Add-on Review Policy Update

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There have been a number of situations in the past few weeks that have prompted modifications to our established Review Policies. Most of them have already been announced in a different number of ways, but it’s a good idea to sum them up in a single post.

The policy page won’t be updated until the next AMO release, sometime in mid April, but most of these policies are already in place, and the AMO Editor team is making sure they are followed.

Adding advertisements to web pages is strictly forbidden

Content producers often place ads on their sites in order to make money, and that’s OK. Ads can be annoying and intrusive, sometimes making the reading experience awkward or even impossible. So there are add-ons designed to filter out advertisements, and we think that’s OK as well.

What’s not OK in our minds is for add-ons to take advantage of web content and embed their own advertisements on it. To be able to filter ads in order to provide greater user control is one thing. To replace or extend advertisements for financial gain, at the expense of user control, is something else entirely.

We’ve never had to think about this before, but it was brought to our attention that a framework called FatPlug was designed for this specific purpose, and many add-on authors had been approached in order to include it in their add-ons.

To be perfectly clear: no add-ons using FatPlug will be allowed on AMO, not even in the sandbox. We’ll be adding a flag in our code validator very soon.

Generalization of No Surprises

Our No Surpises policy succinctly explains that we demand nothing less than complete transparency from add-ons:

Surprises can be appropriate in many situations, but they are not welcome when user security, privacy, and control are at stake. It is extremely important to be as transparent as possible when submitting an add-on for hosting on this site. A Mozilla user should be able to easily discern what the functionality of your add-on is and not be presented with unexpected user experiences post-install.

However, the text following it is a little too specific, referring to homepage and search engine defaults. The spirit of No Surprises is not limited to those, and we’ll be updating it to make sure it’s clear what we mean. We haven’t decided on the exact wording, but I’ll try to put it the best way I can: whenever your add-on includes unexpected features that are unrelated to its main function and could compromise user privacy or security, the feature must be opt-in, and all privacy concerns must be spelled out in the Privacy Policy.

The policy document will be updated soon.

Conduit toolbar add-ons allowed, with restrictions

Conduit toolbars used to be forbidden on AMO, partly because of the sheer amount of add-ons being submitted, and more importantly because of problems with their quality and privacy standards. All of these issues have been worked out with Conduit and we have been in constant communication with them in order to make Conduit toolbars acceptable again on AMO.

A couple of months ago we finally reached the point where we all think it’s OK to allow Conduit add-ons. However, in order to make sure they are all held to the same standards, only Conduit-approved add-ons will be accepted for review. If you’re interested in listing your Conduit add-on on AMO, please contact Conduit about it.

Like I said, this isn’t a recent decision, but I was reminded of a promise made about announcing it.

Private Browsing Mode Support

PBM support will become a requirement beginning April. Make sure you read and understand that post. This will be included in our policy page very soon.

codebase_principal_support and enablePrivilege no longer allowed

Support for the signed.applets.codebase_principal_support preference and the enablePrivilege function will be dropped soon. Add-on authors that rely on this feature will need to find alternatives for it immediately, and editors are already rejecting add-ons that use it.

I wouldn’t count this as policy, but I thought it’d be good to include.

Tags: , , , , ,

Categories: developers, releases

38 responses

  1. Jack

    I very disappointed that you reverse your decision of allowing Conduit Toolbars. Toolbar generally are very bad because a lot factors, but Conduit toolbars are worse: they’re nothing more than ad conduits. Their purpose is not to add functionality to the browser, their purpose is to use the browser to show ads/monetization. It’s like tattooing ads into your forehead or your belly.

    A lot of us fought very hard and for a very long time so that this type of useless junk was removed from Add-ons and I find it very hard to swallow that you reverse your decision.

    Also, no announcement was made that you were in “constant communication” with them. Why is that? What is that Conduit fulfills that you so desperately need?

