Google blocks paid Chrome extension publishing and updating

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 27, 2020
Google Chrome, Google Chrome extensions

Google Chrome extension developers who try to publish new paid extensions for the Chrome web browser or update existing ones started to notice last week that Google would reject these outright with the rejection message "Spam and Placement in the Store".

The Chrome Web Store accepts free and paid extensions unlike most other web browser stores that only accept free extensions (developers may still request a form of payment or subscription using other means).

A study published in mid 2019 revealed that 8.9% of all Chrome extensions fell into the paid category and that commercial extensions made up only 2.6% of all extension installations.

chrome web store

Chrome Extensions Developer Advocate Simeon Vincent published an announcement on the official Chromium Extensions forum on Google Groups that provides information on the decision.


According to the information, Google decided to halt all commercial Chrome extension publications because of a "significant increase in the number of fraudulent transactions involving paid Chrome extensions that aim to exploit users". The abuse is happening on scale according to the message and Google decided to disable publishing paid items temporarily as a consequence.

Earlier this month the Chrome Web Store team detected a significant increase in the number of fraudulent transactions involving paid Chrome extensions that aim to exploit users. Due to the scale of this abuse, we have temporarily disabled publishing paid items. This is a temporary measure meant to stem this influx as we look for long-term solutions to address the broader pattern of abuse.

If you have paid extensions, subscriptions, or in app-purchases and have received a rejection for "Spam and Placement in the Store" this month, this is most likely the cause.

Developers affected by this will receive a "Spam and Placement in the Store" rejection. Vincent notes that developers should "reply to the rejection and request an appeal" to get the item published in the store; this process must be repeated for each new version of the extension according to Google.

Google made the announcement on January 25, 2020 on the official Chromium Extensions group but developers who tried to update or publish paid extensions have run into the issues for days without any form of information.

The only option that developers have at this point in time is to appeal the decision each time they publish an update or a new extension. Google has been criticized in the past for its handling of developers on the Chrome Web Store and in particular the rejection messages that often reveal little about the detected issue.

Now You: have you ever installed a paid Chrome extension? (via ZDnet)

Google blocks paid Chrome extension publishing and updating
Article Name
Google blocks paid Chrome extension publishing and updating
Google started to block the publication or updating of paid extensions for the company's Chrome web browser in January 2020 temporarily.
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  1. Nik said on April 16, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    are there any updates on this topic?
    I’m trying to publish a new paid extension, but the pricing option in the dashboard is not showing up for some reason.
    Does this situation still persist?

  2. Nick said on February 1, 2020 at 11:35 am

    I guess some extension was getting too big for Google’s liking.

  3. ULBoom said on January 28, 2020 at 4:28 am

    Android “extensions” (anything added to the OS, aka apps) can still have prices? Why are they not in the same boat as Chrome extensions?

    No, I’d never pay for an extension or add on. I will and do pay for legitimate, functional, useful desktop software.

  4. Jack said on January 27, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    Martin, FYI, your website font is impossibly faint on my computer display. Is it just me, or do others see it that way, too?
    I use NoSquint to make it black, but it doesn’t always work.

    1. Sol Shine said on January 28, 2020 at 6:22 pm

      I know people who have the same problem with this site and others.
      It is one of those ‘modern’ ideas to make the color of fonts grey instead of black.
      So the contrast is low. This policy ignores (elderly) users who have vision problems.

      If in your case if the contrast is very low, it may be due to a problem with your computer display.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 27, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      Jack, which browser and version do you use? Can you make a screenshot and send it to

      1. notanon said on January 29, 2020 at 12:08 am

        @Martin, no problem with your website’s font rendering on my end.

        Firefox 72.02 64-bit, Windows 10.

        Martin, ask him if he’s using a “dark” mode.

        @Jack, there’s lots of versions of Linux, maybe tell Martin what version of Linux you’re using.

        Maybe your Linux is doing some weird font substitution.

