Home > Desktop, Editorial > Major changes for Opera's desktop revenue model; Will Opera be ad-free???

Major changes for Opera's desktop revenue model; Will Opera be ad-free???

August 23, 2005

In an effort to gain a bigger foothold in the desktop market, Opera will announce an alternative business model for its desktop browser.

Opera’s main strength is in the mobile browser where it saw a profit in the last fiscal quarter. The desktop browser revenue, however, was down from last year.

One Opera employee said that the place is buzzing in Opera (the company) over this announcement. “You have something good to look forward to”.

There is a lot of speculation as to what this announcement entails.

Could it be that Opera will remove its advertisements from the browser in an effort gain a greater foothold in other markets which are much more profitable?

I don’t want to over analyze this, but at a recent shareholders meeting the CEO of Opera said in reference to the desktop browser “we are finding ways to monetize our user base a lot better than before, but licensing revenue is not part of that.” Is he implying that licensing revenue is not in the future of the desktop browser (i.e. it would remove the ads from the browser)?

Until version 5, Opera didn’t have a free version of its desktop browser. In the year 2000, however, it introduced the free version with ads.

Here is what Opera said at that time: “Before this release [version 5], between 1 and 1.5 million people worldwide used Opera. A sizeable number, but we were dwarfed in comparison to our competitors. Finding one’s niche and prospering can be good for many companies, but for us it posed a particular problem. A lot of sites were being constructed just to work with one browser, in effect shutting Opera users out. Therefore we felt the time had come to let Opera out in a free version, so that millions more could enjoy Opera’s Internet experience. Opera 5.0 for Windows was ‘set free’ in December of 2000, and during the first month 2 million users downloaded the browser.”

Removing the ads would have an even greater effect on the number of Opera users. The rest of the Opera products would also benefit from such a change.

I’ll post more about this as I get more info. Stay tuned.

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Categories: Desktop, Editorial
  1. August 23, 2005 at 6:11 pm

    I honestly can’t think of anything else that they could be doing other than removing the ads. If they are infact removing them, much of the reason behind some peoples dissatisfaction for Opera, will be gone.
    Daniel DeVaney
    AquaboxPC.com

  2. August 23, 2005 at 7:23 pm

    Interesting. Any info as to how soon they plan to make the announcement? I agree that the cost (whether in ads or cash) has limited the size of Opera’s user base. Making it both ad-free and price-free would guarantee an increased user base. But I can’t figure out what the revenue source would be.

    My best guess if it’s a 100% free desktop browser: Use the mobile browser for revenue, and the desktop browser for mindshare (effectively using the desktop browser to promote the mobile browser).

  3. August 23, 2005 at 10:54 pm

    I’ve always thought that it would have been a good move for them to just release the browser standalone for free, locking out the email and chat and whatnot. Then if people wanted that stuff or wanted to support the company, they could register it like before for the full thing.

    But if they want to give it all away, I’m all for it! I’m sure they’ll see quite a change in users when there’s another free browser to pick from.

  4. August 24, 2005 at 12:59 am

    hmm, i doubt if opera will be ad-free. think about it this way,
    If opera were to go ad-free then the best time for this would have been with the release of opera 8.

  5. J81
    August 24, 2005 at 2:15 am

    Bleh, Opera shouldn’t be free. I’ve paid for it already 😉

  6. Anonymous
    August 24, 2005 at 3:43 am

    Because of Opera’s current business model I believed it was possible to make a commercial product that would survive in a market dominated by free and open-source alternatives. Is Opera going to prove me wrong by changing its business model? In a way, I would find that regrettable. On the other hand, more people would give the browser a try and that’s what Opera needs.

  7. Anonymous
    August 24, 2005 at 5:19 am

    Is this change going to take place in the next few days, next week or like the next month?

    /minisu

  8. Anonymous
    August 24, 2005 at 9:26 am

    if they move to ad-free opera, everyone will come to the conclusion that firefox made them do it. and in sense, its correct.

  9. August 24, 2005 at 12:14 pm
  10. August 24, 2005 at 12:27 pm

    Hehe.