    What’s even harder to understand is why you allow useless junk like Conduit (that serves no purpose whatsoever) and then disallow that other extension that would allow developers of useful extensions to monetize their work. makes no sense.

    Hypocritical is what it is!

  2. Shawn Wilsher

    I applaud these changes!

  3. Josh Carr

    Just so everyone knows we at Fat Plug were informed of this decision prior to this announcement and we are ok with it. Mozilla has every right to determine what add-ons they allow onto their directory.

    Of course we were disappointed with the decision as we feel we have created a novel way for add-on developers to get paid for their work without asking users to pull our the credit card and without sacrificing the user experience or security. We had hoped that mozilla would choose to support the developers but we also understand the need for caution.

    We believe that if developers can be fairly compensated for their work they will produce higher quality add-ons thus improving the browsing experience for users.

    We will posting a response with more detailed information on our perspective on our blog very soon.

  4. Jorge Author

    @Jack: I didn’t use Conduit toolbars when they were banned from AMO, but the ones that are currently listed are not “useless junk” like you put it. They’re useful thematic toolbars that some people appreciate. Most importantly, they’re safe to use and adhere to our standards.

    Regarding the lack of notices about this, most of these discussions and decisions preceded my taking this role at Mozilla, so I can’t really say much about it. I will say that I personally checked their code for quality and security, and I think they’re just as good as other add-ons, so I stand behind this decision. I also don’t see any reason why we should reject conversations with a developer interested in having their add-ons listed again.

    I tried to be clear about the reasons we decided not to accept FatPlug, and it’s completely unrelated to Conduit, so I fail to see the hypocrisy there. We’re not against monetization, but there are lines we can’t allow add-ons to cross, for the sake of millions of add-on users worldwide.

  5. markus

    so the logic seems to be that it is OK to remove ads from websites (cutting off a publishers revenue source), but its not OK to replace those ads with other ads that make the addon author money.

    What if an addon replaced ads on a website with other ads, and then donated 100% of the revenue generated (not just profit) towards a charity? would that be OK?

    Just so we are clear: what you are saying is that it is OK to stop an entity from generating revenue, but not OK for another to pick up that lost revenue..

    ..gotit, thanks

  6. Jorge Author

    @markus: Coincidentally, the charity scenario was brought up today while discussing the topic, and we decided that’s not OK either. The logic being that the author is generating revenue off of the website while at the same time undermining said website’s revenue sources. The destination of such revenue is not really the point in question.
    Ad blockers are quite different in that their intent is not to generate profit, or to remove revenue streams from publishers, but to give users control over their web experience. Many users choose to block everything because web advertisements are horribly designed, and some raise concerns about privacy and user tracking. In the end it is up to the users to choose what to block and what not to block.
    The FatPlug system doesn’t have any other purpose than to generate profit out of web content, and it doesn’t give anything to the user other than ads.

  7. TDave00

    Not thrilled with part of the recent announcements and policy changes. I completely believe in transparency, but don’t make the end users decisions for them. Broaden the transparency requirements but don’t cripple developers by deciding for yourselves what users want or don’t want.

    Are monetized add-ons that integrate services similar to Fatplug allowed on AMO if they are self hosted?

  8. Mohamed

    Hello
    What if I self-host my addon ?
    Will You tolerate it ?
    Thanks

  9. Jack

    Just for reference about the kind “usefulness” of these “toolbars” here is a thread on Mozillazine forums:

    http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=500994

    The problem with Conduit toolbars is that the toolbars themselves are not their “product”. Their “product” is generating revenue by allowing others to assemble “lego-like” toolbars: just by adding for example a internet “radio” to their code. Yes, it’s worthless.

    Would you like for example that someone would take the code for Firefox, changed its name to “Happy Browser” added a different theme/personas, make a change so that it exhibit a ad page every ten and then distribute it as “useful”?

    Would you think that would a “worthy” product? Would you that constitute a better product that Firefox itself?

