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Hi, welcome to my blog. In this part of my world, I talked about how to achieve financial freedom by learning how to make money online through creating sites and earning from them.

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My current experiment in making 50 amazon site niches. If you have not been following this challenge, best place to start is this resource page for the amazon challenge, that lists all the articles that I have written so far.

My experiment in making 1000 a month through adsense in 9 months.

If you came here looking for low cost startup ideas, here are 140 startup ideas that you can browse through.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

4 startups ideas for browser extensions

The recent dispute between NoScript and AdBlock Plus has bought back the question of whether you can build businesses on browser extensions. The dispute arises primary because of revenue issues. Such fights are common when there are no clear business models and companies fight over ways to game the system through hijacking search and advertisement for revenue. So, is there a business model for browser extensions?

Fred Wilson asked a similar question back in 2008 with very engaging comments. While many agreed that a browser extension is only an add-on, there are others that disputed this and argued that any distribution platform can create new winners (SiteAdvisor is a successful example). One commenter in particular raised an interesting perspective on why browser extensions can be real businesses:
The trend towards webapps means that as more mainstream users spend most of their time within the browser (webmail, blogs, facebook, google apps, etc.) , browser extensions stand a chance of becoming new core "software".

The best comment however, I feel, came from Aweissman of Betaworks:

how can a business reduce the friction it takes for a user to experience the utility of that application? And in many cases, the right answer may be to NOT start a business as a browser extension, but as something with fewer steps involved to get the users to actually using your stuff to solve their pain. Then, and maybe only then, do you add more steps into the process - more friction - to provide added benefit to users who are already experiencing utility. To me, delicious is a good example of this process.

So, after looking through the web, here are 4 ideas for browser extensions:

Appstore for browser extensions
Umair Haque has argued that platforms are markets. So, it make sense for someone to take Firefox or Chrome and build an app store into it.

Tipjoy for browser extensions
Social payment might be a way for developers to earn some revenue (I am not sure how much). Glazou has written on how this can be done. If you think this is a possible model, go read his post.

Curator for advertisements
Grey Yardley of PitchMedia claimed that the missed opportunity for ad-filters is to be selective.

If the ad blockers were actually selective, they could appeal to a broader audience and could put some amount of pressure on advertising bodies to enact more user-friendly policies. There’s even potential for an accreditation business - ‘get your people-friendly publisher seal here.’ All of that dies with the scorched-earth approach to blocking.

Del.icio.us for browser extensions
One of Fred Wilson's commentor suggested this cool idea of an aggregation play that recommends the right extensions for users:

how about a del.icio.us of browser extensions?..... I'd love to know what extensions my friends are using and then (maybe a Digg format) have them rank them up and down so I download the best ones.So, what if there was a service that showed a real-time "extension roll" which I could share out?

This is a debatable topic. I will love to hear your views.

Related readings:
Do MEALS (Mozzilians Earning A Living Somehow) need a fork?
The monetization dilemma
The Monetization Conundrum, at least as I see it
Making money with Mozilla stuff
Extension wars - NoScript vs. AdBlockPlus
When blockers block the blockers