Google has put a temporary suspension on paid Chrome Web Store extensions after a recent increase in fraudulent transactions using the paid extension system.

The decision was made over the weekend as Google seeks to address the problem. Developers who have already published paid extensions, subscriptions, or in-app purchases and received a rejection notice for “Spam and Placement in the Store” can apply to be reinstated.

“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,” said Simeon Vincent, developer advocate for Chrome Extensions, in an announcement post to the Chromium Extensions forum. “Due to the scale of this abuse, we have temporarily disabled publishing paid items.”

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.

Vincent confirmed that this will likely be a temporary shutdown at least until Google is able to find a solution for these fraudulently paid extensions littering the Chrome Web Store. However, there was no outright confirmation on just how the fraud was being carried out by shady developers.

He also confirmed that any developers that have received a rejection notice will be able to reply to the email and request an appeal.

One of the biggest downsides is that this finicky process needs to be done for each new version published or updated while the fraud block is in place. It’s worth noting that the block will only apply to Chrome Web Store paid extensions, free add-ons will be safe from the ban.

It’s also worth noting that this ban will likely only affect extensions that utilize the Chrome Web Store’s payment system. Meaning that extensions using third-party payment platforms or their own system could be exempt from any bans.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment on the potential long-term plans.

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