    Better example: imagine that someone allowed anyone to create (lego-like) a browser based on Firefox with some added function, irrelevant but sufficient for you to call it “useful”, and then started advertising it as better than Firefox. We are not talking about Flock or Songbird here. It would be just irrelevant change. And then these people would start spamming sites like download.com with thousands of very similar web browsers that differed just in name.

    Would you then consider that useful? As a user of those sites?

    This is what happening here. Their “product” is not really a product. Their “product” like their name explains is just a vehicle.

    The normal way:

    Developer creates an addon to add a function or feature. Then he might monetizing it. Selling, showing ads, donations, whatever…

    The Conduit way:

    Create a way to make money (a lot) with the least amount of effort, no preoccupation in proving features that might be useful, that’s not important. Then, to justify their existence, not just a shell for making money, add some irrelevant feature, generic, indistinguishable from millions of others, that adds no value whatsoever.

    Consider too, that, at the time, Conduit encouraged the spamming of AMO with hundreds of similar Toolbars that differed just in name, in every category, even where they didn’t belong.

    AMO was then unusable, a spam filled cesspool, and Firefox was seen just like IE as a target to be infested with irrelevant and unnecessary toolbars.

    Search the web for pictures of the above.

    And that is the type of company you choose to associate with. Disappointing…

  10. Jack

    @Jorge

    “I will say that I personally checked their code for quality and security, and I think they’re just as good as other add-ons, so I stand behind this decision.”

    “Just as good” is unreal. They might not violate any of your rules but that doesn’t make them “just a good”.

    That’s like saying that “family films”, because they don’t contain any “offensive” stuff, are better than all other movies because of that.

    I was questioning Mozilla’s decision not you personally. The post was not even signed.

  11. Edward

    @jorge: your most recent post seems to imply that its all about user choice. you said “In the end it is up to users to choose what to block and what not to block”.

    what if my users decide they want to support my extension? you are saying they can’t even if that is their “choice”. you are deciding what they want instead of letting them.

    the fatplug system is opt in by the end user. its fully transparent to the user what they are getting. its their choice to enable ad swapping to support my extension and you are taking that choice away from them intentionally.

  12. Mook

    Would something like AdChange (where the stated purpose of the add-on is to replace ads) be disallowed as well? That certainly fits the No Surprises spirit – you have to explicitly opt-in to getting the ads replaced, and there’s nothing about changing the page without express consent of the user. Targetting the act of replacement without consent from the user seems a lot more consistent then blanket denials on ad addition / replacement.

    (I don’t use that add-on, actually, just trying to help form the policy into self-consistency.)

  13. markus

    To continue from my rant before, there are addons that have lived within the AMO universe for years (and currently “recommended”) that do exactly what you have described Jorge. Let’s take a look at a few example (not trying to point fingers, just showing that revenue models like FatPlug already exist):

    Cooliris: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5579 – I love this addon and use it constantly. It currently has over 18m downloads as of this writing. If you look at what their addon does, you start to realize that it’s very similar to FatPlug. Cooliris injects a small icon on top of image thumbnails. When you press this icon you are transported into a new way of experiencing images/videos. The experience is amazing; i must say. But what is really happening here? Instead of the user clicking the normal image thumbnail and viewing the image on a publishers site (which would then show ads and generate revenue), Cooliris is taking that image and showcasing it in its own way, and overlaying ads on their background (remember their first big sponsor, I think it was Infiniti Cars). So from a users perspective Cooliris doesn’t seem to be taking revenue away from anyone, but that is exactly what is happening. They are taking a publishers content (the image/video) and displaying it with their own ads wrapped around the image/video. Isn’t this similar to what FatPlug is doing? Taking a publishers content, and displaying it with their own ads wrapped around it (albeit still on the same page).

