How to Sell a Chrome Extension and Make $4,012 From Google in Just 7 Days
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A little while ago, I had no idea how to sell a Google Chrome extension. I knew that it was possible, but I had not idea how to do it.
Now I've created a Chrome extension, listed it on the Google Chrome web store, and I've been selling it for about a week. The best part is that I've already made my investment back!
In fact, as of today, I've had total sales for my brand new Chrome extension of $4,012 in 7 days. I'm VERY happy with the results I've seen so far with this business model, and I think I can continue to grow it even more.
So, what's the Chrome extension? It's called TexTrader and you can check it out right here.
Today I want to take you on the journey of why I created it, what I've done to sell it, and what my plans are for the future. In addition, I'll explain why you might want to consider creating a Chrome extension to monetize and grow your own audience.
Why I Created a Chrome Extension
As I recently shared, I just bought an Amazon FBA blog called FBAmaster.com. The previous owners were selling 3 Chrome extensions but usually didn't make more than a few hundred dollars per month with this business model.
As I dug into the numbers, I found that just 1 of the Chrome extensions was making up nearly 100% of all the sales.
As I looked at the Chrome extension, I could see that it was a pretty cool idea, but it could be improved.
Yes, there was demand for the Chrome extension. Demand for the Chrome OS app you have an idea for is important. But I could also see that the product itself could be improved and that it could be marketed and sold much better.
For those reasons, I jumped in and decided to create a new Chrome OS extension from scratch that would be a better version of the existing tool. At the end of the day, this is just one of my plans to grow the FBA Master business.
What Does TexTrader Do?
Before buying FBA Master, I knew nothing about the Amazon Trade-In program. As it turns out, Amazon will buy back (in gift cards) certain used textbooks.
What is even more interesting is that many times 3rd party sellers will sell a used textbook for LESS than the Amazon Trade-In price. I don't know why they do this. Perhaps they are just unaware of the Amazon Trade-in program.
What this means is that you can buy a used textbook for, say, $75. Then once you receive it, you just print a free shipping label using the Amazon Trade-In program and send it right back to Amazon for, say, $100. You make a $25 profit just like that!
The only problem is that finding these profitable deals is a very manual process. You have to scroll through thousands of Amazon web pages one at a time to check if the lowest selling price is lower than the Amazon Trade-in price.
TexTrader automates this process. You click the Chrome OS extension icon, and it scans through the category of textbooks that you are on. No need to scroll through all the pages, Textrader scans through the web pages for and calculates what is profitable and what is not.
You can watch of video of what it does here:
I only share this with you to give you an idea of the types of things you can do with Chrome extensions. If you visit the Chrome store, you can browse through thousands of other extensions and see what functions they serve.
You might be surprised at how many seemingly simple apps are in the Google Chrome web store.
How to Develop a Chrome Extension
I should clarify, I'm not a developer. So, my process was pretty simple: I went to Upwork.com and posted a job asking if someone could build the browser extension that I was looking for. There were plenty of applicants and picked one after asking them a few questions.
So, if you are wondering how to actually code a Google Chrome browser extension, I'm not your guy. But the way I had it developed was simply outsourcing.
Do You Have to Sell it on the Google Chrome Store?
From my understanding, you need to have it listed on the Chrome store. You can see TexTrader directly on the Chrome store.
As you can see from the screenshot above, Google allows you 3 different payment options from the developer dashboard.
- Make the extension free
- You can charge money for it using Chrome Web Store Payments
- You can charge money using a custom payment solution
I went with option 3 over the other purchase models.
So, in a nutshell, people buy through my website here using PayPal. After payment, I send them to the Google Chrome Store to download (technically, you can download for free). Finally, they get an email with an activation code.
The chrome browser extension won't work without a license key, so no one can use it unless they've paid.
So, while you do need to list your browser extension on the Chrome store, you still have the flexibility to sell it wherever you want. People can find my extension directly on the Chrome store and other purchase models. But ideally, I would get some natural sales through there and grow a user base that way.
But it's too early to tell at this point.
How I Launched the Chrome Extension
The entire reason I launched TexTrader was to monetize the FBA Master audience. The business has a little over 12,000 on the email list, and the site already ranks #1 in Google for “Textbook Arbitrage.”