      2. Jack said on January 27, 2020 at 7:12 pm

        Pale Moon 28.8.1 64-bit on Linux, but your site looks the same on any browser I use. As I said, most of the time, NoSquint helps on Pale Moon and Firefox. I’ll try and send you a screenshot.

  5. Cor said on January 27, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    Google just wants a piece of the pie. Similar to YouTube it looks like Google extensions is making plans to roll out its own payment mechanism.
    And again similar to YouTube, without any communication whatsoever.

  6. Yuliya said on January 27, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    Good riddance!

  7. Benjamin said on January 27, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Yes of course, al least to blame those who do understand what is being done.
    Yet, it is a new technology and as such it should not be free to decide and control for a select few, for example to spy on everybody else and even sell all this to gain tax free profits.
    What good are such constructions at the end and for whom?
    Are they inherently democratic, liberal in the sense that they make people independent from social and political misery or liberal in the sense of today’s consumerism and free choices of what to buy.
    I am a political person and i believe in a strong state with regulations for the good of the people and not just to make tax heavens available for a select few. I am strongly for open transparent societies yet that should include the doings of corporations too

  8. Juraj Mäsiar said on January 27, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Interesting, from my experience (I’m author of, most of the new releases for all of my extensions is now rejected due to various reasons. Even minor update or changing a description will often get rejected. And the rejection reason is like totally random thing. Then I have to reply, wait several more days and then it gets approved. Really really bad experience. Not to mention hot-fixing is now totally impossible since you can’t revert or relase new version without waiting several days!

    This is happening ever since they discovered those fake adblockers that were doing the cookie-stuffing.

    1. Nick said on February 1, 2020 at 11:36 am

      This seems to be standard industry practice toward freelancers these days :(

    2. Louis said on January 27, 2020 at 4:16 pm

      Unfortunately this is what you have to deal with because there are so many scam extension developers who target the most popular store. In a perfect world every extension developer would be like you. GroupSpeedDial is awesome sir. I use it in Chrome and Fiefox. Keep up your great work.

  9. Allwynd said on January 27, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Extensions should never have a paid option. That’s just asking for trouble.

  10. pollback said on January 27, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    there is a indeep reason why google blocked paid extensions,
    Google said the wave of fraudulent transactions began earlier this month.
    Google engineers described the fraudulent transactions as happening “at scale.”

    “This is a temporary measure meant to stem this influx as we look for long-term solutions to address the broader pattern of abuse,” said Simeon Vincent, Developer Advocate for Chrome Extensions at Google.

    Robbery is not fairly exchange; apart from that indonesian crooks have been arrested in december

  11. Benjamin said on January 27, 2020 at 10:15 am

    and who is the biggest free taker of them all?

    Speaking of it, it is long overdue that to large corporations must be held responsible for anything affecting society and individuals like for example stealing, collecting and interpreting and selling the data of mankind?

    Perhaps like the ones gathered here in the open: not to mention the myriad ones we use while using internet technology

    1. Addy T. said on January 27, 2020 at 11:01 pm

      You don’t “steal” data when you need an IP address to send your information to, or when you require cookies for making online shopping/banking possible, usually over a secure connection.
      Selling or intercepting that data is a different story.

      The criticism of Facebook and Twitter is largely the work of traditional media corporations. They wage an economic war against such new companies because they rightly fear to lose ad revenue. I assume that Facebook and Twitter are already losing a colossal amount of money in order to analyze and moderate conent that is perfectly legal in the country where they are based, the US. However, it’s the fault of Twitter etc if they play along. They should just kick these journalists and politicians off their platforms. I watched a podcast with Twitter’s Jack, and my impression was that he had no spine and no clue. Zuckerberg, too, seems to have no idea about how his company’s policy decisions are made and implemented.

    2. yawn said on January 27, 2020 at 10:43 am

      How about blaming the people stealing instead? I do find it annoying when people whine about twitter, facebook etc (I’m certainly no fan of theirs) because of content yet you never hear the same people complain about the people who put it there.

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