Mozilla Add-ons developers may soon pay Mozilla for reviews and promoted listings - gHacks Tech News


Mozilla Add-ons developers may soon pay Mozilla for reviews and promoted listings

Mozilla announced the introduction of the "Promoted Add-ons Pilot" program on September 9, 2020 on the official Add-ons blog. The pilot program will run between September and November 2020, and may be turned into a full service for developers of Firefox add-ons afterwards.

The main idea behind the new service is to provide add-on developers and companies with options to have their add-ons manually reviewed by Mozilla and as a consequence, promoted on the Mozilla website.

Called Promoted Add-ons, the system enables developers to get a verified badge on their add-ons profile page and their add-ons promoted on the Mozilla AMO hompage. Developers may pay Mozilla for the review only, and thus also the verified badge, and also to get their add-ons listed on the homepage of the Add-ons site.

via Mozilla

Jorge Villalobos, product manager for, notes that Mozilla would love to review all extensions for free for policy compliance but cannot because "the cost would be prohibitive" as reviews are done by humans.

Some developers have asked Mozilla if there is a way to get add-ons reviewed and featured on the site according to Villalobos, and the pilot program tries to find out if there is enough interest to warrant launching the new service for all developers.

Add-on developers and companies may sign-up for the pilot program if they are based in the following countries: United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, or Singapore.

The other requirements:

  1. The add-on needs to be listed on
  2. the add-on needs to pass a manual review to receive the verified badge.
  3. Recommended extensions don't need to apply as they get all the benefits.

Mozilla plans to accept up to 12 add-ons for inclusion in the pilot program as test capacities are limited.

Closing Words

Mozilla changed the add-on reviewing process in the past from manual reviews to automated reviews. It then introduced the recommended extensions program as a way to promote certain add-ons for Firefox that are exceptional. These add-ons get reviewed manually.

The Promoted Add-ons test pilot program looks like a paid extension to the recommended extensions program. The core differences are that developers need to pay Mozilla to get the verified badge and the promotion on the homepage, and that the only requirement for inclusion is that the add-on needs to be listed on the Add-ons website and pass manual review. These add-ons won't be promoted in the Firefox web browser it appears, at least nothing of the sort was mentioned by Mozilla in the announcement.

Mozilla does not charge developers during the test period but will do so afterwards. Pricing has not been mentioned.

The introduction of the recommended extensions system has created a two-tier add-ons system already. While pricing for the new Promoted Add-ons system has not been announced, it is possible that the service will predominantly be used by companies and large developers who earn money from their extensions in one way or another.

The only benefit that Firefox users have is that more add-ons will get reviewed manually by Mozilla.

Now You: What is your take on this new program?

Mozilla Add-ons developers may soon pay Mozilla for reviews and promoted listings
Article Name
Mozilla Add-ons developers may soon pay Mozilla for reviews and promoted listings
Mozilla announced the introduction of the "Promoted Add-ons Pilot" program on September 9, 2020 on the official Add-ons blog.
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  1. ShintoPlasm said on September 11, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    I wonder if the next step will be to remove the free tier entirely, or to demote free add-ons to a second-class state with crippling limitations…

  2. Iron Heart said on September 11, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Now that’s a move desperation if I ever saw one… I mean, getting away from Google is a good idea in principle, but doing this to the add-on developers’ disadvantage is despicable. They are also failing to realize that many add-ons are passion projects made for the benefit of the community, monetizing such a platform is bound to drive such devs away.
    Maybe they are beginning to realize that nobody will be buying stuff like their VPN, because others in the business can do it better anyway and are also better known. So here we are…

    1. John Xm said on September 11, 2020 at 4:50 pm

      Not only that, but how can we be sure that “promoted” add-ons are fully reviewed for malware and other malicious code.

      If they pay a lot to Mozilla, will they turn a blind eye?

      1. Anonymous said on September 16, 2020 at 8:41 pm

        Exactly! Everbody should code his own browser, that’s what I am saying all day long.

    2. Ray said on September 11, 2020 at 9:09 pm

      I agree that this is a desperate move on Mozilla’s part. I guess they need any revenue stream they can get these days.

