The Chrome Web Store is in a bit of a tumultuous place at the moment. With Chrome Apps heading towards a much-needed demise, Extensions will soon be the only real reason to frequent the Chrome browser’s “shop” for lack of a better term. On that note, the Chrome Web Store has just dealt a massive blow to developers of paid Chrome extensions. The issue stems from a number of paid extensions being found creating fraudulent transactions via the Chrome Web Store payment system.
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.Google Groups
Initially, the temporary disabling of publishing paid apps was meant to simply create a window of opportunity for the Chrome developers to identify and deal with the malicious extensions. However, this has created unforeseen ramifications for legitimate publishers. Apart from not having the ability to update their extensions due to the temporary block, many publishers are now receiving emails stating that their product has been removed from the Web Store entirely.
If you have paid extensions, subscriptions, or in app-purchases and have received a rejection for “Spam and Placement in the Store” this month, this is most likely the cause.Google Groups
The developer who started this thread does go on to say that publishers can appeal to have their extensions put back into the Web Store. However, it requires them to go through the republishing process for each extension and any subsequent updates. Plus, with the suspension still in place, there’s no guarantee the extension will be reinstated until this mess is cleaned up. Publishers have been directed to fill out the appeal form that can be found here and to link the Google Groups post if they have received the rejection email. The news gets worse as there doesn’t appear to be a timeline for a fix at the moment.
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.
This situation speaks very clearly to the state of the Chrome Web Store and why Google really needs to make some major changes moving forward. In my opinion, the Chrome Web Store should probably just step aside to make room for a more robust solution as PWAs become more prevalent. Maybe not a total sunsetting but perhaps a complete overhaul. With Linux apps on Chrome OS, PWAs taking over the internet and Google wanting to push for an open web, a unified App store of some sort is the logical answer because consumers just want a one-stop-shop to get their applications regardless of where they originated from.
To clarify, this block only affects paid extensions that utilize the Chrome Web Store payment platform.