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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox Internet browser, will start selling ads as it tries to grab a larger slice of the fast-expanding online advertising market.
The company said in a blog posting on Tuesday that it has reached out to potential corporate sponsors about its fledgling "Directory Tiles" program, targeted at first-time users.
Novice Firefox users now see nine blank tiles when they open up the browser, which fill in over time with their most-visited or recently visited websites. Now, Mozilla intends to display the most popular sites by location, as well as sponsored websites that will be clearly labeled as such.
"While we have not worked out the entire product roadmap, we are beginning to talk to content partners about the opportunity, and plan to start showing Directory Tiles to new Firefox users as soon as we have the user experience right," Darren Herman, vice president of content services, wrote in the blogpost.
The nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, which oversees the Mozilla Corp business that develops the Firefox browser, currently gets revenue from a search agreement with Google Inc. But Firefox, once the most popular alternative to Microsoft's Internet explorer, has been slowly ceding share to Google's Chrome browser.
Editing by Peter Galloway