Google and Mozilla to crack down on push notifications

19 April 2019

Virtually every website now sends permission prompts to its users, while some sites even force you into subscribing to push notifications. Many users were annoyed at that, and this is how Mozilla and Google responded to the issue.

Mozilla decided to carry out an experiment aimed at clarifying how notification permission prompts affect user interaction and website traffic in general.

According to the data received from December 25 2018 to January 24 2019, out of all the prompts shown on Firefox Beta, less than 3% were accepted by users, while almost 19% of prompts caused users to leave the site immediately.

From April 1 to April 29 2019, requests for permission to use notifications will not be shown in Firefox Nightly unless users click on some website element or push the button.

In the second half of the experiment, from April 15 to April 29, Firefox will add an icon in the address bar. If the user clicks on the icon, a site will offer them to subscribe to push notifications.

Google and Mozilla to crack down on push notifications


After conducting the Firefox Nightly experiment Mozilla will launch a short-running experiment in Firefox Release 67 to gather and analyze information on how users interact with notification prompts. This data will provide a foundation for developing new regulations for push notifications.

Mozilla claims that this sort of data collection experiment is an exception to the rule. The experiment will cover only a small percentage of users, and the received data will be thoroughly analyzed.

Google engineers are also aware of push notification spam, but they have a different approach to it.

They believe that only websites with a high user engagement level can send permission prompts. However, it’s not so simple. Engineers are planning to install the ability to send prompts into PWAs (progressive web applications), one of Google’s priority areas. No official statement has been released, however.

For affiliates working with push notifications it’s rather bad news, as these improvements will directly affect the way people subscribe to push notifications. It’s too early to say something with certainty now. Only time will tell how push notifications will evolve in the future.

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