Thursday, June 14, 2007

How browsers make money while remaining free

Sometimes back speculations were rife that mozilla had earned about $72M in the year 2005 in revenues. Altough not exactly true this estimate was pretty close to the actual revenue of $52.9M. Most of this revenue was generated through what mitchell termed as search engine relationships.
Whenever you type any search query in firefox a client=firefox-a string is appended to the search query which tells the google servers that the search generated from firefox. This is logged by the google servers and whenever a user clicks on a adsense ad which generated from the firefox browser a cut from it goes to mozilla. Seeing that there are millions of firefox users a $1 contribution from each user will be enough to generate a revenue of millions for mozilla.
This market is so lucrative that it converted opera a shareware browser earning about $4M each year to a freeware. Even a popular download manager( flashget) ended up being a freeware due to this reason.
I wonder what mozilla's revenue will be this year. Seeing that firefox user base has grown by an enormous amount i bet it will be close to $150M.