these with you.

Feel free to reach out to us (contentservices@mozilla.com) or join our interest list.  

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