    Lets take a look at another example:
    Adaptive Blue’s Glue addon: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3481 (over 2m downloads as of this writing and another addon I am a fan of);
    Glue auto inserts links on publishers pages when it identifies content of certain types (books, wine, movies, etc). When you click those links, you are shown more information about the content and also have the opportunity to click links to Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, all with Adaptive Blues affiliate code tacked on.
    Again, from a users perspective this doesn’t really harm them in any way. Does the fact that Adaptive Blue not show an IAB ad make this any better than FatPlug’s approach? I don’t think so.

    Mozilla Contributions are a great way to help developers earn money for their hard work. But as you know, sometimes it’s very difficult to get someone to donate anything (even a penny). So if any addon is upfront about their participation with FatPlug, why shouldn’t they be allowed in AMO? Maybe you can auto-insert something on an addons page when you detect the FatPlug code that describes how this addon makes money.

    To further this point; if FatPlug gave users the ability to define certain types of ads that they prefer seeing (topics, brands, concepts, etc) the advertising may even be more relevant than some of the ad networks that show up on publisher’s sites.

  14. Douglas

    @Jack

    The forum link you give in your last post is 5 years old. Let me repeat that: 5 YEARS OLD. That’s an eternity in internet years. Things change very quickly in that amount of time.

    Why is a solution that allows publishers to easily build a product that is meant to increase user engagement an issue? I thought the internet was about breaking down barriers. Oh and I tried Conduit — I am trying to figure out exactly HOW it generates revenue or shows ads. The most I can do is set up a button that can drive a user back to my site. Certainly nothing surprising about that. Seems straight forward, crystal clear and secure.

  15. Jorge Author

    @Jack: like I said before, our job is to make sure the add-ons we approve on AMO have good code quality, respect user privacy and are safe to use. The bar we set for feature quality is actually low, because we don’t make those judgments on behalf of our users. Having said that, I think it’s pretty obvious that these toolbars are useful for many. I think you can’t see that because of your past experiences with them. We also have no problem whatsoever with people trying to make money out of add-ons, or making add-ons with the purpose of making money. As long as the user is getting something in return, and they follow the rules, it’s OK.

    @Mook: AdChange is fine because the ads are not replaced with other ads. They’re replaced with custom content of the user’s choice. We’re drawing the line at “making money directly out of content you didn’t produce”.

    @markus: There are many (probably thousands) add-ons that insert contextual information on websites, referral links, etc., like those you mentioned. We don’t find that wrong because it is their purpose to do so. Users install them to get exactly those features, and those features enhance the users’ online experience. FatPlug is completely unrelated to whatever the add-on’s main feature is, and it’s sole purpose is to make money out of web content that they didn’t produce. Not only is that not helping the user in any way, it has ethical and maybe even legal implications that make it a big NO for us.

    @TDave00, Mohamed: it probably won’t be allowed for self-hosted add-ons listed on AMO either.

  16. markus

    “There are many (probably thousands) add-ons that insert contextual information on websites, referral links, etc., like those you mentioned. We don’t find that wrong because it is their purpose to do so. Users install them to get exactly those features, and those features enhance the users’ online experience.”

    So if an addon’s sole purpose was to generate revenue for charities (that the user can choose from) by replacing ads with those promoting either charities or the fact that the revenue from ads shown would 100% be given to charities, would it be accepted within AMO? The sole purpose (and the reason for users to install the addon) would be to generate money for a charity. Would this be approved by AMO?

  17. Jorge Author

    @markus: That’s definitely close to crossing the line into the acceptable, but I’m almost sure that it would still be disallowed since it doesn’t remove the main problem of redirecting the revenue associated to web content.
    Even if it’s a noble cause, the end doesn’t justify the means.

  18. TDave00

    LOL. You have to be kidding me. You need to reread your own policies. This is hypocritical.

