Is This Screen A Scam?

Charles was a little puzzled by a screen that popped up when he opened Firefox. He writes: “When I open Firefox lately, I see this page asking me to donate money. It even tried to get me to sign up for a monthly subscription. I always thought that Firefox was free. I did not click on it. I ran Malware Bytes and my Norton anti-virus and also followed your instructions on checking for programs that I didn’t install or any type of add-ons in my Firefox browser.  My anti-virus and Malware Bytes didn’t find anything. I saw no recently installed programs and there were no add-ons that I had not previously authorized and nothing that was recently installed. I even tried uninstalling and re-installing Firefox, but it is still there. Where is this coming from? Is Firefox really charging a monthly subscription now? I like it, but I don’t think it is worth a monthly subscription fee when other browsers are available for free or included with your computer.”

Good for you for being so vigilant. I’ll be that the screen you saw was the one below:

mozilla-needs-money

The good news is that you don’t have a virus or some type of adware. This is a legitimate appeal for funds from Mozilla, the developer behind Firefox. Unlike Microsoft ( the developers of Internet Explorer and Edge) or Google (the developers of Chrome), Firefox was developed by the Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit.

firefoxmenu

The Mozilla Foundation is regarded by some as sort of the conscience of the Internet, fighting for privacy, encouraging open source development and encouraging young people to learn code. They have a for-profit branch, Mozilla Corp, which distributes Firefox and made a ton of money through a partnership it had with Google. You probably remember that Google was once the default search engine in Firefox. They were paid hundreds of millions for this by Google, but last year switched to Yahoo.

yahoofirefox

Also in the past few years, Firefox’s share of the browser market has dropped by nearly 50%. So, the Mozilla Foundation is counting on contribution by people who appreciate their privacy-focused browser to kick in a little money.

These donations are not mandatory. You can certainly ignore the appeals. The option to donate monthly is just there for those who choose to do so.

So there’s no monthly fee coming for your favorite browser.

~ Cynthia

4 thoughts on “Is This Screen A Scam?

  1. The reason FF has dropped market share in recent years is that is has grown arrogant, stripping features users loved and imposing things users hated, beginning with version 29. Many users have abandoned ship for Pale Moon. If they had wanted a Chrome like product, they would be using Chrome.

  2. THANK YOU so much for verifying this!!!!! Although really self-explanatory in their “quest” for donations, this really puts me at ease that it’s still ok to use Firefox and not have to pay….but I did donate my ONE-TIME $3 now!!!!
    Thanks again!!!!

  3. On the one hand I am all for companies like Mozilla and Firefox… They provided the best product out there for a long time and I found it very worthwhile to donate, over the years, for a product that did not cost me anything and performed the job beautifully…I actually think it is arrogant to keep using “free stuff” from a non profit when you find it works well for you and you have the funds. I really hate companies that charge hundreds of dollars for a product that you find out(far too late)doesn’t work for you or is poorly made (Micro$quish comes to mind, and several others)

    That being said, I have become increasingly annoyed with the removal of features and the increasing incompatibility of plug-ins that has occurred in the past couple years. I lost a favorite ‘Cool Previews’ recently because Firefox forced an update through, even after I told it not to. For that reason alone, I am starting to look at other browser possibilities… although IE and even Edge or way down the list of considerations.

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