So, “launching” the product was about as simple as following these steps:
- Create the sales page and automated email sequence using Clickfunnels and ConvertKit.
- Email the FBA Master email list on 3 separate days.
- Add links to FBAmaster.com to existing articles and other locations that made sense.
(See my Clickfunnels Review and my ConvertKit Review).
The money really is in the email list. After simply emailing my own user base in my email list, I've made my full investment back on the Chrome Extension development.
Textrader is currently selling for $59 and I've sold 68 copies. So, I was able to generate revenue exceeding $4,000!
By comparison, the “old” Chrome extension had sold a total of about $1,500 worth in the first 4 months of the year. (In month 5 it sold about $2k worth because I promoted it). So, this a GREAT start.
Quick sidenote: I've been a little bit spoiled with the success that Long Tail Pro had. Obviously, a $4,000 week would be a terrible one for Long Tail Pro. But if I look back to when I first created Long Tail Pro, if my memory serves me correct, it sold about $2,500 in the first month.
So, in some ways $4,000 doesn't feel that amazing, but in other ways it feels like a great start. Where it will really matter is what I can do over the next 6 to 12 months.
Future Plans to Continuing Growing…
In addition to just launching it to my user base list, I do have some additional plans to help my Chrome app continue selling.
First, I think it's important to emphasize that FBAmaster.com does already rank for things like Textbook arbitrage and other related keywords. So, adding mentions of Textrader on these web pages should result in some “natural” sales on an ongoing basis.
Over the long term, I plan to produce additional articles that will hopefully rank in Google for related terms and will give me additional opportunities to mention the tool.
I also happen to have a few articles on NichePursuits.com where it will make sense to add mentions of Textrader, including on of the very first articles I ever wrote on my blog: How to buy and sell used books.
In addition, I've already spoken to a few people that are willing to be affiliates for Textrader. I'm hoping to form a few relationships that can generate ongoing sales, rather that just one-time sales through email promotions.
I also plan to do some outreach to websites that are already ranking in Google for related terms and ask if they want to add TexTrader to their articles to make some extra money. I've already had one person say yes.
I don't have the full plan for paid traffic fleshed out, but I do plan on testing some ads. This could be Facebook ads, Youtube ads, or Google Adwords.
However, my theory is that this is a low enough entry product that I should be able to develop a paid traffic funnel to a wider audience that might be willing to try buying and selling textbooks online, which may be the best way to scale Chrome extensions.
I likely won't have anything running for a month or so, but I'll keep you posted to let you know how it goes!
Does Any of this Guarantee Success?
I'm happy with the start of the new Chrome Extension, but a quick start doesn't guarantee long term success.
The previous owner came up with a great idea and likely had bigger weeks than $4,000 with the old Chrome Extension. In fact, the previous owner did a great job overall with the site to help it grow from nothing to something significant!
So, I plan to continue to nurture this little chrome extension and possibly add others in the future so that this side of the business grows over the long term.
Should You Consider a Chrome Extension for Your Audience?
You might be able to create a Chrome extension for your audience to either make money, build an email list, or both. There are paid extensions for just about everything out there, not just the “make money online” niche.
Think about what's already out there. Extensions for the Chrome browser exist from well-known programs like Evernote, Jungle Scout, and other well-known companies. You can find a Chrome browser extension for an FBA calculator, social media, keyword research, and more.
In other words, there are plenty of opportunities for paid extensions if you find an idea that resonates with an audience.
If you get creative enough, you might be able to find an extension that your audience might want in the gardening niche, the survival niche, or just about any niche out there. Get creative!
Although I do think the best opportunities lie in the shopping/deals, productivity, and digital marketing niches.
You can charge for the extension like I have, or perhaps you can give it away for free and try to build your audience. I haven't done this yet, but I imagine you can require an email address to access the Chrome extension. So, they might find you on the Chrome store, but just ask them for an email address before they can activate it.
Who knows, maybe you could build a large email list that way. (I definitely might try this in the future if I come up with the right idea).
Overall, I think creating a Chrome extension is a viable idea as a business model to either make money or build an audience. What do you think?
If you have any questions or thoughts about TexTrader or creating a Chrome extension in general, let me know in the comments below.
And for extra inspiration if you need it, check out our list of the most popular Google apps on the market!