  19. Edward

    @jorge: interesting that you keep talking about user choice, quality and safety yet you haven’t pointed out yet how fatplug betrays those ideals.

    its up to the end user if they want to allow fatplug to swap ads to benefit the extension developer: choice.

    monitization allows quality to improve across all extensions hosted on mozilla because developers can finally spend more time on their projects: quality.

    there is nothing insecure about displaying ads from reliable ad networks: safety.

    i say this. there are many of us add-on developers supporting millions of users today for your/mozillas benefit. yes. your benefit. what do we get in return. peanuts. scraps.

    an opportunity comes along for us to make money that is optional to the end user, safe and will improve quality across the board and you guys say no.

    seems pretty selfish and one sided to me.

  20. markus

    @Jorge: “it would still be disallowed since it doesn’t remove the main problem of redirecting the revenue associated to web content.”

    Doesnt AdBlock Plus redirect the revenue associated to web content to nobody? It still redirects it (as in the publisher doesnt earn any). The only difference is that there is no one to claim the lost revenue.

  21. Jorge Author

    @markus: That is the key difference, yes. AdBlock Plus doesn’t send the money anywhere, and also gives users the power to customize when to do that and when not to do that.

  22. TDave00

    @Edward Very well put.

    I know nothing that we say will probably not make a difference. Their minds seem to be made up. Very disappointed that the end user is not given the option to choose.

    To me this would be like Google saying, “Hey, we don’t like how you are making money with your site, so we are not going to list you.”, or China not giving their citizens the right to choose what content they see. In the end I guess it’s your bat and your ball so we have to play the game by your rules.

  23. JB Walsh

    There seems to be a lot of comparison to AdBlock Plus so it seems relevant to clarify how AdBlock Plus works vs how Fat Plug works.

    AdBlock Plus does in fact cause damage to site owners. Many ad networks charge the site owner for impressions. AdBlock Plus has several ways in which it “blocks” ads. Sometimes it preemptively blocks the ads and other times it waits for the ad to load and then removes it from the page. When it allows the ad to load and then removes it … the site owner is paying for that impression and yet doesn’t get the opportunity for a sale. Clearly this is unfair to the site owner.

    Fat Plug on the other hand, never replaces an ad that it cannot prevent from loading in the first place. We do this because it is the right thing to do. It prevents site owners from paying for impressions that users didn’t get to see. Because we do this, replacing ads becomes no different than replacing any other content on a web page … as many other extensions do. It also removes the potential liability that was previously suggested.

    When Fat Plug was first realized, we had 1 rule to follow. We called it the “don’t be a douchebag” rule. It’s a simple rule really. We hate ads too so we don’t place them anywhere they didn’t already exist. We also respect the site owner and don’t want them to pay for ads that didn’t get viewed. We also respect the end users choice, so we require any extension that uses Fat Plug to announce up front what Fat Plug will do and give them an opportunity to turn it off.

    We are the good guys. We are simply trying to support a community that has suffered for a very long time with the monetization problem. We know we have the answer and we will continue to try to help.

  24. Michael Kaply

    The sad part is that extension developers have been a huge part of building Firefox’s brand equity and Mozilla continues to put roadblocks up for us to make money. Sad.

    This is just yet another reason why someone other than Mozilla should create a Firefox Add-ons Marketplace.

  25. J Wilson

    JB and Josh,

    What you are enabling is theft, pure and simple.

    Let me explain by way of an analogy. Let’s say I give you a pickaxe and you use it to knock a hole in the wall to a movie theater. You then stand outside that hole and charge people 50% of the theater ticket price to use that hole and I take 50% of that money.

    Would anyone actually claim that what we are doing is legal? Claiming that we are just giving movie goers a choice of how to enter the theater doesn’t change the fundamental fact that neither you nor I owns the theater or the rights to the movie.

    You are not the good guys, not matter how much you try to wrap yourself in noble intentions. If you really want to be fair and equitable, give publishers a way to detect that your code is being used and respond accordingly by blocking the content or messaging the user.

