The snippet area in Firefox is usually meant to contain information and tips about Mozilla's services, but it now seems that this portion is beginning to serve ads to users. More specifically, the browser has been spotted showing a hotel ad from Booking.com.
According to a Reddit user, Firefox version 64.0 is delivering the ad via the snippet section for booking hotel accommodations, with a free $20 Amazon gift card on offer to boot. The ad states:
“Ready to schedule that next family reunion? Here’s a thank you from Firefox. Book your next Hotel stay on Booking.com today and get a free $20 Amazon gift card. Happy holidays from Firefox. (Restrictions Apply)."
In the settings menu of Firefox, the snippet is described as a tool to provide "updates from Mozilla and Firefox," so the sighting of the hotel ad is a bit of a mystery. We've reached out to Mozilla for comment and we'll update this post when we receive an official response.
This instance could be seen as part of Mozilla's effort to monetize the browser, just as it is doing already by recommending the purchase of a $10 per month ProtonVPN subscription to its users as part of a test.
It's not as if Firefox has never been known for serving this kind of content to users. Earlier this year, Mozilla introduced sponsored content in the beta version of Firefox 60 to generate more revenue.
Update: Mozilla has provided a statement to Neowin. Here's what the organization has to say:
"This snippet was an experiment to provide more value to Firefox users through offers provided by a partner. It was not a paid placement or advertisement. We are continually looking for more ways to say thanks for using Firefox. In a similar vein, earlier this month we offered Firefox users a free opportunity to enjoy a live concert from Phosphorescent."
Mozilla added that this effort aims to support an open ecosystem and clarified that no user data is being shared with third-parties until users agree to "enter a relationship."