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


Level 51
Content Creator
Apr 24, 2016
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.
Jorge Villalobos, product manager for addons.mozilla.org, 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.
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?
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Level 22
Oct 1, 2019
Developers who are not interested in earning money (like uBlock) will be pushed backwards. So I am unsure whether this new policy is an improvement. My gut feeling says it leverages the earnings-cost equation to the benefit of developers earning money from usage (in other words data on my surfing behavior), which seems kind of awkward for a browser promoting itself for its privacy policies.

What is the logic of a privacy oriented browser packed with user data snooping add-ons?