    Just a few months ago we kept hearing from Opera fans that “Opera can’t remove the ads from it’s browser – that would kill them” whenever this was suggested by the Firefox side…

  11. August 24, 2005 at 2:21 pm

    I find the Opera 9 rumour much more plausible:
    http://my.opera.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=1022359#post1022359

  12. August 24, 2005 at 2:27 pm

    I find the Opera 9 rumour much more plausible

    They are currently testing the next public version, Opera 8.03.

  13. Anonymous
    August 24, 2005 at 4:40 pm

    “Hehe.

    Just a few months ago we kept hearing from Opera fans that “Opera can’t remove the ads from it’s browser – that would kill them” whenever this was suggested by the Firefox side…”

    It´s well known that Opera has decided to change their business model after Opera´s CFO read Asa´s comments a few months back.

    This is not confirmed yet but it seems that Opera will be open-source software in order to please David Naylor in particular…

  14. August 24, 2005 at 6:58 pm

    “This is not confirmed yet but it seems that Opera will be open-source software in order to please David Naylor in particular…”

    Heh. Yeah yeah, alright. You laugh about it. Nobody was laughing back then. You were all screaming about how Opera could not just ditch 30% of its income, which it now seems its about to do…

  15. Anonymous
    August 24, 2005 at 8:50 pm

    David: What about growing up a bit and not always acting like a child? 🙂

  16. Anonymous
    August 25, 2005 at 1:03 am

    Other anonymous person: Why should David have to go first?

  17. Anonymous
    August 25, 2005 at 3:43 am

    To the anonymous guys above me:

    I don’t know how to spell my name so I left it blank 🙂

  18. August 25, 2005 at 4:39 am

    Whatever, guys. As long as I’m right. (Which I am.)

  19. Anonymous
    August 25, 2005 at 5:25 am

    “You were all screaming about how Opera could not just ditch 30% of its income…”

    …if they didn´t change their business model.

    It seems you forgot the important part of the argument. Nothing new here, anyway.

    “As long as I’m right. (Which I am.)”

    The Grand Wizard will be proud of your determination. I´m sure you will be promoted.

  20. Anonymous
    August 25, 2005 at 11:33 am

    “Other anonymous person: Why should David have to go first?”

    You are right, you should go first and then David.

  21. August 25, 2005 at 4:11 pm

    “…if they didn´t change their business model.”

    Sorry, but in which way will they have changed their business model, apart from stripping the adds from the Desktop version? (If all these rumours turn out to be true, that is.)

  22. Anonymous
    August 25, 2005 at 5:00 pm

    “Sorry, but in which way will they have changed their business model, apart from stripping the adds from the Desktop version? (If all these rumours turn out to be true, that is.)”

    From the PDF document:

    *Alternative business models expected to increase market share and revenue (Includes new distribution models and expanded partner agreements).*

    You will have to wait to the next Financial Statement (or buy some Opera stocks now that you are more familiar with Corporations) if you want more details.

  23. Anonymous
    August 25, 2005 at 5:07 pm

    so Operas going to be the much rumoured Google Browser then 😉

    Seriously, dont see how they can make it free without ads…be happy as larry if they do tho!

  24. August 25, 2005 at 8:51 pm

    New theory: Opera is getting some PC manufacturer to pre-install Opera as the default web browser.

    It’ll increase marketshare. They can get paid by the PC vendor. The end user gets a (perceived as) free browser with no ads that’s better than IE. Win-win-win all around.

  25. Anonymous
    August 26, 2005 at 10:17 am

    I remind everyone that the last time Opera leaked that something exciting was coming, it turned out to be Bittorrent support. [Insert thudding sound here.]

    And to anyone doubting the need to drop the ads for there to be any real competition, there’s these two numbers: 10 years and 0.5%.

  26. Anonymous
    August 29, 2005 at 11:22 pm

    It is!! For one day only!!
    download.com

  27. September 12, 2005 at 5:21 am

    Some people like Opera so much that they want to support Opera Software.

    Maybe Opera could have ad-free version and only ask for $$$ as donation or to unlock bonuses like kiosk mode, tech support, etc?

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