According to Techcrunch, the folks at Mozilla are considering implementing a system that tracks user browsing. At the moment, your online activity is tracked in three ways: software installed on user PCs (Alexa, for example); data taken from websites; and ISPs selling user data (something they don't like to talk about). None are particularly reliable, insists Silicon Valley ringmaster Mike Arrington:
None of these services are particularly accurate (as can be seen by the fact that they almost always disagree with eachother). The problem is simply gathering enough data from enough users to be able to draw a picture-perfect image of actual Internet usage.
Mozilla's project, which technically doesn't even have a name yet, would ask the software's 170-million strong user base if they wanted to opt-in to user tracking. Opt-in being the key (and all too uncommon) phrase. Of course there's the problem that Firefox user interests may not represent the general public accurately.
I'm also not sure where Mike gets the idea that direct data straight from an ISP's artery is all that unreliable. Honestly, Mozilla's approach doesn't strike me as any more reliable than existing methods but hey, it would make Mozilla more money, and isn't that why we're all on this planet?