    3. byezila said on September 12, 2020 at 10:54 am

      Next stop: coins, rewards, etc. Taking cues from former Exec.

      1. Iron Heart said on September 12, 2020 at 4:51 pm


        Well, Brave Rewards are:

        – privacy-respecting, it’s a local algorithm that is not reporting back to Brave Software (you can verify this by checking the outgoing connections, you don’t have to trust me here)
        – turned off by default

        I can choose not to use this, and Brave is a good browser with or without Brave Rewards enabled. However, Firefox users will be pestered with sponsored add-on suggestions whenever you go to AMO in order to download an add-on, the Pocket stuff is also heavily “in your face” ever since Mozilla Corp. acquired Pocket. Don’t expect them to be as laid back as Eich when it comes to generating revenue.

  3. Anonymous said on September 11, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    All this talk of mozilla ditching google is nonsense, money talks, bs walks. mosilly is becoming the desperate company of ‘too little, too late’. they will milk the cow until market share is < 1% before disappearing into obscurity. But hey, at least they all got rich, right mozilla?

  4. Yuliya said on September 11, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Dumb is the one who is giving, not the one asking…
    Expect garbage like “Honey” to be promoted all over the place.

    1. some1 said on September 11, 2020 at 5:17 pm

      Honey and other malware addons are going to top this promoted list!

    2. I want to die said on September 11, 2020 at 7:54 pm

      For once I agree with you.

    3. Jack said on September 12, 2020 at 12:09 am

      It already is

  5. ULBoom said on September 11, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    OMG! They could try panhandling; that would definitely work and bring in more revenue than rebranding Mullvad, I’d bet. Launder donations through the Foundation.

    Speaking of betting, try Las Vegas, it’s fairly close. Mozilla isn’t so great at knowing which games to bet now but the venture could be written off as R&D until they learn.

    Silly ideas? Oh yeah? Got anything better, Mozilla?

    1. Anonymous said on September 12, 2020 at 11:38 am

      > They could try panhandling; that would definitely work and bring in more revenue than rebranding Mullvad, I’d bet. Launder donations through the Foundation.

      They are already doing that every year around the holidays, when there’s another cry for donations to be made to the Foundation.

  6. Anonymous said on September 11, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    I doubt anyone will care about this.

    I wonder whether Mozilla has any data about the effect of promoted extensions on usage?

    Because most people don’t find an extension via looking around on the extension store. They either are already using the product before (like Lastpass), a family member/friend recommends the extension, or via marketing, etc.

    It will also reduce the quality of recommended extensions, which means the user experience suffers (for example, Adblock Plus will probably be recommended as well).

    While there are more than 20k extensions in the store, there are only 250 extensions with more than 25,000 users.

    Which means the number of extension developers willing to pay for a promoted listing will be even less, because the motivation behind that is always economical. Only few from the top extensions are created for making money.

    So in practice there will be maybe up to 50 extensions that pay for the listing, at most. This will probably bring in less revenue than the people hired to review the extensions.

    1-2 years ago I wrote here that the next step for mozilla is “monetizing the browser on all levels”. Guess this is happening now.

    They still get enough money from Google but it seems they want to become as independent as possible before the google money dries out.

    But there’s one big problem here. It’s not easy to make money if you create 100 new revenue channels out of thin air, since each channel only gives you pennies. You can’t scale anything that way, so the expenses rise as well.

    And money on the web is scarce nowadays. Everyone already has a part of the cake, there are only breadcrumbs left. So the only way to make money is radical innovation, and even that often fails due to practical monopolies.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 12, 2020 at 6:47 am

      As I understand it, there will be a clear difference between recommended extensions and verified extensions.

      1. notAUser said on September 15, 2020 at 1:09 pm

        @Martin Brinkmann,

        As a man said above quantity of top extensions which is made to earn money is to low. No metter which extensions will be “recommended” or “verified” because people usually search extensions from Google or forums recommendations and don’t care about any beautiful stickers or tags on an extension page. People just install functionality that they want to get.

        That is it.

