Mozilla has just launched an ad blocker for iOS 9 Safari, offering users extended control over their browsing privacy options. Focus lets users choose categories to block, but compared to its competitors, the app allows consumers to also block code that tracks their behaviour on web pages, including analytical and social trackers.
Focus blocks ads as well as analytics trackers
Some ads which are not tracked can be allowed through Focus, giving marketers an opportunity to reach users in-app. Focus is based on a blacklist from Disconnect.me, which creates a browser plug-in that identifies trackers.
Denelle Dixon-Thayer, Chief Legal and Business Officer, Mozilla, writes:
“We made Focus by Firefox because we believe content blockers need to be transparent with publishers and other content providers about how lists are created and maintained, rather than placing certain content in a permanent penalty box. We want this product to encourage a discussion about users and content providers, instead of monetizing users’ mistrust and pulling value out of the Web ecosystem.”
The app will be available free of charge. Since Mozilla does not operate an advertising network, that’s not a surprising move. The company doesn’t stand to lose ad partners. Focus works in Safari but not Firefox, because Apple doesn’t expand third-party browser usage to ad blockers.
Some have speculated that the move may be part of Mozilla’s strategy to halt revenue losses. However, latest earning reports showed that Mozilla revenue was up 5% for 2014 with the majority of earnings coming from Firefox. Revenue in 2014 was $330m compared to $314m in 2014.