  26. markus

    @J Wilson – that was not an accurate analogy at all. FatPlug doesnt charge any user to view content on a publishers site. In fact, the user still sees the main content in the same way as someone who doesnt have a FatPlug enabled addon.

    By your logic, AdBlock Plus knocks a hole in the wall and gives away viewings completing free.

    Mozilla has made the decision that “advertisements on webpages” are not a positive user experience element, hence they allow addons to completely remove them and cutoff that publishers revenue stream. And thats fine, until they started blocking addons that utilize ads to make money (whether its for the publisher, or developer).

    The bottom line is that it sounds like Mozilla has decided not to go with “free choice” on AMO and instead opted for “we know whats best for you”. There are plenty of ways to educate a user about what they are about to install, but I guess none of them are acceptable to Mozilla.

  27. Michael Kaply

    @J Wilson:

    And AdBlock Plus and other Ad blockers are allowing you to view the movie for free.

    Your point?

    1. Justin Scott (fligtar)

      Looking at it another way: I think part of the reason FatPlug might seem okay to some add-on developers is that they think it won’t affect many people. Websites will only be affected by people that use Firefox AND use add-ons AND use an add-on that implements FatPlug. Well, at least 8% of Internet users have installed a Firefox add-on, and if FatPlug caught on and was allowed by AMO, it could easily spread to hundreds of add-ons that are decently popular to the point that much of that 8% have at least one add-on that swaps ads on the websites they visit.

      Adblock Plus is a single add-on, not a monetization service. The author doesn’t solicit other add-on developers to drop in a snippet of code in their add-ons to block ads on websites. If he did, I think Mozilla would have a problem with that too, as the add-ons have nothing to do with blocking ads and might endanger the entire reputation of add-ons. FatPlug IS a monetization service, asking developers to drop in code that adds no value for the end user and has nothing to do with the add-on’s primary function.

      Imagine what would happen if a few hundred add-ons that are decently popular decided to implement FatPlug. There’s a good chance add-on users would have at least one add-on installed that had FatPlug, and Firefox add-ons in general would be painted as evil. Adblock Plus gets a lot of hate from some websites, but it’s concentrated on that one add-on, not add-ons in general. If hundreds of add-ons integrate this service, the fight starts being against add-ons in general. And if you don’t think hundreds of add-ons could quickly jump on a service like this, look at what happened with Conduit a few years ago.

      I rather like the current state of browser add-ons, where no one challenges the usefulness, legality, or ethics of extending the browser. I think FatPlug crosses that line. And so do content creators that have contacted us about this blog post. (legal departments don’t use blog comments for their opinions)

  28. Jorge

    J wilson’s analogy is not quite fitting, but his point is very clear: you’re trying to make money oyt of something you didn’t have any part producing. I think TV is a better analogy: ABP is like Tivo. It allows you to see your shows without ads. Fatplug would be like if Tivo inserted ads of its own to make more money. Whether that’s legal or not is debatable.
    What’s really disappointing to me is that nobody in favor of this system has even tried to address the ethical or legal implications of doing this. You all talk about us limiting your freedom, like you should be allowed to do whatever you want and still be listed on AMO. Even is it’s not exactly that, it does feel a liot like theft, and I know for a fact that some content publishers are willing to take legal action against it.

  29. Michael Kaply

    Have any of you that are complaining about FatPlug actually used it? It doesn’t replace all ads, it only replaces a couple. And in a lot of cases, it adds additional ads in a very nonobtrusive way (not replacing).

    Before you complain about what it does, at least go try it out. (you can turn on preferences that show you what it does)

    An add-on that uses it (and preferences that show you what it does) are documented here: http://www.chrisfinke.com/2010/03/26/ambilight-for-your-browser-or-monetizing-an-add-on-with-fat-plug/

    And Mozilla – take this as a wake call for YOU to do something about monetization. Quickly. And Contributions doesn’t count. If you get the benefit, you should figure out a way to compensate. (Here’s one idea – http://addoncon.com/blog/?p=149 )

    1. Justin Scott (fligtar)

      As you know, we’ve said we plan to launch a marketplace pilot this year. That *is* moving very quickly, since dollar signs have never been associated with Mozilla before. It requires a step-by-step transition, and Contributions was the first step. Progress is actively being made towards the next step.