        So Mozilla will not earn any money from that and even will spend more money for an infrastructure to support the paid code reviewers. I say it like an extension developer. :)

  7. Anonymous said on September 11, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    First: All those who complain that Mozilla wants to make money to continue existing means that they do not understand how a company works, because in case you did not know, ALL companies need to generate money to continue existing. If you cannot understand that, then your opinion directly is worth nothing. You may like it or not, but at least understand it.

    Second: Who cares what addons appear as promoted? As far as I know, the average Firefox user has or should have enough basic knowledge to distinguish what is junk from what is not. Are you going to donwload junk addons just because they appear as promoted? Then you should not be using Firefox from the beginning, go to use Chrome guys, it fits better your iq.

    Stop complaining for pleasure and appreciate that Mozilla continues to keep Firefox alive. The day they stop making money, you can all happily go to use Chrome (sarcasm).

    1. Iron Heart said on September 12, 2020 at 7:22 pm


      Forgive me for being that direct, but it is evident that you don’t know what you are talking about. Chromium, as a codebase, is far more complex and sophisticated than the Firefox codebase. Mozilla is lagging behind as far as the implementation of important features goes, their sandbox and site isolation are still pathetic and currently subject to code rot.

      That being said, I know that you are not talking about the backend, but rather about user-facing features / frontend (which is not the same thing). Well, Firefox isn’t too great there, either. They’ve gutted most internal customization and powerful add-ons are nowhere to be found anymore (the reason why I dropped Firefox back in then). Firefox still retains about:config, but it’s only a matter of time until they gut it, considering what happened to the Android version of FF. Funnily enough, on Android, any Chromium variant still retains chrome://flags, while Firefox doesn’t have anything like that anymore. I can mess with Chromium’s internals more than with the internals of Firefox at this point. The Firefox UI was also dumbed down to the lowest common denominator and is now inferior to some other browsers; if they really wanted to to offer the user a degree of configurability, Firefox would be akin in nature to Vivaldi (incidentally, Vivaldi is a Chromium-based browser, goes to show the quality of your argument).

  8. slumberdude said on September 11, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    Mozilla management really are trying to kill their niche on the internet aren’t they. Instead of slashing their management salaries they choose to lay off hundreds of workers. Rather than listening to their loyal fan base they choose to dump on them by killing off XUL addons in favour of webextensions. And they seem to think that Chrome is the ultimate web browser so it must be copied.

    Now they are considering monetizing extensions? Seriously?

    What’s next? Hey, I know, how about switching to Chrome rendering engine so you can lay off more staff.

  9. oy vey said on September 11, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    *hand-rubbing intensifies*

  10. Tony said on September 11, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    We’re going to have to adblock the addon store now….

    1. Sdar said on September 12, 2020 at 1:53 pm

      Not an easy task for everybody as extensions don’t work on the addon store, here are the steps:

      Load about:config in the Firefox web browser.
      Right-click in the part of the window that lists the preferences, and select New > Boolean from the context menu.
      Name the new Boolean value privacy.resistFingerprinting.block_mozAddonManager.
      Set its value to true.
      Then search for extensions.webextensions.restrictedDomains and remove the entries of the sites you want extensions to be able to work.

      Be aware that extensions will still fail to work on internal pages.

  11. Barry said on September 11, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    To state the obvious, many people who write add-ons are volunteers. Charging volunteers to have their work reviewed is a colossally bad idea.

  12. Lindsay said on September 12, 2020 at 12:27 am

    Monetising add-ons? Why?

    They’re the reason to use Firefox, not the other way around.

    1. Iron Heart said on September 12, 2020 at 7:56 am


      Just asking out of curiosity: Why? Firefox’s extensions and Chrome’s extensions have been virtually identical ever since Mozilla’s move to WebExtensions in 2017.

      1. matthiew said on September 14, 2020 at 2:33 am

        That’s just not true. Take Tree Style Tab for example. There are plenty of imitators on Chrome, but they’re all pathetic in comparison to the original Firefox addon.

      2. Iron Heart said on September 14, 2020 at 8:14 am


        Wow, you consciously picked one of the very few APIs where Mozilla expanded on Google’s APIs. I am totally impressed now.

        For real though, 90% of the WebExtension code is the same. Literally.

