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A bug bounty is IT jargon for a reward given for finding and reporting a bug in a particular software product. Many IT companies offer these types of incentives to drive product improvement and get more interaction from end users or clients.
Companies that operate bug bounty programs may get hundreds of reported bugs, and many who report those bugs stand to receive awards. For example, in 2012, Ars Technica reported that after tech giant Google launched bug bounty programs for its Chrome operating system (OS) and other applications, the company paid out more than $700,000 in over 700 different reward payments to those reporting bugs.
The Mozilla Foundation and other big tech makers have also run bug bounty programs. Bug bounties give those who find bugs incentives against selling that information on the black market. However, there is some debate about the effectiveness of these programs and the most appropriate way to compensate those who help IT companies develop their products.