I Bought My First Firefox Extension Today

While Walt Mossberg is getting buzz for calling Firefox 3 the “best browser for web — for now,” I thought I’d point out my first time paying for something to do with a browser. I purchased the Dictionary Tooltip extension for Firefox 2 for $3.99. And while I’m anxious to give Firefox 3 a try, I’m waiting for the big kick off later this month.

Actually, that was really my only reservation for paying for an extension: whether or not it will work with Firefox 3. As I’ve mentioned before, Firefox 2 is my browser of choice despite the at least weekly lock ups and slow downs due to memory leaks. The reason being that I really like the dozen or so extensions that help streamline my browsing experience in a way not possible with other available browsers.

But the memory leaks and slow downs are frustrating. And losing half my functionality each time I want to upgrade to a new version is even more frustrating (since extensions break version to version). But having said all that, I still found myself willing to pay $3.99 for an extension one month before it might stop working just for how cool and useful it is to me.

In fact, perhaps I’m alone here, but I wouldn’t hesitate in paying $3.99 for every extension I use if it meant a seamless upgrade from version to version of Firefox. Otherwise, I guess it’s true that “you get what you pay for.” And, for now, I’m only willing to pay for really useful extensions insomuch as my ownership appears to be limited to the current version of Firefox.

Anyone else out there willing to pay for extensions?

Be Sociable, Share!
  • http://anytimepchelp.com Jason

    Oh come on, you are not going to even tell us the name of the extension that is so great you paid for it?

    I’ve never even heard of a commercial Firefox extension.

  • clint

    Anyone else out there willing to pay for extensions?

    No

  • http://www.techconsumer.com Bob Caswell

    It’s right there in the first paragraph: Dictionary Tooltip. I could list all the reasons I love it, but that’s already been done if you follow the link. And, no, I don’t know the author of this extension nor have I been paid to say any of this… It just so happens that this extension does something that is worth more than $4 to me.

    Shh… don’t tell anyone, but there are a lot of extensions I use that, given the option between not using them or paying $4, guess what, I’d pay $4.

  • http://www.techconsumer.com Bob Caswell

    clint, what if I rephrase the question like I did in my comment above? That is, given the option between not using an extension you already use or paying $4, which would you choose?

    As long as the question is “would you pay for something you already get for free?” the answer is usually going to be “no.” But the point was to ask more what the value is of something you already use (quantified in dollar terms). But it’s fair to say that many see the value drop to zero once the measurement used is money.

    This isn’t the only example in life of something that’s generally free but has a pay alternative (e.g. bottled water). In the case of extensions, I just wonder what that pay alternative might be if it existed. (For me, it’s the idea of not having to deal with extensions breaking version to version; if that were streamlined, I’d likely pay for it.)

  • http://anytimepchelp.com Jason

    Oops, I guess my reading comprehension skills aren’t awake yet this morning.

  • http://www.jkontherun.com Kevin C. Tofel

    If a function can be had only by paying for an extension, I’d be willing, but it would have to be an extension I simply couldn’t live without. There’s the value / cost issue as well.

    Regardless: your extension *may* well work with FF3 RCx, but the browser is built by design to not allow older, incompatible extensions to be installed. Consider a quick tweak to get around this and test: http://www.jkontherun.com/2008/06/how-to-force-fi.html

  • http://www.techconsumer.com Paul Ellis

    Kevin,

    I’ve been tweaking extensions since the 1.0 -> 1.5 upgrade, and I don’t know about you, but it is really annoying to have to do that. It isn’t like I’m just using one extension that I’d have to hack. Honestly I’d pay $$$ for the 4-5 extensions that are a must-have on my Firefox if they all worked on the first day of each new version of FF.

    A few of the extensions (update notifier, image zoom, autoHideStatusbar, etc) I use should really just be rolled into Firefox as new features, but Mozilla is paranoid about that.

  • http://www.jkontherun.com Kevin C. Tofel

    Paul, the tweak I wrote about isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s a global hack. Meaning: you do it once for the browser and it should allow all of your extensions to be installed, i.e.: it’s the same effort whether you use one or one hundred extensions. I agree with the central problem regarding extension compatibility, but that’s up to each extension developer, not Mozilla. Just wanted to clarify on those points.

  • http://www.techconsumer.com Paul Ellis

    Guess I should have followed the think huh? I figured it was for the hack you can do to individual extensions.

    I disagree with it being the only the extension developer’s problem. Mozilla needs to make the extension platform more stable. Why did extensions break between 1.0 and 1.5, and then again from 1.5 to 2.0, and now with the arrival of 3.0? Honestly, Mozilla is pretty generous with their version numbering, did 2.0 really justify being a major release? IMO 1.5 was more significant than 2.0. FF3 should probably be what they called 2.0. Again, IMHO… :)

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    The only extension I have paid to use is AdSense Notifier – donated a $1. Admittedly, it was a tiny amount of money but at least I did pay something for it.

  • Pingback: Firefox 3: Impressions, Issues, and Verdict | TechConsumer

  • http://www.club-penguin.org/ Club Penguin

    I disagree with it being the only the extension developer's problem. Mozilla needs to make the extension platform more stable. Why did extensions break between 1.0 and 1.5, and then again from 1.5 to 2.0, and now with the arrival of 3.0?

  • http://www.club-penguin.org/ Club Penguin

    I disagree with it being the only the extension developer's problem. Mozilla needs to make the extension platform more stable. Why did extensions break between 1.0 and 1.5, and then again from 1.5 to 2.0, and now with the arrival of 3.0?