  13. common sense computing said on September 12, 2020 at 2:12 am

    It’s obvious where this is going. Firefox will eventually Switch to the chrome engine, and close the add-on store while redirecting users to the chrome extension site. Everything that’s been happening is an attempt to squeeze out the last few dollars before the switch into obscurity.

    This is bad for me because I still enjoy using waterfox.

    1. Looking Glass said on September 12, 2020 at 5:19 am

      It really does project the reality that Mozilla is either dying or will be assimilated into Google, and Firefox will become reborn with a different brand name using Blink, thus probably eliminating a major proportion of its expenditures.

      1. Looking Glass said on September 12, 2020 at 5:22 am

        ….and of course with one single web browser being used by all humans this gives Google ultimate control.

      2. Iron Heart said on September 12, 2020 at 8:01 am

        @Looking Glass

        > and of course with one single web browser being used by all humans this gives Google ultimate control.

        This is what Mozilla is claiming to keep their shrinking user base (they are also funded by Google, making this claim sound somewhat funny). Chromium (the project Chrome is based on) is open source and can be used and modified by anyone. This is what all the other Chromium-based browsers do, Google is in no way controlling their respective code bases. They are also free to apply or reject changes introduced by Google. I don’t see how using a Chromium-based browser aside from Google Chrome is the equivalent of handing over control of the web to Google, Chromium being open source and it being a monopoly is inherently contradictory. The browser I use (Brave) comes with heavy ad- and tracker blocking enabled by default, I’d bet that Google does not approve of this, even though Brave is Chromium-based.

      3. Looking Glass said on September 12, 2020 at 6:47 pm

        @Iron Heart

        And are you familiar at all with Chromium Android?

        Do you know the single biggest difference between Google’s Android Chromium project and the desktop (M$, Linux, Apple) project?

        Let me know and I’ll provide the answer for you and advise you how, in this particular case, destructive a browser monopoly will be.

      4. Iron Heart said on September 13, 2020 at 7:33 am

        @Looking Glass

        > And are you familiar at all with Chromium Android?


        > Do you know the single biggest difference between Google’s Android Chromium project and the desktop (M$, Linux, Apple) project?

        The lack of extension support in Google Chrome (≠ Chromium), obviously. Use Kiwi then, this is a Chromium-based browser that supports extensions. Brave and Vivaldi are also currently implementing extension support in their respective browsers.

        > Let me know and I’ll provide the answer for you and advise you how, in this particular case, destructive a browser monopoly will be.

        “Advise” me, then. Chromium being open source is the reason why e.g. Chrome doesn’t support extensions, while Kiwi does. Just one occasion where Chrome deviates from other Chromium-based browsers, there are many more. Again, something being open source and it having a monopoly on something is inherently contradictory, because others can (and do) go take the codebase and modify it according to their own ideas.

      5. Rex said on September 13, 2020 at 6:18 am

        @Iron Heart – you are conflating browsers with rendering engines. Blink is the only game in town right now and every other browser be it Brave or Vivaldi are a wrapper around it, providing their own additional features.

        These browsers are similar to MyIE2 from 20 years ago that was a multi tab wrapper around the Internet Explorer shell. So when you use them you are still part of the Chrome/ium ecosystem and furthering Google’s stranglehold over the web.

        Google doesn’t have to control their codebases because they are dependent on Google. Run a HTML5 test on Chrome/ium vs any of these browsers and you’ll get identical results where feature support is concerned. They don’t modify the browser engine in any way. Ungoogled chromium comes closest to that by its disabling all dependencies on Google services but that’s about it.

        Google has broken the web by constantly adding modifications to Chrome every few weeks and pushing them into the standard as draft features, making the standard meaningless and every Blink based browser will follow their tune.

        Gecko follows Blink in this regard with Firefox playing constant catchup. The only independent engine today is Goanna, used by Pale Moon, Basilisk and IceApe, and the devs alone get to decide what draft W3C features they want to implement. For the most part they stick to published specs and not drafts, and ignore stupid shit like VR that ought to have been a separate spec instead of being shoved into the web standards like an ‘everything and the kitchen sink’.
        Your Brave/Vivaldi etc don’t get to decide what web specifications they will implement because they just wrap the Blink rendering engine to add their own differentiating features.

