Categories: developers end users

Upcoming changes to AMO accounts

There are two big changes coming to user accounts in the near future:

New username and display name fields

We are introducing two new fields (username and display name) and removing three old fields (first name, last name, and nickname). The username field will be used to uniquely identify a user across the site in add-on reviews, developed add-ons, forums, collections, etc. and must not have spaces or other special characters. The display name field is optional and, if set, will be used in place of the username in those publicly displayed places. Display names do not have restrictions on which characters can be used.

These new fields will be populated from the existing fields in a way that should not cause any changes to the way names are currently displayed across the site:

  • Display names will be populated with the name we currently display for you, which is your nickname if set, otherwise your first and last name fields.
  • Username will be populated from your nickname if set or your first and last names, but with spaces and special characters removed and made unique if necessary.

For example, if my nickname is currently “Justin Scott (fligtar)”, my new username will be “justin-scott-fligtar” and my display name will remain “Justin Scott (fligtar)”.

Why are we doing this? A few reasons:

  • Our current system is overly complicated, requiring at least one of nickname, first name, or last name and having to figure out which to display in each place. Users don’t understand the purpose of each field, and this new system makes it much easier to understand.
  • Our forums confusingly require you to log in with your nickname, which you can’t use to log in to AMO
  • We want to start using usernames in URLs, such as for our upcoming collections revamp, and we don’t currently have a URL-safe name to use

Deleting inactive accounts

AMO has accumulated 4.5 million user accounts over the years, many of which were only created to be able to download experimental add-ons and then forgotten about. We’d like to begin implementing a policy of deleting inactive accounts after a long period of time to increase performance of the site as we start to add more features that are personalized for each user.

In the next few weeks we plan to delete any accounts that have not logged in since April 2009 who don’t have any add-ons, collections, or reviews associated with them. This will reduce our 4.5 million accounts to a more manageable 800,000.

If you haven’t written any reviews, created a collection, or developed an add-on and want to ensure your account stays active, the easiest way is to just log in to and you’ll be marked as active.

If you have feedback on either of these changes, please let us know. Thanks!

7 comments on “Upcoming changes to AMO accounts”

  1. Ken Saunders wrote on

    “4.5 million accounts to a more manageable 800,000”

    Does that (basically) mean that it’s the same users visiting and utilizing the site and its services? And, how many of those are developers?
    And another and, I guess that those numbers will increase greatly when Personas are fully migrated here, so is that also a reason for cleaning things up?

    “If you haven’t written any reviews, created a collection, or developed an add-on”

    Try and stop me! AMO is only 2nd to Google for my most visited sites.

    Oh wait, you could couldn’t you?
    Never mind.

  2. Niraj wrote on

    all well and good. I would like to make one request.

    please make the login cookies persist for a longer time. It is a pain to log in every 2 days.

  3. onoso wrote on

    I think it is great that you retire idle accounts. This is a policy that all sites should adopt. I would suggest even retiring accounts who have been used to post anything on the site after a long period of inactivity (after ample advance warning and a possibility for users to keep the account active without requiring them to post a new review or anything similar).

    Retiring unused accounts is also good security practice. For example when was hacked recently, hackers were able to get a combination of username/password that I still use on other sites. I hadn’t used for many years, but my account was still active there and they did not even provide a way to delete the account.

    Lesson: Always retire idle accounts after a certain amount of inactivity.

  4. Colby Russell wrote on

    Ken, that’s 800,000 people who have signed up for an account. You don’t need to do that to be a regular Mozilla Add-ons consumer.

  5. Ken Saunders wrote on

    Whoops, and duh. What was I thinking. Or not thinking.


  6. Walid Damouny wrote on

    I have an account that I don’t use and I want to delete it at and there is no way to do so. Why not make it simple like the site and still better, why not merge the two and have one account login. And don’t forget the delete button.

  7. guions wrote on

    I created and lost more than one accounts when accounts where required to dowload experimental addons. So, removing useless accounts is a good idea, But I hope you will send mail to inform users about the incoming deletion. And It will also permit to remain alive some forgotten account (like for me).