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How much time and cost did it take to develop it?
It took about 3 weeks to develop. Less than $2k to develop.
Perfect not too expensive not too cheap. Do you mind giving any tips on choosing a chrome extension developer?
I’ve had an idea for the longest and don’t know how to go about finding the best outsource option. I’m pretty much set that upwork is the place to go. How did you filter out good / bad dev for this plugin?
I wrote this article a couple of years ago, I think it will answer your question about hiring: https://www.nichepursuits.com/how-to-hire-a-great-software-developer-for-your-bootstrapped-business/
Hi Spencer, I follow you and read your articles since lets say 2 or 3 years ago, always as just listener so this is my very first comment. I really liked this post for the particular niche of textrader is not just a niche is a makemoneyonline niche that let others to make money. I use to try all kind of methods to make online profits and several worked for me. I’m big fan of BHW forum (black hat world) not everything that is posted there works or is true but there is a complete community of people just like me before trying differente methods to make money online so I think you might consider to test that kind of audience for your chrome extension.
Happy to see textrader news in the future. Regards.
Awesome, sounds good. Thanks for the tip!
Creating a new Chrome extension and earning $4,012 in 7 days is a great feat which most people can never do. I really appreciate you for that. I just checked it out TexTrader which sounds like a great idea.
I really liked the whole framework and monetization strategy you’ve used to make it profitable from scratch. You made a video explaining what’s it all about and how it can be helpful.
You also had your own reasons on why you’re actually creating an extension. So you deserve all the success. Learned a lot of lessons.
Thanks so much for the case study. Do more of it and I’d love to share as much as I can.
I am on your mailing list ;-). I read quite often you but it is the first time I contact you. I read a lot about moneyonline business and I have been on various trainings. I have to congratulate you on the very good idea of Chrome extention. It looks like a very sensible and profitable thing. But I have a few questions – please answer:
1. You write
“….What this means is that you can buy a used textbook for say, $75. Then once you receive it, you just print a free shipping label using the Amazon Trade-In program and send it right back to Amazon for say, $100. You make a $25 profit just like that!…”
But when you buy the book you need to add the delivery cost – usually 3.99 USD and the most important – you must have an address in the US to which the seller must send it? And only when it gets you can stick the free shipping label and send back on Amazon? Does this mean that a person like me who lives in the UK can not start such a business? Not to mention the time of delivery to the UK, possible customs fees and re-shipping to the US (and possibly no longer free shipping) greatly extends the time and raises costs. For this yet Amazon may not accept the book and you only lose? Or in the meantime – it will last 1-1.5 months, one such turn of the book US-UK-US -and in the meantime Amazon can reduce price or withdraw it offer? I really seriously consider buying this TextTrader that’s why I am asking for such details. Do you maybe have a way to solve it, and if not, maybe you can come up with something and to take care of it?
2. Why do you sell Chrome extension at all and you do not just sell these books to Amazon and you do not make money on it? Instead, do you sell Chrome extension?
Sorry for my English but it isn’t my native 😉
Here’s some answers:
Yes, you have to account for shipping and tax. My example was for brevity sake, some books will still be a $25 profit after shipping and taxes. Yes, the extension only works in the US right now. In the future, I can look into supporting the UK.
2. I’ve sold lots of software products in the past, my main business is creating and selling products, not flipping textbooks. That’s the reason.
Make sure UK has the trade in program. I live both in US and in Spain and Spain does not have this trade in program. Spoke to amazon about it and they are looking into it. So it would be useless to buy it and try to use it there. Unless you can source some other way to sell the books besides the amazon trade in.
Been following you since your 200+ niche website days and I’m happy to see your success and your willingness to share.
This is one of my favorite posts you’ve written: https://www.nichepursuits.com/shiny-object-syndrome-multiple-businesses/
How do you currently handle so many different projects? (Mom blog, Chrome extension, Niche Pursuits Insider + many others you are either working on or will work on in the future)
Do you give projects a timeline and budget still?
Do you try to focus on one thing for, say, a 1 or 2 week period exclusively, making massive progress on it then, once you’ve taken it as far as you can go for the moment, transition to another project?
Nick, he has a secret weapon.
Haha, the cat is out of the bag. Jake is one of my secret weapons :).
I have employees helping. I can’t do it all myself. That’s the real answer.
