Why are video downloader add-ons so popular?

Javaun Moradi jmoradi at mozilla.com
Tue Jun 9 21:13:53 UTC 2015


Great thread. Apologies if I take it sideways. 

When I look at our add-ons, the conclusion I draw from high video downloader popularity is that many wildly popular Chrome extensions (and the tech companies behind them) have extremely low marketshare in Firefox. Said another way, most of our top 10 list wouldn’t make Chrome’s top 50.  (All Fx numbers cited came from here AMO top add-ons <https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/extensions/?sort=users>). 

We’re on par with Chrome  in ad blocking popularity: ABP has 20.4 million daily users in Fx. Ad Block <https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/adblock/gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom?hl=en> (different company, same idea) on Chrome tops out at “10 mil+” on the Chrome store but Ad Block’s website says “40 million users across Safari and Chrome”. When you consider Chrome/Safari marketshare, that’s reasonably equivalent to Fx users.
Ghostery has 1.9 mil users on Chrome <https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ghostery/mlomiejdfkolichcflejclcbmpeaniij?hl=en>, 1.4 on Fx. Again, this is reasonably equivalent given our marketshare. 
Now it’s going to diverge…

Pocket: On Slashdot, users complained that Pocket “wasn’t popular”, having only 247k users on Fx. But on Chrome Pocket has 10x more users, 2.3 million <https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/save-to-pocket/niloccemoadcdkdjlinkgdfekeahmflj?hl=en>. That’s more than #5 AMO extension NoScript. 
Evernote: Evernote has 3.4 million <https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/evernote-web/lbfehkoinhhcknnbdgnnmjhiladcgbol?hl=en> Chrome users, again nearly 10x the 408k on Firefox. 
Dropbox: 2.9 million <https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/dropbox/ioekoebejdcmnlefjiknokhhafglcjdl?hl=en> Chrome users. No official Fx extension. But that’s more than AMO #3 Firebug.
Pushbullet. Last year’s startup darling has 1.1 mil  <https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/pushbullet/chlffgpmiacpedhhbkiomidkjlcfhogd?hl=en>Chrome users. 89k on Fx. Again, an order of magnitude different. 

This is a quick sampling, by no means comprehensive, but I think it’s enough to frame the question. These new services are “best of the web”, wildly popular on Chrome, but diminutive on Fx. 


Javaun Moradi | jmoradi at mozilla.com | IRC: javaun | @javaun

> On Jun 9, 2015, at 4:26 PM, Chris Hofmann <chofmann at mozilla.com> wrote:
> 
> 
> there is probably an element of user education as part of this investigation and fix.
> 
> I'm guessing a lot of this video download content is porn, and there might be quite
> a bit of phishing going on with offers to "get these videos faster/safer/etc... 
> with our special video downloading sofware..."  
> 
> the special video downloading software doesn't actually have to do anything
> better, but the user thinks they might be getting additional value.
> 
> once the user buys into that its easy to get extra software on their system
> that can be monetized in several different ways, with adware, malware,
> etc..
> 
> An independent research study with lots of press around if all these downloaders
> are actually helpful in improving performance might be the place to start.
> 
> If we could say definitively and universally say that the downloaders actually offer
> no perf gains, and they open up the door to a lot of risks that would be
> a great message to send and have echoed to users of all browsers.
> We might need product work to get there.
> 
> It would also be a good step to validate any claims made by
> downloaders offered off of amo and sites where we have control
> over the content that promotes the downloader addons.
> 
> -chofmann
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On Tue, Jun 9, 2015 at 11:15 AM, Anthony Hughes <ahughes at mozilla.com <mailto:ahughes at mozilla.com>> wrote:
> I am personally against implementing *any* features which enable users to violate terms of service. However, I think you hit the nail on the head with your last paragraph, Chris. We should investigate and fix the underlying issues that drive people to download videos.
> 
> Cheers
> 
> On 9 June 2015 at 09:04, Masayuki Nakano <masayuki at d-toybox.com <mailto:masayuki at d-toybox.com>> wrote:
> FYI: One of the most popular video download add-ons, Video DownloadHelper,  causes serious performance issue. I see some users who believe the performance issue is Firefox's trying to switch to Google Chrome.
> https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1172200 <https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1172200>
> 
> So, if we could include popular feature, it would be good thing for avoiding bad UX caused by add-on compatibility.
> 
> [1] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/extensions/?sort=popular <https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/extensions/?sort=popular>
> [2] https://www.youtube.com/static?template=terms <https://www.youtube.com/static?template=terms>
> 
> Video DownloadHelper
> Flash Video Downloader - YouTube HD Download [4K]
> Download YouTube Videos as MP4
> Ant Video Downloader
> DownThemAll!
> 1-Click YouTube Video Download
> YouTube Video and Audio Downloader
> Download Flash and Video
> Easy Youtube Video Downloader Express
> YouTube Video Downloader For Context Menu
> FlashGot Mass Downloader
> YouTube mp3
> Video Downloader professional
> Youtube Downloader 4K - Video Downloader
> NetVideoHunter
> 
> -- 
> Masayuki Nakano <masayuki at d-toybox.com <mailto:masayuki at d-toybox.com>>
> Manager, Internationalization, Mozilla Japan.
> 
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> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> Anthony Hughes
> Senior Quality Engineer
> Mozilla Corporation
> 
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