      6. Iron Heart said on September 13, 2020 at 7:18 am


        No, you are getting things wrong, not me. Let me explain:

        You make a false assumption, which is that Chromium is essentially a Google pet project. It is not. Similarly to the Linux kernel, several big entities contribute to Chromium development, other than Google e.g. Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, Amazon, Opera ASA, Brave Software. Vivaldi Technologies, a myriad of independent contributors… This is also why Google won’t make it closed source, by the way – they would cut themselves off from outside contributions and would have to stem this alone. Google doesn’t own Chromium, they are merely the biggest contributor going by the number of commits.

        Brave / Edge / Opera etc. are hardly “wrappers”, it seems like your definition of “wrapper” is a bit skewed. They are literally barebones Chromium with some modifications. Vivaldi is what could be described as a “wrapper”, the others certainly not.

        You also seem to be under the wrong impression that support for specific HTML5 standards can’t be disabled in Chromium – that’s wrong, Chromium browser developers can stop supporting specific standards by disabling them, there are kill switches. They are also free to remove the related code. That hardly anyone modifies the engine has something to do with the fact that it, well, “just works”. Why break it when you don’t have to? If you don’t want to support a specific standard, then there are internal kill switches, reducing the need to modify it. However, the fact that it is hardly done for the reason described above (no inherent need) doesn’t mean it is impossible, that would be a false equivalency.

        Ungoogled Chromium doesn’t modify the engine, either. They are removing unsolicited requests by either disabling certain binary blobs where applicable, or by replacing the domains those point to with rubbish. That being said, Ungoogled Chromium is not the only browser which does that:–features-we-disable-entirely

        Vivaldi is also thoroughly “ungoogled”.

        Your presumption that you need a codebase apart from Blink in order to fight Google is also flawed. You can either reinvent the wheel (Gecko, WebKit) or you can go take the Chromium codebase and shape it as you please (hardly done, reason mentioned above, which is internal kill switches), but the likelihood of success is the same. A Chromium fork not supporting a specific standard or Firefox not supporting a specific standard is the same thing in the end.

        I think you are also missing one last point: Google can coerce other browsers into supporting a specific standard not necessarily because of their contributions to the Chromium project (which are “take it or leave it” as far as other browser developers using Chromium are concerned), but rather because they are owning several exceedingly popular web services (e.g. Search, YouTube, GMail, Maps, Google Docs etc.). If they start to use a certain web technology others don’t like on any of those services, how high do you think is the chance of others not adopting this, thereby excluding themselves from said service? Should be about a 0% chance, eh? Firefox’s independence is fake independence, Google can force them to implement and activate a feature just like the Chromium-based browsers can be forced to implement and activate a feature, there is not a single practical difference. Take a look at the Pale Moon project, they are currently implementing Google Web Components in Goanna because Google will increasingly use this on their own websites, Pale Moon would exclude itself from any website which uses it by not implementing this (or implementing this and not enabling this, which is the same in practice for most users). Same story for Firefox. There can be no independence as long as Google controls those major web services (read: forever, unless Google is broken up), but then again, this has little to nothing to do with Chromium, which anybody can take and shape to their ideas anyway.

  14. Flotsam said on September 12, 2020 at 3:15 am

    Maybe if all you whiny f**kers made the occasional donation to Mozilla then it wouldn’t need to do this.

    1. Iron Heart said on September 12, 2020 at 7:54 am


      Donations to the Mozilla Foundation are not even used for Firefox development:

      Firefox is being developed by the Mozilla Corporation, not the Mozilla Foundation. When you donate to the Mozilla Foundation, your money will be spent on various virtue signaling projects you’ve likely never heard of.

    2. Allwynd said on September 12, 2020 at 9:38 am

      Why would I donate to a lying, two-faced company that pretends like it cares for its users, but quietly accepts the money from Google, which are vital for its survival while completely butchers its user experience across all platforms?

      Firefox for desktop sucks nowadays, it doesn’t have half the customization options it had around 2010. And the tendency of becoming a Chrome clone is even more visible, I won’t be surprised if they switch to Blink rendering engine in 1-2 years or less.

