I’m always flipping through the Mozilla forum looking for interesting things to read when I came across one that was called “addons.mozilla.org recent and open issues.” It sounded interesting because I didn’t realize that there were any open issues with Mozilla’s Add-on site.

I started reading through it and quickly became aware of why the thread was started (Note: AMO stands for the Mozilla’s Add-Ons site):

The purpose of this thread is to make people aware of some tactics used in extensions considered by some people not worthy of the AMO (addons.mozilla.org) “trust” seal. It has also the purpose of discussing the AMO quality standards and the views on these and other extensions that might be considered harmful for common non-tech-savvy users.

One of the big questions is on the quality of the toolbars that are available. When I had installed the 200 Firefox extensions at one time there were several toolbars that were installed, but most of them were the more popular/unique ones since I was traversing the list with the most downloaded extensions being first. There is, however, a website called Conduit that will allow anyone to make their own Firefox toolbar extension with their own branding:

Conduit Toolbar Creator

I haven’t looked much into Conduit, but I’m guessing that they are making money through searches that are performed with the toolbars being generated for websites. They say that websites will benefit from offering the toolbars by keeping their logo in front of the user’s face, which will hopefully keep the reader coming back to your site.

The only problem is that 93 of these toolbars currently exist (listed at the end of this article) on the Mozilla Add-ons page alone, and I’m sure there are also several sites that don’t have theirs listed there. The fear is that this may jeopardize the quality of the experience new users to Firefox receive if they install them because they also collect information from users:

Those extensions were collecting data and uniquely identifying users without notifying them. This caused some stir into the community as most of the people thought that AMO had a high quality standard and sought to protect users from such tactics, things that we realized weren’t true. AMO doesn’t even have a policy for extension submitting.

As Firefox continues to grow I think a policy needs to be enforced that focuses on the quality of the extensions. Mozilla wants to ensure that new users receive the best experience possible, and one of these days they may let an extension slip through that does more damage than good. Let us know what you think of Mozilla letting extensions like this into the “trusted” Add-ons site.

Finally, I’ll close by listing the extensions that the forum members have managed to find so far that were created using Conduit: