Google starts banning Chrome extensions bought by shady ad firms

A brouhaha over adware-laced Chrome extensions has forced Google to remove two from its store and possibly exposed a wider issue. According to the original developer of "Add to Feedly," the problems happened after he sold his plug-in -- created in a few hours -- to a party for a too-good-to-be-true "four-figure" sum. As detailed in a blog, he discovered that new code was injecting ads into every page browsed without approval, angering users and lowering its rating. The same thing happened with "Tweet This Page," another app that served up unwanted ads after being sold. Since other developers were also approached, there's speculation that it could be a new type of scam: buying perfectly good extensions, altering them and then letting Google slip them to users via automatic updates. After it was contacted by the WSJ, Google pulled the renegade extensions, saying that recently altered terms of service prohibit them. However, that's only because they didn't ask user permission; there's nothing to prevent apps from inserting such ads -- something to keep in mind the next time you tweak Chrome.