Mozilla Promoted Firefox Add-Ons Program retired: Why did the browser-maker halt the ‘Verified’ badge promotion?

Mozilla Promoted Firefox Add-Ons Program
Mozilla will not make the Promoted Firefox Add-Ons Program permanent. Pic credit: Mozilla

Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox web browser, has decided to retire the Promoted Firefox Add-ons Program. The not-for-profit organization was evaluating a system of paid reviews and promotions for add-ons or extensions.

Mozilla Add-ons Product Manager Jorge Villalobos has officially signaled the end of Mozilla’s Promoted Add-ons Program. The browser-maker was testing the program and has decided not to go ahead with a full-scale launch.

Mozilla’s Promoted Firefox Add-ons Program will never be a permanent feature:

Mozilla introduced the Promoted Firefox Add-ons Program back in September 2020. The company was testing the program, officially called ‘Promoted Add-ons’.

As the name suggests, Mozilla’s primary intention was to provide developers with an option to get their add-ons promoted by the Firefox browser maker. Moreover, as part of the program, Mozilla would test and review the add-ons.

The Promoted Firefox Add-ons Program was free during the testing period. During this time, Mozilla would receive applications from developers to review their add-ons or extensions for the Firefox web browser.

Mozilla would put the selected add-ons through a series of tests. In other words, the company would manually review the add-ons and attest them.

It is not immediately clear what checks and verifications Mozilla would deploy. However, it is quite likely that the company would check for functionalities, reliability, efficiency, and most importantly, the add-on’s impact on Firefox web-browser’s performance.

If the tested add-on passed the tests, Mozilla would award a “Verified” badge. Mozilla would display the virtual certificate on the add-on’s profile page as well as the official add-on’s homepage.

Why did Mozilla end the program?

Apparently, up until the point of its retirement, only Mozilla had the right to select add-ons for testing and verification. The Promoted Firefox Add-ons Program was essentially a subset of Mozilla’s Recommended Extensions program.

Mozilla planned to extend the program, and consequentially, award the Verified badges to add-ons. As expected, the program would transition into a paid membership or subscription after the pilot ended. Developers could utilize the program to get extra exposure for their add-ons.

Needless to mention, the Recommended Extensions program created a two-tier system for Firefox add-ons. There were “verified” extensions that Mozilla would invariably promote. And then there were all other extensions.

Mozilla reportedly planned to include some of the verified add-ons for Firefox within the Android version. While the promotions would benefit some developers, it was the other side that was problematic for the majority of developers.

All the other non-verified add-ons for Firefox would display a rather unnerving message when the web browser users visited their web page. The message stated that the “extension is not monitored by Mozilla and that users should only install trusted extensions.”

A few developers have expressed their concerns about the Mozilla Promoted Firefox Add-ons Program. They claim companies with deep pockets could easily secure promotions. Meanwhile, Firefox users would avoid add-ons that were genuinely good but unverified.

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