How FastestFox Used Superfish to Monetize its Browser Add-On

Guest Author
Dec. 20 2011, 10:00AM EST

This guest post comes from Yongqian Li, CEO of FastestFox, a Web browser add-on that helps users get things done faster by making common tasks more convenient.

According to Mozilla, more than half a billion browser add-ons are in use on Firefox alone. But unlike an app in an App Store, browser add-ons cost nothing to use. So browser add-on developers like us have had to turn to other options to generate revenue for our hard work.

These options range from:  voluntary contributions from users (which, even for the most successful applications do not generate much revenue); to including a toolbar with a search box; to more invasive processes that can impact the end-user experience (presenting users with advertising at signup and when new versions of the add-on are released, pop up ads, etc.).

Keep in mind that add-ons cannot simply “bolt on” any adware in order to generate revenue. Mozilla has a ‘No Surprises’ policy where all features must relate to the core functionality of the add-on. In addition, we obviously only want to add features our users would actually like.

Fortunately, we started working with a company called Superfish which had developed a white-label version of their popular visual search browser add-on. Their tool uses visual search technology to help consumers find product deals and similar items while shopping online. It generates revenue when users click on the search results. The Superfish API can be easily incorporated by developers into their add-ons, extensions and toolbars.


For FastestFox, it was a great match since our tool is all about efficient searching. Incorporating the Superfish technology into our add-on gives our users one-click comparison shopping, maintains a consistent brand, and enhances the user experience. In addition to the enhanced functionality, we share in the revenue it generates from our users.

The integration of Superfish’s visual search tool consisted of simply injecting a single line of javascript code.  Once enabled, our users had a powerful new product comparison tool that works on product images on any website.  When they mouse over the product image, they have the option of turning on the product comparison tool which will show the same product offered at other online retailers, often at significantly lower prices.  But, even more valuable to our users is the ability for this feature to show users visually similar products.  In fact, the highest click through rates from our users is for similar items rather than an identical item.

Once implemented, Superfish immediately generated revenue for FastestFox that has enabled us to invest in our business and enhance the user experience.  The best part about it is that once integrated, we’ve spent very little time maintaining it.

If a powerful product comparison tool fits within the feature set of your add-on, extension or toolbar, we would recommend that you check out Superfish.

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