The Chrome Web Store is currently facing a wave of fraudulent transactions

Google temporarily suspends publishing and updating of paid Chrome extensions following a spike in fraudulent transactions.

 

The Google security team has indefinitely suspended the publishing or updating of any commercial Chrome extensions on the official Chrome Web Store following a spike in the number of paid extensions engaging in fraudulent transactions.

Google said the wave of fraudulent transactions began earlier this month. Google engineers described the fraudulent transactions as happening “at scale.”

The ban on publishing or updating impacts all paid extensions. This includes Chrome extensions that require paying a fee before installing, extensions that work based on monthly subscriptions, or Chrome extensions that use one-time in-app purchases to get access to various features.

Existing commercial extensions are still available for download via the official Chrome Web Store, however, extension developers can’t push new updates.

“This is a temporary measure meant to stem this influx as we look for long-term solutions to address the broader pattern of abuse,” said Simeon Vincent, Developer Advocate for Chrome Extensions at Google.

Extension developers who try to publish a new paid Chrome extension, or push a new update on their commercial extensions, are currently receiving an automated message that reads: “Spam and Placement in the Store.”

Google: Google Inc., a Delaware corporation with principal place of business at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States.

Developer or You: Any person or company who is registered to develop Products for publication and distribution on the Web Store in accordance with the terms of this Agreement.

Web Store: The Google Chrome Web Store site operated by Google, where Developers can publish Products for direct distribution to users of Google Chrome.

Payment Processor(s): Any party authorized by Google to provide payment processing services that enable Developers with optional Payment Accounts to charge Google Chrome users for Products distributed via the Web Store.

Payment Account: A financial account issued by a Payment Processor to a Developer that authorizes the Payment Processor to collect and remit payments on the Developer’s behalf for Products sold via the Web Store. In order to use the Web Store payments processing services, Developers must be approved by a Payment Processor for a Payment Account and maintain their account in good standing to charge for Products distributed in the Web Store.

Products: Software, content and digital materials created for use in connection with Google Chrome and distributed via the Web Store.

The Web Store is a publicly available site on which Developers can publish Products for distribution and use in connection with Google Chrome. In order to publish Products on the Web Store, you must acquire and maintain a valid Google account.

2.1 Your use of the Web Store to distribute Products is governed by a legal agreement between you and Google consisting of the Google Chrome Terms of Service (found at http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/eula_text.html) and this Google Chrome Web Store Developer Agreement (together, the “Agreement”). In order to use the Web Store to distribute Products, you must first agree to this Agreement by clicking to accept where this option is made available to you. You may not publish Products on the Web Store if you do not accept this Agreement.

2.2 You may not use the Web Store and may not enter into this Agreement if you are (a) not of legal age to form a binding contract with Google, or (b) a person or entity barred from using Google Chrome software under the laws of the United States or other countries including the country in which you are resident or from which you use the Google Chrome software.

2.3 You represent and warrant that you have full power, capacity, and authority to accept this Agreement. If you are agreeing to be bound by this Agreement on behalf of your employer or other entity, you represent and warrant that you have full legal authority to bind your employer or such entity to this Agreement. If you do not have the requisite authority, you may not accept the Agreement or use the Web Store on behalf of your employer or other entity.

3.1 This Agreement covers both Products you choose to distribute for free and Products for which you charge a fee.

In order to charge a fee for your Products using the Web Store payment processing services, you must have a valid Payment Account under a separate agreement with a Payment Processor. If you already have a Payment Account with a Payment Processor before signing up for the Web Store, then the terms of this Agreement shall supersede your Payment Account terms and condition for Products sold via the Web Store.

You may set the price for your Products in the currencies permitted by the Payment Processor. The Web Store may display to users the price of Products in their native currency, but it is not responsible for the accuracy of currency rates or conversion

The price you set for Products will determine the amount of payment you will receive. A Transaction Fee, as defined below, will be charged on the sales price and apportioned to the Payment Processor. The remainder (sales price less Transaction Fee) will be remitted to you. The “Transaction Fee” is set forth at http://developers.google.com/chrome/web-store/docs/#builtin and may be revised by Google from time to time. Developer is responsible for determining if a Product is taxable and the applicable tax rate for the Payment Processor to collect for each taxing jurisdiction where Products are sold. Developer is responsible for remitting taxes to the appropriate taxing authority.

3.2 If you charge a fee for your Product without using the Payment Processor and the Web Store payment processing Services, then you will not be charged a Transaction Fee, and you assume sole responsibility and liability for all related transactions and authentications, records, and taxes. Google will have no obligations with respect to such Products, including without limitation obligations to track and process payments, authenticate paid or previously paid downloads, maintain payment records, or pay, report, or charge taxes.

