I confess, I haven’t run into a paid Google extension in some time. They do exist, however—and some are actually useful, like StopTheMadness (an extension that keeps websites from disabling keyboard shortcuts or context menus). If you happen to have found (and purchased) paid Chrome extensions, you need to know that they might not receive updates for an unknown amount of time.
This is important, because you probably want to make sure that your extension’s experience is bug-free and as feature-packed as possible if you’ve paid for it. But Google is temporarily disabling publishing for any Chrome extensions that use Chrome Web Store payments. According to a post from developer advocate Simeon Vincent:
“Earlier this month the Chrome Web Store team detected a significant increase in the number of fraudulent transactions involving paid Chrome extensions that aim to exploit users. Due to the scale of this abuse, we have temporarily disabled publishing paid items. This is a temporary measure meant to stem this influx as we look for long-term solutions to address the broader pattern of abuse.
We are working to resolve this as quickly as possible, but we do not have a resolution timeline at the moment. Apologies for the inconvenience.”
If you have paid for a Chrome extension, I recommend hitting up its developer on their website and social media channels to see what, if any, plans they have to update their extensions in the interim. While they can appeal Google’s rejection emails when submitting new versions of their extensions, there’s no guarantee they’ll get their updates in. As one developer wrote in a reply to Vincent’s post:
“I have written multiple times replying to the rejection letter about two of my paid extensions that existed in the Store for more than a year. I have not received any reply, and the extensions are still in the Pending review status.”
Odds are good you’ll have to sideload a new version of an extension in your browser, which isn’t something I usually recommend doing—browser security and all. However, as long as you’re downloading a legitimate version of an extension directly from its developer, the risks are minimal. And once your extension’s developer finds more success pushing updates to the Chrome Web Store, or Google relaxes its temporary ban on paid Chrome extensions, you can switch back to using the regular, auto-updating version of the extension.
On a general note, you probably don’t need to pay for Chrome browser extensions unless you have a direct business need for one. Odds are good there are plenty of other extensions and services that will accomplish whatever it is you’re trying to do for the low price of nothing.
For example, consider the Timed Test or Flash Cards extensions. A quick search pulled up plenty of alternatives, and I’m sure you could find something even better if you spent more than 20 seconds researching it. That’s not to say that all paid extensions are junk, but make sure you’re approaching them with a bit of scepticism before you pay up for features that might exist in a better form elsewhere—for free.