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Google Starts Charging a Signup Fee For Chrome Extension Developers 132

Posted by Soulskill
from the got-my-mind-on-my-money dept.
trooperer writes "On Thursday, Google introduced two significant changes in the Google Chrome Extensions Gallery: a developer signup fee and a domain verification system. The signup fee is a one-time payment of $5. The announcement says its purpose is to 'create better safeguards against fraudulent extensions in the gallery and limit the activity of malicious developer accounts.' Developers who already registered with the gallery can continue to update their extensions and publish new items without paying the fee." Google also made available a developer preview for the Chrome Web Store.
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Google Starts Charging a Signup Fee For Chrome Extension Developers

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  • So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 21, 2010 @05:32PM (#33327738)

    So you have to pay a fee to register an extension with them. So what?

    I mean, ok, yes, I can see why I might prefer to be listed in Firefox's extension gallery for free, but there's nothing stopping me from distributing the extension on my own, via a third party.

  • The $5 ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @05:45PM (#33327826)
    The $5 is probably a way for them to be able ID anyone who wants to sneak malicious code into an extension. If they have your CC number they have a pretty good way of knowing who you might be. If they took cash the $5 wouldn't stop anyone who wanted to poison their extension. A verifiable electronic payment will prevent most of those who might try it.
  • Re:The $5 ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sethus (609631) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @05:58PM (#33327892)
    Good idea in theory, but I'd be willing to guess, it would be very easy to provide a stolen credit card for this information.
  • by nacturation (646836) * <nacturation @ g m> on Saturday August 21, 2010 @05:59PM (#33327896) Journal

    Paypal does same for same purpose and charges $1, to put it back in 24 hours. Does Google do it? Or they can't afford? (!)

    What does your post have to do with liking them apples? Anyways, in terms of money consider that had they implemented this program from day 1 they would have netted about $30,000 had every developer paid the $5, and those developers are getting grandfathered in for free. Obviously it's not about the money for them.

  • Re:Why not? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by calzakk (1455889) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @06:01PM (#33327906) Journal

    Considering the bandwidth costs and the fact that (most?) extensions don't make them any money

    Of course, extensions generally improve the browser, by providing features the browser doesn't. Firefox is a good example, which would quite likely be forgotten by many of its users if it weren't for it's many good extensions. Quite simply: more extensions, more users, more revenue.

  • Re:say... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 21, 2010 @06:19PM (#33327990)

    I don't, so I can host my app on my own website free of charge.

  • by Threni (635302) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @06:27PM (#33328022)

    > Man, really does or has some very advanced background mind programming graphic so some people becomes rather like cult members?

    No, but they have people releasing code for their platform who view the $5 charge in the same way they view their ISP/electricity/book costs - as part of doing business.

  • Re:The $5 ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @06:28PM (#33328030)

    It is also a good filter against random trouble makers.

    Rich Kaynka (Something Awful) actually talked about this that you get some people, kids in particular, with a lot of time on their hands who will spend it making life difficult for you. In his case it was someone repeatedly spamming stupid shit on the forums. One thing that does a nice job of eliminating that is a small charge. Reason is that you have to be at least somewhat serious to be willing to pay that.

    As you said, it wont' stop someone who really wants to make an evil extension (though verifiability helps with that), but it'll probably stop people who just want to be a pain in the ass and submit lots of stupid and/or non functional extensions to try and cause trouble. It's easy to create hundreds of bogus accounts and post crap with them. It is hard to spend hundreds of dollars to do the same.

  • Re:The $5 ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rm999 (775449) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @06:31PM (#33328052)

    Stolen credit cards aren't cheap.

    You are both right. It's not a foolproof preventative measure, but it is a small effort that stops petty criminals and hinders large-scale criminals.

  • rhinestone bullet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epine (68316) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @06:31PM (#33328056)

    If you have time, read all about it. "Get users credit card number" validation scheme is over. Completely over.

    You're from the school of silver bullets. If it won't work to a high degree, it's completely worthless. You might note that Google is not without resources in identifying the difference between a valid CC number and one found floating down some pipe in the intertubes.

    If half of the malicious lamers are too stupid to notice this, then Google has improved the signal to noise ratio in policing their chrome extension developers by 3dB.

    It's a minor barrier to malfeasance. It discourages sock puppets. And it sends the message "we care" which is the main reason aggressively scrubbing graffiti off trains in NYC works so effectively.

    The downside? Fewer chrome extensions written by the next teenage African Einstein. And shirt-rending despair over failure to attain the requisite degree of silver-bullet superhero mojo. Yet another superhero impostor. It's a tough life.

  • Re:say... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 21, 2010 @08:10PM (#33328616)

    *shrug* I can still publish my .crx on my own site. Nothing really changes.
    But it does point to a flaw of sorts in Chrome extensions. The security model is not nearly granular enough. Since almost any non-trivial extension will, according to Chrome, need access to all your browser data and whatnot, users desensitise to that and thus it becomes easy for crap to go unnoticed. Think about it: if all plants on the planet looked like soldiers, soldiers wouldn't need camouflage.
    So it's a half-assed social solution to a technical problem.

  • by Squeeself (729802) on Saturday August 21, 2010 @11:19PM (#33329308)
    All it takes is $1 dollar (or in this case, 5), and 90% of your "annoying" userbase goes away, where annoying is spammers, cheaters, jokesters, etc. Anyone seriously wanting to cause trouble still will, but bored kids out for a thrill won't bother. In this case, it likely has the benefit of washing out any DOA projects that will just clog up searches. Anyone serious about creating project won't really blink at the cost, since it's so small, even if they don't plan to make money themselves. If you want quantity over quality, leave a user-generated content service free. If you want quality over quantity, charge a nominal fee. Works very well I've found.

"Life, loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it." -- Marvin the paranoid android