3.3 You may also choose to distribute Products for free. If the Product is free, you will not be charged a Transaction Fee. You may not collect future charges from users for copies of the Products that those users were initially allowed to download for free. This is not intended to prevent distribution of free trial versions of the Product with an “upsell” option to obtain the full version of the Product: Such free trials for Products are encouraged. In this Agreement, “free” means there are no charges or fees of any kind for use of the Product.

3.4 Special Refund Requirements. If you use the Payment Processor, the Payment Processor’s standard terms and conditions regarding refunds will apply except the following terms apply to your distribution of Products on the Web Store.

Products that can be previewed by the buyer (such as themes): No refund is required or allowed.

Products that cannot be previewed by the buyer (such as applications): You authorize Google to give the buyer a full refund of the Product price if the buyer requests the refund within 30 minutes after purchase.

3.5 You Support Your Product. You agree to supply and maintain valid and accurate contact information that will be displayed in each product detail page on the Store and made available to users for customer support and legal purposes. For paid Products or in-app transactions, you must respond to customer support inquiries within three (3) business days, and within 24 hours to any support or Product concerns stated to be urgent by Google.

Failure to provide adequate support for your Products may result in low Product ratings, less prominent product exposure, or in some cases removal from the Web Store.

Except in cases when multiple disputes are initiated by a user with abnormal dispute history, billing disputes received by Payment Processor for Products sold for less than $10 may be automatically charged back to the Developer, in addition to any handling fees charged by the Payment Processor. Chargeback requests for Products $10 or more will be handled in accordance with the Payment Processor’s standard policy.

3.6 Reinstalls. Users are allowed unlimited reinstalls of each application distributed via the Web Store, provided however that if you remove a Product(s) from the Web Store pursuant to clauses (i), (ii), (iii) or (iv) of Section 7.1, such Product(s) shall be removed from all portions of the Web Store and users shall no longer have a right or ability to reinstall the affected Products. If you charge a fee for your Product without using the Payment Processor, then you are solely responsible for maintaining records of users who have previously paid for your Products, and Google will not be responsible for determining whether users attempting to reinstall your Products have previously paid for such Products.

4.1 Except for the license rights granted by you in Section 5 below, Google agrees that it obtains no right, title or interest from you (or your licensors) under this Agreement in or to any of Products, including any intellectual property rights which subsist in those applications.

4.2 You agree to use the Web Store only for purposes that are permitted by (a) this Agreement and the Google Chrome Web Store Program Policies http://developers.google.com/chrome/web-store/program_policies and (b) any applicable law, regulation or generally accepted practices or guidelines in the relevant jurisdictions (including any laws regarding the export of data or software to and from the United States or other relevant countries).

4.3 You agree that if you use the Web Store to distribute Products, you will protect the privacy and legal rights of users. If the users provide you with, or your Product accesses or uses, user names, passwords, or other login information or personal information, you must make the users aware that the information will be available to your Product, and you must provide legally adequate privacy notice and protection for those users. Further, your Product may only use that information for the limited purposes for which the user has given you permission to do so. If your Product stores personal or sensitive information provided by users, it must do so securely and only for as long as it is needed. But if the user has opted into a separate agreement with you that allows you or your Product to store or use personal or sensitive information directly related to your Product (not including other products or applications) then the terms of that separate agreement will govern your use of such information. If the user provides your Product with Google Account information, your Product may only use that information to access the user’s Google Account when, and for the limited purposes for which, the user has given you permission to do so.

4.4 Prohibited Actions.

4.4.1 You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Web Store, including the development or publication of Products or other materials, that violates the Google Chrome Web Store Program Policies, or that:

  1. knowingly violates a third party’s terms of service,
  2. violates any applicable laws or regulations,
  3. interferes with, disrupts, damages, harms, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the machines, hardware, devices, servers, networks, data, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Google Chrome users, Google or any network operator, or
  4. creates a spammy user experience, whether by posting repetitive content or misleading information about an application’s purpose,
  5. infringes on the intellectual property rights of others,
  6. enables the unauthorized download of streaming content or media,
  7. displays (via text, images, video, or other media) or links to:
    1. illegal content,
    2. invasions of personal privacy or violations of the right of publicity,
    3. content that interferes with the functioning of any servers, networks, or services of other parties,
    4. promotions of hate or incitement of violence,
    5. violations of intellectual property rights, including patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, or other proprietary right of any party, or
    6. pornography, obscenity, nudity, or sexual activity.

4.4.2 You agree not to access (or attempt to access) the Web Store by any means other than through the interface that is provided by Google, unless you have been specifically allowed to do so in a separate agreement with Google.

4.4.3 You may not divert users or provide links to any other site that mimics the Web Store or passes itself off as the Web Store. For the avoidance of doubt, you may offer Products as access points to paid services for which customers have registered and provided payment information.

