The Google Chrome Web Extensions marketplace or the Chrome Web Store started behaving oddly with most publishers who wanted to publish either new ‘paid’ extensions or wanted to update their existing ones. After an extensive recurrence of the outright rejection that greeted the publisher with a generic message, it became clear that Google was deliberately refusing to allow paid extensions a place on the virtual shelf.
It recently became clear for developers who build extensions for the Google Chrome web browser that Google has begun refusing to admit paid extensions on the Chrome Web Store. It was indeed strange for publishers primarily because the Chrome Web Store is the only marketplace for extensions that previously accepted free and paid extensions. Google has admitted that it has placed a ban on paid extensions owing to the detection of multiple attempts to defraud users.
Google Places A ‘Temporary’ Ban On All Paid Extensions For The Chrome Browser Citing Fraud Transactions Exploiting Users:
Several developers and publishers of popular paid extensions for the Google Chrome web browser were left confused and frustrated after the search giant abruptly started rejecting their creations. Not only were new submissions turned down, but even the update process of the prevalent ones was rejected. All the developers whose extensions were rejected received the message which mentioned, “Spam and Placement in the Store” rejection.
Google blocks updates to paid Chrome extensions, auto-suspends developer accounts while it investigates payment abuse pic.twitter.com/dNTZUbIz2b
— Sunny (@Gizmostuff_) January 28, 2020
Simeon Vincent, Developer Advocate for Chrome Extensions at Google noted that developers should “reply to the rejection and request an appeal” to get the item published in the store. Incidentally, this process must be repeated for each new version of the extension, confirmed Google,
“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.”
— Daniel Monteiro (@danielsmonteiro) January 28, 2020
Google had quietly initiated the action against all paid extensions, confirmed some developers who had their extensions removed from the store. Some claim their entire account was suddenly suspended after attempting to publish updates. Incidentally, Google made the announcement on January 25, 2020, on the official Chromium Extensions group, but developers claim they had been facing troubles without any concrete information.
Google Does Allow Updating Paid Extensions But Under A Strict Condition:
It was a confusing time because Google had reportedly initiated the action without sending out any intimation cautioning the developers. Incidentally, the company didn’t provide any further details. Needless to add, developers are stuck in a very tricky position. No new paid extensions can be published, and each update to existing extensions has to be manually reviewed by Chrome Web Store support.
I just got this email from Google.
However, StopTheMadness still seems to be in the Chrome Web Store at the moment.
WHAT. THE. FUCK. pic.twitter.com/sVmNlnIcAT
— Jeff Johnson (@lapcatsoftware) January 22, 2020
Simply put, the only option that developers have at this point in time is to appeal the rejection decision each time they publish an update. There’s no recourse for new paid extensions. Incidentally, paid extensions for the Google Chrome web browser are quite less in number. According to last year’s report, a little less than 9 percent of all Chrome Extensions are paid, while such extensions make up only 2.6 percent of all extension downloads and installations. Developers of extensions for Chrome claim it is this small number that allows Google to act tough with them. Although Google has claimed that the ban is temporary, it hasn’t indicated when the ban will be lifted.