Yes, I give my projects a timeline and a budget (for the most part).
I try to work on a project until I get it to a place where I can hand it off to an employee or VA (or as much as possible). This frees up my time to focus on other things. I do continue to analyze and review results and tweak processes along the way.
Love it bro! This really got my rust-encrusted mental gears spinning.
I think there’s a lot of potential for this kind of thing even outside of simple utilities.
Various calendars, productivity tools, etc., that might work well with this model if you can nail the marketing.
Inspiring as ALWAYS Spencer. 🙂
Good! Glad I could share something that got the wheels turning! I 100% agree. Thanks for the comment, Vic…hope things continue to go well!
I tried to look for books (and games and other things) that can be bought cheaper on Amazon and then sell to Amazon (trade-in). Manually obvious. Unfortunately, I have NOT found the right one. All these sales offers are higher than the amount at which Amazon is willing to buy. You can see for yourself-
1.Pfenninger and Fowler’s Procedures for Primary Care, 3e (Pfenninger, Pfenniger and Fowler’s Procedures for Primary Care, Expert Consult)
2. PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB Console
3.Invitation to the Life Span
4.Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set (Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guides)
I beleive that your TexTrader could find such variants (?)
But how to solve another problem I wrote about – I live in the UK and not in the USA? ;-(
Please write me back ;-(
thanks for the answers. I have not seen them yet when I wrote a next comment 😉
I understand that the address in the US to pick up the parcel from the seller and then send the book to Amazon is absolutely necessary?Isn’t?
After all, I think I will try it and buy TextTrader and make such an US-UK-US turn if I have a 30 day guaranteed refund ;-))
Hey Spencer , read your posts on niche sites and it was amazing.Wanted to ask what’s your criteria right now for selecting Keywords & analysing Competition for niche sites .
Since those posts were created way back , conditions are now changed as finding Keyword with criteria prescribed in those post is very difficult .
Now there is huge Competition in every niche we choose & also the Keyword difficulty.
Looking for your response & curious to know what’s your strategy right now .
Nice one, got my head spinning! Here’s one question where I would appreciate your two cents.
I am using some Chrome extensions, and they are free. Do you think it makes sense to make a competing product and ask money for it? I think my team can make better ones, and I think those types of extensions provide enough value to be monetized.
Do you think that good traffic is the key to success even with selling Chrome extensions? Meaning, I should first have a website + traffic + list, before even building the extension?
Great work and very good timing too. I’ve started expanding and about a month away from a Google Sheets addon for Amazon sellers.
Same concept. Lots of manual work trying to keep my numbers organized and updated, so this add-on was created internally, and now close to launching it in near future.
Will be interested to see how you go ahead and market it.
Lol, these arbitrage opportunities is why Amazon’s share price and PE is completely inflated at a 270x PE. Using investor’s equity to fund a loss on every textbook trade?
Spencer you’re just going to cause the acceleration of the financial correction on Amazon’s share price with this tool =) Nice work on an interesting tool and a great new side business idea.
Very interesting information, I never thought about it before. I do not even know how to create extensions for google chrome. I hope to learn more here.
I agree with u lad enjoyable isnt it
Great post. I have a few extensions for Chrome for my websites but never knew I could monetize them too. I read that you spent 2K on the app, so you doubled the money only in 7 days. Wow.
Very interesting information, I never thought about it before. I do not even know how to create extensions for google chrome. I hope to learn more here.
I purchased this extension last friday. Never received an activation email after purchase, my support emails have not been answered. It states 24-48 hours for a reply. Sent an Email on friday regarding this. Another one on Tuesday. It is now Thursday afternoon and nothing yet. Is there a problem with the support system? I only purchased because it was from you and have always been trustworthy with everything. Never purchased other online things such as this from other sources just for this reason. Can you advise what to do? I know it may not be the proper channel, but see no other way to get it resolved. Plan to cancel payment tomorrow if no response from my emails.
Awesome business to start, i think. Less time to build and low initial budget needed.
Thanks for the awesome case study and your personal experience.
Its great to see that you not only recovered your investment but made a decent sum out of it.
Also, well said about the Chrome extension for the “Gardening Niche” Its all about creativity.
I too hope to plan my projects for long haul just as yours instead of mulling over short term chases.