Mozilla Offers Premium Access To Websites That Hide Content Behind Paywall With Monthly Subscription Package Which Strips Away Ads Too

Mozilla Firefox has undoubtedly been one of the most preferred web browsers. Now Mozilla, the non-profit company behind the Firefox browser, is attempting to offer a premium subscription package. The monthly subscription grants users access to premium content that websites usually lock away behind “Paywalls”. The free version of Mozilla Firefox should continue to work as before. However, Mozilla has confirmed that the revenue earned through such a subscription model will be shared with the websites that give “better journalism experience” to the users. While this could certainly be an interesting approach to offer popular content, it could also address the rising and sometimes distracting use of advertisements. Google Chrome, on the other hand, recently indicated it is taking a different approach to strike a balance between content and ads.

Advertising has always been one of the most prominent revenue sources. Majority of the websites and even digital service providers rely heavily on advertising for their income and expenses. However, the growing usage of advertisements has pushed several internet users to opt for ad-blockers. There are several popular ad-blocking extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. Moreover, there are browsers like Opera, Brave, and others that come with their own inbuilt ad-blockers. These extensions of techniques strip away the primary source of revenue for websites and hence there has been the cause of a long-running feud between internet users, web browser makers and websites about using ad-blocking techniques.

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In an attempt to address the growing deployment of ads and the rising use of ad-blockers, several websites began adding a paywall to cover their expenses. While the implementation of a paywall may be good for websites as it generates a reliable source of revenue in the form of subscribers, it is latter who ends up spending a lot of money to read articles on their favorite websites. In an attempt to offer a middle ground, Mozilla is working on a system which would allow users to pay some small amount of fees to access content that usually stays behind paywalls and requires individual subscriptions to websites. Essentially, Mozilla is attempting to collate and create a repository of premium content. Users interested in such premium content would only have to pay one fee per month to the company and in return gain access to multiple, content serving websites.

What Is Mozilla’s Paid Monthly Subscription And How Much Does It Cost?

Mozilla clearly wants to create a unified platform that grants access to premium content that websites demand fees to unlock. The paywall concept is quite old, but an increasing number of websites have started to adopt this method to combat the rising use of ad-blockers. Needless to add, Mozilla isn’t the first one to have thought about the concept of offering curated access to websites for a fee. Scroll.com is a popular online platform that follows this very same methodology.

Interestingly, instead of building a network of partnering websites from the ground up, Mozilla made a wise decision and partnered with Scroll.com. Scroll is an independent website covering news, politics, sports, culture, and many other content niches. The website essentially collates content from The Verge, Buzzfeed, Gizmodo, and many other popular websites that command millions of daily visitors. Moreover, the platform promises an ad-free content consumption experience. It offers quite attractive monthly and annual subscription packages. The web platform claims to “fund quality journalism” and “deliver a great user experience”.  In addition to offering an ad-free experience, Scroll also offers more than four years’ worth of archives.

By partnering with Scroll, Mozilla has essentially offered a complete and secure ecosystem wherein content can be delivered ad-free. Additionally, Mozilla is promising to deliver audio versions of articles, bookmarks that are seamlessly synced across devices, exclusive top recommended reads, and an app that helps users find and consume premium content, all without the distraction of advertising.

Mozilla is promoting the new subscription-based model on its landing page. It has bestowed the service with the motto, “support the sites you love, avoid the ads you hate”. Moreover, the Firefox web browser maker has confirmed that the revenue collected by the company will be transferred to websites to give “better journalism experience” to the users. The terms of the agreement between Mozilla, Scroll and in extension, the websites providing content, remain unclear. Still, Mozilla Firefox is undeniably one of the most robust and stable web browsers with versions for all popular PC and mobile operating systems.

What Are Other Web Browsers Like Google’s Chrome, Microsoft Edge,  Doing About Ad Bombardment?

According to frequent internet users, the menace of ads has been growing exponential. Several websites routinely abuse ads. In addition to flooding a webpage with promotional messages, there are several multimedia components that auto-play without user consent. As a result, users have started to aggressively rely on ad-blockers.

Popular web browsers like Opera, Brave and others offer an inbuilt ad-blocking mechanism. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and other browsers have several popular ad-blocking extensions. Recently Google got itself entangled in a controversy regarding allegedly weakening key APIs that were used to prevent ads from loading.

Yesterday, Google promised to unload resource-hungry advertising. However, this could also be inferred to mean Google would allow ads that are light on resources. Interestingly, Google is preparing to enable Chrome’s built-in ad blocker by default in all Chrome instances starting July 9, 2019, which is less than a week away. Moreover, Chrome developers have also designed a security feature that prevents ad iframes from auto-initiating unwanted and potentially malicious downloads.

Mozilla’s partnership with Scroll to offer premium paywalled content for an attractive monthly subscription on Firefox is certainly an interesting attempt to strip ads and yet maintain a steady revenue stream. While other browsers are essentially stripping ads, Mozilla has adopted a seemingly same but still novel approach that strikes a balance. Let us see how other web browsers react.


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