Mozilla ends the Promoted Firefox Add-ons Program
Mozilla Add-ons Product Manager Jorge Villalobos announced the end of Mozilla's Promoted Add-ons pilot for the Firefox web browser on January 21, 2021. The organization decided not to move forward so that the program does not become a permanent feature of the browser's add-ons ecosystem..
After reviewing the pilot results, we have decided not to move forward with this iteration of the program.
Mozilla introduced the program in September 2020 as a pilot program called Promoted Add-ons. The main idea was to provide developers with an option to get their add-ons promoted by Mozilla, and for Mozilla to extend the number of add-ons that would get reviewed through payments made by accepted developers.
Selected add-ons would get manual reviews and as a consequence, if successful, a verified badge on the add-ons profile page and Mozilla's Add-ons homepage.
Up until that point, only extensions selected by Mozilla for its Recommended Extensions program would be code-reviewed by the organization and would receive these batches to increase user trust in them.
The Recommended Extensions program created a two-tier add-ons system, with verified extensions on one side and all other extensions on the other. Verified extensions would get promoted, some included in Firefox for Android, and all other extensions display a scary message when opened with Firefox stating that the extension is not monitored by Mozilla and that users should only install trusted extensions.
Participation was free of charge during the pilot, but the idea was to evolve the pilot into a paid service that developers could utilize to get extra exposure for their add-ons; this won't happen as Mozilla decided to end the program entirely.
Mozilla provides no explanation why it decided to end the program. The program has been criticized since its introduction. Some feared that it would allow companies with deep pockets to buy promotions and cause some developers to stop developing add-ons for the browser.
Now You: Did Mozilla the right thing to end the program after the pilot?
The program had both advantages (especially for “newbies”) and disadvantages. I don’t think a browser developer should cherry pick which extensions are good and bad – leave that to the user ratings and tech journalists. And given that Mozilla has gotten a bad name, their recommendation is probably not wanted by pro-privacy people anyway – although, in all fairness, Mozilla will always be a more serious, credible and open-minded place than Plebbit.
It’s a good idea, but… it’s not that simple at all.
For example what would be the pricing? How do you put a price tag on an addon that has 300 lines of code and gets updated once a year? And what if it’s an adblocker with 30_000 lines of codes that updates every week?
Most addon developers are making almost no money from their addons so no monthly subscription would be impossible.
If they make price somehow related to changed lines of code in addon, it would for sure help all those small addons but it would for sure reduce number of updates many of those addons receives.
So the problem remains – you have a huge store with many cool addons but they are all marked as dangerous. Even though practically there is only ONE permission that users should fear – “” – known as “Access your data on all websites”. Without this permission it’s hard to imagine malicious addon since addons cannot transmit any data without a “host” permission, so it needs to list URL of the server it needs to communicate with or use this permission.
Yup that’s the main reason. No money so no go.
Been using firefox since 2003. This browser is D-E-A-D.
On Safari and Chrome now.
If I really need privacy I use Tor.
The last nail in the coffin for me was when they went all Liberal.
Why would you use this spyware when more privacy-friendly variants of Chromium exist?
Brave, Vivaldi, Bromite:
Just some kind advice on my part.
I use Chrome for GMail and other places where Safari doesn’t work. I suppose I could use Chromium, but it needs to be a 100% replacement for Chrome. I limit myself to two browsers on my systems.
I do miss Vimperator though. That alone would make me reconsider FF again.
Safari and Chrome are not at all equivalent from a privacy standpoint, if privacy is really what you want. I’d be very surprised at any IPS that doesn’t keep current with all Tor entry node IP’s; IOW, they know you’re using Tor, a great way to raise suspicion.
If you’re just mad at Mozilla, fine.
Use a real VPN for privacy, leave Tor for those who aren’t safe online without it. Tor Browser’s dreadful for daily browsing. Circular logic drives some to disable so many privacy/security features they end up right back to where they didn’t want to be with FF again, sucking bandwidth from Tor users who really need it.
