Google pays for Firefox and AdSense
By Charlene Li
Last Friday, Google's AdSense program announced that it will pay publishers if they refer new sign-ups to AdSense through an ad on their sites. Even more interesting, AdSense will also pay publishers if they get users to download Firefox with the Google Toolbar. More information is available at https://www.google.com/adsense/referrals. Referral fees will be $100 per AdSense sign-up and $1 for each instance when a download of Firefox is run for the first time.
What got my attention is that Google is paying for distribution of its Toolbar. This is need for distribution is similar to why Google struck a deal with Sun to distribute Toolbar. It's also a great way for Firefox to increase its distribution base. More from Firefox also has its take on the announcement.
I was at a meeting on Thursday evening with Mitchell Baker and John Lilly from Mozilla Foundation where they said that Firefox now had 14% share of the US browser market. Firefox has long encouraged its base to include graphics to promote others download Firefox. But Google's AdSense now gives it an opportunity to pay site owners to do this, which will only further encourage the Firefox's marketing and distribution. While it's not officially stated, it's pretty clear that Google is footing the bill.
I expect to see Firefox cut more deals like this in the future -- John Lilly is in charge of business development and his goal is to double the Firefox penetration over the next year.