Almost everyone these days know about browsing the web, but not all of those are actualy familiar with a web browser. For that subset of web surfers, Mozilla is introducing the Directory Tiles initiative to give them a clue by suggesting sites that have paid to be in the spotlight.
The way this works is that certain sites will be be shelling out some unknown amount in order to be featured in Firefox's New Tab page. Currently, the tiles on this page are populated by recently or frequently visited sites, determined by certain algorithms that Firefox has set up. But in the case of a newly installed Firefox, that page will be quite empty except for Firefox's own link. Fearing that new or first time web browser users will fear the blank page, Mozilla decided to help give them ideas.
This is definitely not the first time that Mozilla has accepted monetary compensation for some sort of preferential treatment as it also has sponsorship program for its default search engine configuration. It believes that neither that nor this new initiative goes against any of its principles and mission, which is growing the Web. And growing the Web involves bringing content to the Web, and bringing users to those content.
Once Directory Tiles is ready, it will launch first on the desktop, to be followed by Firefox for Android and Firefox OS. The situation isn't as dreary as it may seem. Directory Tiles will only be active on newly installed or reinstalled Firefox browsers. Once Firefox has enough data on the user's browsing history and preferences, which usually takes around a month or so, Firefox will then gradually show less of those sponsored sites.