      Firefox on Android also sucks. I can’t even install the extensions I need to properly browse – therefore it’s completely useless.

      If they can’t learn their lesson that destroying their customers’ experience and making everything worse while focusing on politics instead and shoving it down their users’ throats, they need to learn the lesson the hard way – by going bankrupt and get auctioned off to some big Chinese company that will buy it and shut it down for good.

    3. Sebas said on September 12, 2020 at 2:01 pm

      @Flotsam What Iron Heart says. What Martin himself said: “Mozilla wants to focus on new products and wants to make sure that its values are part of the products; this may not please everyone, especially those who believe that tech products should not be paired with political agendas or other non-tech activities”.

      Not for one moment I will give money to them.

    4. @Flotsam said on September 13, 2020 at 3:01 pm
  15. Derek Clements said on September 12, 2020 at 5:26 am

    This has exhausted my patience with the increasingly unreliable Mozilla ecosystem.
    * I’ll be composting Thunderbird soon.
    * Firefox will be phased out here soon to. “Now” would be preferable to “soon”. I have my technical reasons for enduring the pain for a little while longer unfortunately.
    * There are some promising developments over at GNU’s Icecat (fork) project currently.
    * That said; the way Mozilla is increasingly disgracing itself of late, I’d suggest that using their code for a fork will become equally unreliable exercise when all the “numbers are crunched”. The GNU project should instead seriously consider launching a completely new agnostic GPLv3 browser project independent of the GNOME ecosystem and commit to addressing all of the shortcomings in terms of privacy and security found in the other browsers. GNU should recognise the need for such, and invest the engineering effort. Then I’d suggest they’d get enough funding from donors who appreciate the work. If OpenBSD can do it (it is an entire OS), so can GNU.

    1. Allwynd said on September 12, 2020 at 9:41 am

      If Firefox ceases to exist or switches to Blink, which is likely what will happen in the near future, then IceCat and all the other Firefox forks will either cease to exist as well or can just use the base Chromium package to keep building their forks.

      Nowadays you don’t see any Presto forks (of the old Opera engine), because it’s too old and abandoned, same will happen to Gecko when Firefox abandons it and it won’t be worth using anymore.

      1. Anona said on September 12, 2020 at 1:45 pm

        That’s because Presto is not open source. The code has been leaked but it would be illegal to fork it. That being said, various projects such as Vivaldi and Otter Browser have been trying to copy Opera 12.

  16. John C. said on September 12, 2020 at 10:29 am

    I fully understand that Mozilla needs a funding source of some sort, but this is a completely horrible idea. It will definitely have a chilling effect on add-on developers and ultimately, will lead to the company’s demise.

  17. computer said no said on September 12, 2020 at 11:01 am

    Awful lot of conjecture here.
    Nothing which has been stated here is set in stone and everyone is merely getting their crystal balls out with false predictions.

    Only time will tell.

    1. Mothy said on September 12, 2020 at 9:28 pm

      @computer said no

      Completely agree! It’s rather pathetic the amount of negativity that’s often posted here on virtually every Mozilla/Firefox article. Life is too short, if something gives you that much grief let it go move on!

  18. Mystique said on September 12, 2020 at 11:11 am

    This is a terrible move and I am pretty sure it has been covered well from posts above. It really goes to show how far Mozilla has drifted from its roots as a community driven browser to corporate entity that just sucks.

    This is a slap in the face of all genuine addon developers and also contradictory to what their own extension library once stood for. Let’s face it the real decent addons are 95% of the time developed by the very same people that cannot and probably will not be able to or be baited into paying for their addon/extension to be approved or ranked higher than others either be it for financial reasons or ethical and fundamental reasons. To say its a slap in the face is putting it lightly. As mentioned here above it is likely that the scumbag addons will be more than happy to spend a bit of coin to get their names in the spotlight and whilst these addons may not be malware they may be poor alternatives to what is out there and in many cases knockoffs of the original extensions from the very addon developers that mozilla should be bending over backwards to be supporting.

