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Sorry in advance for the rant but i think it is fucking stupid to charge developers at all. Yes, it is nothing, but the principal itself leaves a sour taste. I am improving your platform, you are going to take 30% of anything made, and you want me to pay you for that privilege.

I know this applies to others too (worse at times) and that there is some rationale behind this (reduce hoards of crap), but it just stinks, to me, in principle, and i'm sure there would be better ways of going about it.

It's an incredibly effective antispam technique. Metafilter does something similar, charging a $5 lifetime fee at signup. Existing accounts were not charged when it was introduced.

I would like to hear if it is effective because a) the Chrome Webstore is full of spyware[0] and b) its not like spammers can't spend $5 to verify an account

[0] My example search is always 'youtube downloader': https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/youtube%20download...

Its not about spending $5, it's about spending $5 x 10,000. Same reason credit card validations are $1 (which then gets credited back to the card a few days later).

Until just a year or two ago, there was no way to validate a credit card without authorizing a charge to it for a dollar amount. Some backend processing networks still don't support zero-dollar authorizations. The reason every site that needed to validate a credit card charged $1 to it was because that was the only way to know the card presented is real.

This isn't entirely true. You can auth $1 and then never capture it, which will result in no money being charged.

I thought that's what I said, and also what the parent said. I was refuting that the reason sites authorize $1 instead of $0 to validate a card was to stop spam/scammers -- that's a valid reason, but the root reason it was always $1 was because $0 authorizations weren't possible.

I have no problem with the charging a nominal fee to keep out spammers. However, they should just donate the $5 to charity like Atlassian does for their $10 starter pack.

With the Chrome extensions you can't actually charge any money yet, so I'm just doing it pro bono to help the users of the crappy website.

My flippant response would be to provide it to mozilla users where you are surely not charged. You didn't mention the site, so i don't know if you could just publish it there (surely that can be done with chrome extensions?) or just as a bookmarklet?

I could try that, thanks for the suggestions. The website is of the Dutch public transportation system, the part where you can view which trips you've made with your electronic travel card. It was designed completely from the viewpoint of the system, not that of the user. I.e.: Instead of seeing how much each trip costs, you see what got subtracted (a sort of deposit) when you checked in, and what you got back when you checked out. etc etc. Once I can publish the extension I'll write another post with the details...

Indeed, it sounds more like a way to verify an identity and having someone liable attached to the account.

Just a thoughts - May be they charge these $5 just to make developers value their accounts and not register just for fun or when they forgot their email address. Also, to connect extension author to real credit card data. In case of malware extension - this might be very valuable for LEOs.

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