FireFox, Google’s Super Affiliate!

Written by Zac Johnson
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With FireFox market share on the rise, up to nearly 20% as of 7/11/06, there is no doubt that they are putting pressure on Microsoft and their Internet Explorer. I would think that market share is much higher among us internet marketers and bloggers. With FireFox v3 ready for primetime, I can only imagine that market share will continue to rise. Since FireFox is “just a browser“… and a savior to so many web users, how much money are they actually making? The browser is free, updates are free, the killer add-on are free… so where is the money coming from to provide all of this? One word…. Google!

Every time you load up your FireFox browser, you are sent to a lovely customized Google home page. You also have the option to use the Google Search Box at the top right the browser. FireFox isn’t providing Google to all of their users because it is the search engine of choice! They are cashing in, and making millions! Think of it as Google Adsense on steroids!

Last October, the Mozilla Foundation released their 2006 financial statement. Once the report was released, it was clear that Google was the parent that gave Mozilla it’s life. This financial statement told everyone that Google provides 85% of the revenue for the Mozilla Corp. subsidiary. As reported by The Register, “The footnote lists “concentrations of risks”: “Mozilla has a contract with a search engine provider for royalties,” reads a footnote buried at the bottom of the statement. “Approximately 85 per cent of Mozilla’s revenue was derived from this contact.”. Of course, the search engine they speak of is Google.

So how much money does Mozilla actually make? In 2006, Mozilla reported revenues of $66,840,850. Compared to their 2005 earnings, that is an increase of 26 percent. The CEO of Mozilla says “As in 2005 the vast majority of this revenue is associated with the search functionality in Mozilla Firefox, and the majority of that is from Google“.

How awesome of a cash cow product is Mozilla’s FireFox? Are you still using Internet Explorer, or have you made the move over to FireFox? I hope this article gives you a new train of thought every time you open up your FireFox browser and use the search box or homepage… like all of their other millions of users, you’re making them rich!

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25 Replies to “FireFox, Google’s Super Affiliate!”

  1. Actually firefox comes with adsense or google ad. But another factor, I ve written a pic post for why we should choose firefox but not IE, click my name then u can find the reason, take it easy! 🙂

  2. >FireFox isn’t providing Google to all of their users

    >because it is the search engine of choice! They are

    >cashing in, and making millions!

    The first part of that is completely untrue. The second part is right. We put Google (and a yahoo and amazon and ebay and others) into the Firefox search feature years before there was any revenue associated with it. We had to pick a default and did that _exactly_ because it was our users' search engine of choice.

    Several years later, there was an opportunity to create a revenue stream from that feature but the feature was included in Firefox because our users asked for it (and actually, our users wrote the feature itself — Firefox is user generated software.)

    Additionally, Firefox is owned 100% by a non-profit, public benefit, charitable organization, the Mozilla Foundation. There is no IPO in the future and the money is all being pumped directly back into the project or put in savings should the revenue model go away (either because people stopped asking for built-in search, unlikly, or because the advertising model that powers search stops being monetizeable.) There is no one, as you say, getting rich here.

    – A

    1. Very interesting post. Would like to see the legitimacy of it though… having said that, even if they are making 60mill a year in rev, its well deserved as FireFox rocks!

  3. Bottom line: companies and individuals that deliver superior products and services will reap the rewards of their work…until someone figures out how to do the same things better.

  4. You can add several search engines to the firefox bar, including GOODSEARCH which collects money for charity each time you search. Or you can add Info.com, Answers.com, Clusty.com, Ixquick, Polymeta, and more.

  5. Wow! I didn't realize they were raking it in from Google like THAT! I knew they had some form of partnership though (pretty obvious to anyone who earns from Google Adsense since Firefox is a referral component). I agree with ViralKing though… they deserve it! I LOVE Firefox and everyone knows it's the superior browser. Not to mention I despise how Microsoft handled the Netscape browser war back in the day *ugh*

    Thanks for the insight Zac! ~E

  6. Heh. I don't mind giving them a nice little chunk of change… hell, I provided AOL and MS that money for years, and they provided me with junk 😉

    I love Firefox and I don't think I could be online without it!

  7. Firefox is always loved by people, and i too love it 🙂
    And man i never got the thought of google + firefox, just keep searching through its toolbar!

  8. I think it's a good thing that Mozilla is getting such a big amount of money from Google. All Mozilla has to do now is get a list of other big companies willing to contribute funding. Having more than half your funding coming from 1 company is a start, but no long term strategy.

    Still, my hat is off to the good Mozilla folks, who brought us so many improvements in Open Source, and awesome free software.

  9. "Having more than half your funding coming from 1 company is a start, but no long term strategy. "

    You make it sound like some kind of underwriting. It's not. It's a revenue relationship with a search company based on user traffic and actions. Any of the other major search companies would happily pay for the default position in Firefox. We go with Google because it's the best, not because it's the only option. If it stops being the best, we'll move to a different one and probably have an equally positive revenue arrangement with that company.

    The point is that the revenue generating feature is about search, not about any one search company. I'd get it if you suggested that we should be looking into other incomes unrelated to search, but it's not about Google, it's about the feature.

    Make sense?

    1. Yes, sorry if I miss-stated my opinion. I was speaking of revenue in general for the Moz Foundation, not just related to the search feature.

      Having Google as the default search engine definitely does make sense, since this is what people currently demand (whether or not Moz gets paid for it).

      Now, back to my point. I am being critical of the multitude of Tech Corporations (and not of Mozilla) for not investing more heavily into the foundation. Clearly, all of the software Moz provides helps people using and discovering the internet. The corporations should all contribute to the "tip jar" on this one.

  10. Great post! I knew Firefox was funded by Google in some way, but I would have never guessed the amount Google hands them!

  11. I am still using Internet explorer :p just to tease google … Not convinced yet to switch … Only use FF to see the design compatibility as I am a free lancer.

  12. I would like to know what firefox going to do now since the Google chrome is taking over the internet.

  13. omg, $66,840,850 in 2006. but lately FF getting slower and ppl start running to chrome. i don't thnk other browser can compete with FF friendly addon plugins. it such a great browser invented ever for webmaster! love ur info. thanks

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