      I really want a marketplace too, as I just blogged about last week. (http://blog.fligtar.com/2010/03/21/on-surprises-and-business-models/)

  30. Josh Carr

    Users choice in viewing advertisements on publicly distributed media has been defended in court many times. Believe me when I say we have done our due diligence and paid very expensive very smart attorneys to figure this out before we launched or announced anything.

    Lets go with the TV analogy since it was brought up earlier. (the most famous case on this issue was a lawsuit over the VCR’s ability to “skip” commercials). The courts have ruled that users get to choose what content they see. However, they are not allowed to alter the content and redistribute it. For example if you were sitting on the couch watching TV and the commercials came on you are legally allowed to change the channel even if you change it to other commercials. The end user has no legal obligation to sit through the advertisements that are distributed with the content. These same legal precedents protect Internet filters like Net Nanny, Add-ons like AdBlock, DVD players like ClearPlay, DVR’s, VCR’s, and remote controls. All of these things allow users to skip advertisements or alter content. We have been very deliberate to structure Fat Plug to comply with all legal precedent.

    The moral question is more of a personal one than global one. We won’t make that decision for an add-on developer, (some feel it is wrong to monetize at all) or for an end user.

    In all fairness to Mozilla now that they are mainstream and no longer Internet upstarts they need to cover their butts and protect their turf. It is just a little surprising to me that they would choose us as the battle ground and then not extend it to other add-ons that are a liability such as AdBlock.

  31. Seth Wagoner

    It seems to me that there are acceptable and unacceptable ways to monetize an add-on, that there is a very vague and subjective dividing line, and add-ons utilizing Fatplug are a fair distance on the wrong side of that line, at least from my subjective perspective.

    Comparisons to Adblock are wrongheaded for several reasons:

    Adblock Plus increases system performance, reduces bandwidth consumption, and generally makes for more productive web-surfing. It’s also the #1 reason many people switch to firefox or recommend it. No one makes a dime from it, and Wladimir Palant is a hero. Nuff said.

    Fatplug, on the other hand, offers *none* of those benefits, and is purely designed to transparently make money for the add-on authors, Fatplug, and their network advertising partners, at the cost of making a lot of webmasters reallly angry at Mozilla, AMO, and add-ons in general.

    As an add-on developer (our addons Interclue and Lazarus have over 3m downloads between them), I really don’t want Fatplug in our ecosystem. It’s not malware per se, it’s just not a good idea. Keeping it off AMO should hopefully mean it never gets sufficient traction to cause a real problem.

    By the way, I fully support the idea of an Appstore like system for add-ons, and I should probably figure out where that is being discussed to see if I can add any useful insights.

  32. Jorge Author

    Just to clarify, AMO policies are restricted to add-ons hosted on AMO, and may sometimes extend to add-ons that are just listed on AMO. We don’t enforce these rules on add-ons that are hosted elsewhere by their authors, or “special” versions an author chooses to distribute even if there’s a another version on AMO.
    If an author chooses to distribute an add-on with FatPlug in it, that’s fine as long as the versions with FatPlug are not on AMO.

    1. Josh Carr

      Thanks for the clarification – I know some developers had expressed concerns about this.

  33. Simon

    Thanks for the malware

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/11200

    click on the homepage link on that page.

  34. Jorge Author

    @Simon: what malware? I don’t see anything wrong with that URL.

  35. Elmar

    Conduit extensions and toolbar are spyware. Yes, some other popular extensions are spyware as well. We should not allow conduit extensions, and should also remove all other extensions that provide private information to a third party.