    I work for a place that is run by morons that are slowly but surely going out of business and its simple to see the parallels between them and Mozilla. The desperation to make money and “reinvent” themselves is evident but what is true for mozilla and for the business I work for is that they have drifted too far away from the core of what they once were. Idiotic newbie morons will tell you that you are living in the past and you must move forward but that is a complete cop out and further proof of their complete lack of responsibility and ability to run a successful business or project.

    The truth is that the moment a new alternative browser becomes available to what is currently available that embraces the community as Mozilla once did and values such things then we will once again see a shift the likes of what was seen through the generation such when Netscape took the title and then phoenix/Mozilla. I would argue that Google Chrome wasn’t that much of a leap and was simply the internet explorer of its browser wars generation as it was foisted upon users and used its massive influence in similar manner to what Microsoft did to win over its user base. It did not do anything special it just strong armed its way into the market.

  19. Anonymous said on September 12, 2020 at 11:16 am

    Monetisation is all well and good, but minimal revenue gain, lose even more reputation and this at a time when Mozilla is trying to develop subscription based services, much of which will depend on the company’s standing.

  20. Sobac said on September 12, 2020 at 11:30 am

    Apparently Mozilla management assume users need their browser. Nothing could be further from the truth. The sole reason to run Firefox is the add-on ecosystem. Someone should fork Firefox into a simple, fast web browser supported by a lean corporation not fascinated with everything BUT a web browser. They could call it Phoenix.

  21. Gerard said on September 12, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Unfortunately, there are more takers than givers.
    How could/should Mozilla generate income? How many complainers and Firefox users are willing to donate (substantial sums of) money to Mozilla or its Firefox project? Or would they support making Firefox payware and are they prepared to pay for it?
    Just wondering.

    1. Iron Heart said on September 12, 2020 at 4:43 pm


      We’ve had this conversation before. As I pointed out in my reply to @Flotsam, donations to the Mozilla Foundation are not even used for Firefox development. The Mozilla Corporation, not the Mozilla Foundation, is in charge of Firefox development.
      Please do not erroneously imply that donations to “Mozilla” are being used for Firefox development, this is just not the case.

  22. ha said on September 12, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Next to this will be Firefox becomes shareware?

  23. straspey said on September 12, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Isn’t there some kind of special word or phrase to describe something like this …?

    Oh — wait – I remember now …

    It’s called — “Pay to Play”


    I have to go find my old installation CD with Netscape – see you guys later ;-)

  24. Anonymous said on September 12, 2020 at 8:24 pm

    I dumped Mozilla Firefox a couple of months ago, because of Mozilla’s obvious disregard for what matters to the users of Firefox. Somewhere around FFr78 Mozilla began doing a reset (read: wipe the user’s settings, add-ons, bookmarks, etc.) during the browser update process.

    It is clear they do not care at all how much these automatic resets inconvenience users and they are not shy about implying that in various ways.

    I have found a much better browser, Waterfox, which was forked off r68 of Firefox a long time ago and now works much better than Firefox has in 2020. The current release of Waterfox is 2020.08 (64-bit). (I think…I am on the aurora update channel).

    Mozilla has was is known as a BAP (Bad Attitude Problem) and that disorder is reflected in current releases of Firefox which are defective by design in a way that Microsoft made infamous.

    If you like having to reinstall Windows because of some bug you cannot fix and Microsoft has not, and likely will not fix for free, you have to resort to your latest full backup (suggestion: make full disk image backups often). Unless you are able to get support under a large organizations Enterprise Support license, you may not be too interested in paying the hourly rip-off rate MS charges for tech support.

    When it comes to Microsoft products, you can get better, but you cannot pay more.

    Mozilla has not become that bad yet, but the way Mozilla treats its ordinary users seems to be patterned off of Microsoft’s user-hostile support policy.

    Check out Waterfox. It has a lot of improvements over Firefox as far as the UI goes, is quite fast, and it does not treat all of your custom settings, bookmarks, passwords, and add-ons with the great disdain Firefox now does.

    About the only program I have with Waterfox is also found in Firefox and some other browsers. It will not let you (easily, anyway) sync your browser installation between machines/devices with using its own Sync tool.

