My last post keeps getting comments, and I’m seeing this brought up on the amo-editors mailing list a lot. Add-on authors have two big questions:
- How do I get reviews for my add-on?
- Do external reviews count?
These are both very good questions, but sadly, I haven’t seen a really good answer to either yet.
How do I get reviews for my add-on?
All you have to do is get people to post reviews to your add-on in the sandbox. Yes, there is a slight barrier to entry with this process since AMO requires users to first sign up and then enable the sandbox before they can even post a review. This process is still being smoothed out by the AMO developers (last I knew), so things may get a bit easier. One of the editors has written up a wiki page with directions on how to post a review that you can link your users to.
There are a number of ways in which you can obtain reviews for your add-on. If you extension is site-specify, post on that site about it, and get the users interested in it. If it targets a specific group, perhaps you should reach out to that group through a mailing list or forum. Blogging is quite popular these days, so blog about your add-on; get your friends to blog about it! Perhaps we should start a wiki page and let add-on authors share how they are getting the word out about their add-on.
Do external reviews count?
They certainly can in my book! The catch is that editors are not likely to go out looking for them, so you should absolutely provide URLs to them in your notes to the review section when nominating your add-on for public status. If you don’t provide links, you should expect that we won’t find them.
I hope this clears things up a bit. If you have any questions, feel free to mail the editors list (amo-editors at mozilla dot org) or post comments here.
12 replies on “Reviews on AMO”
You know, i’ve long felt that there should be a way to include links to, and maybe snippets from, outside reviews in AMO. I’m sure that there are literally hundreds of reviews out in the wild, i might have even read hundreds. Everything from the brief “i use this” of lifehacker (with often many, many comments discussing the pros and cons of the extension) to the recent extremely in-depth and quality reviews from linux.com. And AMO is a fairly high-traffic site, right? I’m sure that lots of small bloggers would Love to write high quality reviews for extensions if it meant that they got additional traffic on their site. Build something like pligg into the links to outside reviews section and you’ve got a way to bring quality reviews to the top and cut through some of the spam that might result in incorporating something like this.
The firefox community is much more spread out than the locked-in review communities of amazon etc. And considering all of the posts on planet about how to get unstuck from lock-in to facebook email, does it seem like maybe AMO would be a good place to start treating the web like a web? :-)
The opportunities are enormous.
Also, in terms of increasing people’s desire to write reviews on the site (since that’s what you were talking about) how about a “featured review” section underneath the “featured extension” section? If not on the front page of AMO, i could /definitely/ see that being appropriate for the front page of sandbox.
Many thanks Shawn — this helps.
As you point out, it’s a very cumbersome process and, at the end of the day, I’m not sure how the AMO org benefits. If it is primarily safety that counts, how do reviews really help? Isn’t there a more systematic way to do this?
In any event, I captured the instructions for sending on to my reviewers, and they are recapped below.
Register from link at upper right
Go to “My Account” (upper right)
Check “Show Sandbox” in Profile – click “Save”
Click on “Sandbox” on upper left
Search for “TripSync” – get the following result page:
Write a nice review
I find that my new extension is getting mostly bug reports from overall-satisfied users, who just want their specific issue handled (e.g. “report dupe message counts in the dialog window”), and e-mails from people saying “I like your extension, how do I do X? Why doesn’t it do Y?” – but I can’t use these as external reviews. Perhaps AMO editors should consider evaluating the activity of an extension’s issue tracking mechanism as a possible alternative (or augmentation) of AMO sandbox reviews.
We do consider them, but not necessarily as an alternative. It really is up t the individual editor as to what they consider sufficient.
While it seems a little annoying at first, I appreciate the fact that this stimulates collaboration and which can lead to better extensions overall.
But to facilitate this more for us reclusive folks, how about setting up a forum at mozillazine for a scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours deal? (obviously not for bogus endorsements, and this would be even less likely probably for fellow Mozilla developers, especially when they’re on the record…)
Maybe each submitter could suggest a level of difficulty for their extension in order to get someone creating an extension of comparable difficulty to review theirs.
Or, even better, maybe the add-ons site itself could allow extension submitters to have an option to join a pool of sorts automatically…
I really feel that if there is no formal mechanism for this, then you will be losing out and frustrating developers needlessly.
I am still really confused about how to get something out of the sandbox. It seems that if I was a large corporation and had lots of support I could get all my buddies to post reviews. If not, I am simply out of luck. What a strange process indeed!
I followed the instructions on registering etc, but when I got to the following step: “Check “Show Sandbox” in Profile – click “Save”” I was completely confused aa that option is not visible to me at all. Is there a reason for this??
Note: AMO was recently redesigned, so I have no idea how accurate those instructions are anymore.
[…] any other Firefox extension, please take some time to write a little review. It’s needed by Mozilla policies before publishing it in their […]
We published our Add-on and got 4 reviews while is was in sandbox. This morning I got an email saying we need more reviews, does any one know how many reviews you need?
I’ve submitted my extension for public nomination over 3 months ago:
It’s getting a bit sandy here ;-)
I got 6 *great* reviews (real reviews, not friends-family :) and close to 100 downloads per week…
I wonder if someone can review the nomination and help me get out of the sandbox (or provide a smart tip on how to expedite the process)?
[…] Your add-on must have some reviews either on AMO or elsewhere on the web. See http://shawnwilsher.com/archives/108 for some ideas on how to do […]