4.4.4 Your Product may not use or include the NPAPI plug-in unless you obtain Google’s prior permission for such use.

4.5 You agree that you are solely responsible for (and that Google has no responsibility to you or to any third party for) any Products you publish in the Web Store and for the consequences of your actions (including any loss or damage which Google or any third party may suffer) by doing so.

4.6 You agree that you are solely responsible for (and that Google has no responsibility to you or to any third party for) any breach of your obligations under this Agreement, any applicable third party contract or terms of service, or any applicable law or regulation, and for the consequences (including any loss or damage which Google or any third party may suffer) of any such breach.

4.7 Product Ratings. The Web Store will allow users to rate Products. Along with other factors, Product ratings may be used to determine the placement of Products on the Web Store with higher rated Products generally given better placement, subject to Google’s right to change placement at Google’s sole discretion. For new Developers without Product history, Google may use or publish performance measurements such as uninstall rates to identify or remove Products that are not meeting acceptable standards, as determined by Google. Google reserves the right to display Products to users in a manner that will be determined at Google’s sole discretion.
Your Products may be subject to user ratings to which you may not agree. You may contact Google if you have any questions or concerns regarding such ratings at http://groups.google.com/a/chromium.org/group/chromium-apps/.

4.8 Marketing Your Product. You will be responsible for uploading your Products to the Web Store, providing required Product information to users, and accurately disclosing the security permissions necessary for the Product to function on user machines, hardware, or other devices. Products that are not properly uploaded will not be published in the Web Store.

5.1 You grant to Google and its affiliates a worldwide, nonexclusive, and royalty-free license to: (a) host, link to, copy, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, test, distribute and otherwise use the Products and any content contained in, accessed by, or transmitted through the Products according to the publishing options selected by you on the Product upload page of the Web Store and (b) copy, perform, display, and use the Product for administrative and demonstration purposes in connection with the operation and marketing of the Web Store.

5.2 You grant to the user a non-exclusive, worldwide, and perpetual license to perform, display, and use the Products and any content contained in, accessed by, or transmitted through the Products in connection with Google Chrome. If you choose, you may include a separate end user license agreement (EULA) in your Product that will govern the user’s rights to the Products in lieu of the previous sentence.

5.3 Google may use consultants and other contractors in connection with the performance of obligations and exercise of rights under this agreement, provided that such consultants and contractors will be subject to the same obligations as Google. After termination of this Agreement, Google will not distribute your Product, but may retain and use copies of the Product for support of the Web Store, Google Chrome extensions, and Google Chrome.

5.4 You represent and warrant that you have all and will maintain all necessary rights to grant the licenses to the Products and any content contained in, accessed by, or transmitted through the Products to Google, its affiliates, and users of your Products.

5.5 Except for the license rights granted in this Agreement, (a) you retain all rights in the Products; and (b) each party retains all rights it would have independent of this Agreement, including rights under the U.S. Copyright Act or analogous laws in other jurisdictions. Google acknowledges and agrees that it obtains no right, title or interest from you (or your licensors) under this Agreement in or to any content that you submit, post, transmit or display on, or through, the Products, including any intellectual property rights which subsist in that content (whether those rights happen to be registered or not, and wherever in the world those rights may exist). Unless you have agreed otherwise in writing with Google, you agree that you are responsible for protecting and enforcing those rights and that Google has no obligation to do so on your behalf.

6.1 “Brand Features” means the trade names, trade marks, service marks, logos, domain names, and other distinctive brand features of each party, respectively, as owned (or licensed) by such party from time to time.

6.2 Each party shall own all right, title and interest, including without limitation all intellectual property rights, relating to its Brand Features. Except to the limited extent expressly provided in this Agreement, neither party grants, nor shall the other party acquire, any right, title or interest (including, without limitation, any implied license) in or to any Brand Features of the other party. Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, Developer grants to Google and its affiliates a limited, non-exclusive license during the term of this Agreement to display Developer Brand Features for use in connection with the Web Store and in order to fulfill its obligations under this Agreement. Nothing in this Agreement gives Developer a right to use any of Google’s trade names, trademarks, service marks, logos, domain names, or other distinctive brand features.

6.3 Publicity. Google and its affiliates may include Developer Brand Features, screenshots, videos, and demonstrations of your Products and any content contained in, accessed by, or transmitted through the Products in presentations, marketing materials, marketing events, developer events, financial reports, website listings (including links to your website), press releases, and customer lists (which includes, without limitation, customer lists posted on Google websites) for purposes of marketing the Google Chrome Web Store, Google products and services, or publicizing your Product. Google grants to Developer a limited, non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to use the Google Chrome Brand Features for the Term of this Agreement solely for marketing purposes and only in accordance with the Google Chrome Brand Guidelines located at https://chrome.google.com/extensions/intl/en/branding.html.