    That puzzles me. Any Sync tool that works via the Cloud ought to work via a sufficiently large amount of storage space on a users network. My phone has 0.5 TB of storage and the laptops I use most have about 2 TB each. Why is there no way to implement a private Sync that does not use some less trustworthy network than your own? (If your own network is not very trustworthy you know who to blame…)


  25. via ycombinator said on September 13, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Here’s an interesting observation by a Mozilla employee…

    “[I am a Mozilla employee, and yes, I do recognize how my position influences my perspective.]

    One thing that always frustrates me a bit whenever Mozilla comes up on HN or elsewhere is that we are always held to impossibly high standards. Yes, as a non-profit, we should be held to higher standards, but not impossible standards.

    OTOH, sometimes it just seems unreasonable and absurd. Stuff like, to paraphrase, “Look at the corporate doublespeak in that press release. Fuck Mozilla, I’m switching to Chrome.”

    Really? That’s what’s got you bent out of shape?

    Sure, Mozilla has made mistakes. Did we apologize? Did we learn anything? Did we work to prevent it happening again?

    People want to continue flogging us for these things while giving other companies (who have made their own mistakes, often much more consequential than ours, would never be as open about it, and often learn nothing) a relatively free pass.

    I’m certainly not the first person on the planet whose employer has been on the receiving end of vitriol. And if Mozilla doesn’t make it through this next phase, I can always find another job. But what concerns me about this is that Mozilla is such an important voice in shaping the future of the internet. To see it wither away because of people angry with what are, in the grand scheme of things, minor mistakes, is a shame.

    EDIT: And lest you think I am embellishing about trivial complaints, there was a rant last week on r/Firefox that Mozilla was allegedly conspiring to hide Gecko’s source code because we self-host our primary repo and bug tracking instead of using GitHub, despite the fact that the Mozilla project predates GitHub by a decade.”

    1. Iron Heart said on September 13, 2020 at 6:31 pm

      Sorry, but not hardcoding trackers into your application (Firefox for Android) and not including a backdoor that allows Mozilla to run arbitrary code (FF Experiments) isn’t exactly a high expectation we bring before Mozilla. In fact, we would be satisfied if they were still their own selfs from the 2000s, in terms of conduct.

  26. Mystique said on September 14, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    The reason why nobody holds say chrome to a higher standard is because it was and always will be a blind dictatorship of failure. Mozilla never started that way which is why Mozilla is held to a higher standard and perhaps on the receiving end of more complaints. At some point you have to look at what people are complaining about and actually understand and take it on board and not just carry on down the river.

    Maybe its also because people are much more passionate about Mozilla. You were one of us man and now look at you, you have sold us out and we feel bitter and hurt by it. You have pulled the rug out from under us all and condemned the internet and your user base along with it.

    I hate chrome with a passion. They still haven’t even fixed tab management. It’s the same joke of a browser it has been since day one in many respects. The webstore is a hot mess!
    I have several browsers installed and try to use them equally but its hard for me to overlook some things.

    Maybe the way forward for Mozilla is to go the pheonix route again and reinvent yourselves with a solid browser engine base and allow for complete customization and embrace the community.

    I can’t blame any one developer for this but what I can blame is the people at the very top pulling the strings. its very much the same with Microsoft. Do you think if windows was open source that people would still be using the Microsoft version… probably not.
    Firefox needs to be stripped back and rebuilt from scratch almost but firstly its the culture inside of mozilla that needs to change.

  27. Frank Lion said on September 14, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    ‘Jorge Villalobos, product manager for, notes that Mozilla would love to review all extensions for free for policy compliance but cannot because “the cost would be prohibitive” as reviews are done by humans.’

    ……that statement is going to come as quite a surprise to the volunteer extension/theme reviewers who have been reviewing Firefox stuff for the last 16 years or so. Probably came as a surprise to Jorge as well.

    The ‘cost’, I’m told by friends who were reviewers, amounts to T-shirts and flashdrives!

    1. ShintoPlasm said on September 15, 2020 at 12:07 pm

      Jorge Villalobos seems to have a become a mouthpiece-for-hire in recent years: always the one breaking the bad news to devs.

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