Today,Google introduced two significant changes in the Google Chrome Extensions Gallery: a developer signup fee and a domain verification system. The Developer sign up fee adds a one time $5 charge for new developers before they can start uploading to the extensions gallery
This applies to Extensions, Themes, and Soon, for Web Apps to.
The developer signup fee is a one-time payment of $5. It is intended to create better safeguards against fraudulent extensions in the gallery and limit the activity of malicious developer accounts. Starting today, this fee will be required to publish extensions, themes and soon apps in the gallery.
We are waiving the fee for developers who already registered with the gallery (specifically before 11am PST today), so that they can continue to update their extensions and publish new items without paying the fee. Writes Chromium Blog.
Domain verification is the second security feature added to Chrome Extensions System. Developers will be able to associate their extensions (and soon their apps) with domains they own or manage usingÂ Googleâ€™s Webmaster Tools. This way, they can clearly associate their extension with their brand and website, which in turn will help users identify â€œofficialâ€ extensions in the gallery.
I am not sure how developers will react to this move. Yes, a one time fee adds an extra level of security because all new developers are verified. For web apps with payment system, it sounds reasonable.
But, will it stop people from uploading new extensions, if they do not want to spend $5 for a free extension that they wrote in their free time ? Should they pay to provide a free service to others ?