Glad it did not work for the reasons Martin mentioned. But Mozilla also stated on their blog that “This was a difficult decision, but we believe there are other, more impactful ways we can help add-on developers be successful; and weâ€™ve turned our attention to exploring new experimental programs.” So, they apparently haven’t yet given up on the notion of monetizing add-ons.
Did someone accuse their program of being ‘structurally’ or ‘systemically’ racist? :P
> The organization decided not to move forward and make the program a permanent feature of the browser’s add-ons ecosystem.
Maybe this sentence could use a little rephrasing, or am I understanding correctly that the promoted extensions program will indeed become permanent in Firefox?
“A fasr and private internet” , yeah I lost all interest when the ceo said that we need more deplatforming.
Here’s a comment of mine from 2018:
“The management has a locked-in contract with Yahoo that pays them around $350 million until the end of 2019, regardless of how many users they have.
That means only in 2020 does Mozilla needs to start monetizing on all levels. And this is what they are slowly preparing the browser for (…).”
So management simply told all groups to try to monetize everything. Obviously, this is a shotgun approach that never works – 20 bad ideas aren’t better than 1 bad idea.
In the end the entire project falls apart because when you monetize things that should’t be monetized, you actually lose a lot of manpower and users.
You can’t compete in the VPN market with a whitelabel VPN that actually has less features than the original and is more expensive, etc., etc.
“…evolve the pilot into a paid service that developers could utilize to get extra exposure…”
A similar tact worked out so well for the developers that took over Thunderbird from Mozilla they gave it back. Broken.
FF team completely missed the point, they should have PAID developers for each permission an extension took with the proven method of sharing revenue from injected ads the incentive.
Maybe a “tech” company is finally realizing being a total PIA to their suppliers and customers isn’t a great thing to do despite monopoly companies behavior.
“So management simply told all groups to try to monetize everything. Obviously, this is a shotgun approach that never works â€“ 20 bad ideas arenâ€™t better than 1 bad idea.”
When claiming someone said something, you need to provide a source. Otherwise, we all (hopefully) know by now it’s just made up nonsense.
It is telling that gHacks chooses to censor some comment authors that do this, but not others.
Time for Learning to recognize snark.
Hello, Iron Heart !!
(If anyone else knows this, please do reply.) ðŸ™‚
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Brave is my daily driver for a week or so. I searched my query but couldn’t find if “extension sync” among desktop clients is in their roadmap.
1) Go to brave://settings/braveSync
2) Set up Sync, if you haven’t already
3) You can customize Sync settings, i.e. what exactly gets synced:
Make sure that the “Extensions” entry is enabled.
Please note that syncing extensions only works among Windows / macOS / Linux PCs, because the mobile versions of Brave (Android, iOS) do not support extensions at all. Only select browsers on Android support extensions (but can’t be synced with Brave desktop) – Kiwi has full Chromium extension support, Firefox has support for a few extensions.
Hope this answers your question.
PS: My own Brave setup you can find here:
If I’m not mistaken, extension sync has been introduced with Sync v2 a couple of months ago. It certainly lists “Extensions” in my sync setup, among many other things.
That’s correct, but it doesn’t sync extensions with Android or iOS versions of Brave, since the mobile versions do not support extensions.
Oh ho! How did I miss that?! That thing was in front of me the whole time. Thank you, guys!
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@ iron heart
You were right about firefox. It’s devolving. People may call you bad words about your opinion but I still respect your words.
Speaking of, I still find Brave Sync (even at v2) very patchy. It never properly syncs my open tabs which is a real pain.
This was meant for @Iron Heart.
As you know already, Sync has always (literally: always) been the most buggy / unreliable part of Brave. Sync v1 was plagued by bugs which is why they implemented it all over again with Sync v2, and in accordance with your experience, even that is still riddled with bugs. I won’t even bother to mount any kind of verbal defense for the questionable quality of Brave’s sync implementation, and I am saying that as someone who otherwise likes and supports the browser.
You are not alone with your problem, so much is clear:
Various Brave Software employees are responsible for different parts of the browser, so I am not blaming the entire company, but the people who are working on Brave Sync specifically really need to get their sh*t together.
What you experience needs fixing, and only contributors can fix it. The only option is to wait for an update here. :(