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The Majority Of WordPress Stores Restrict How Their Themes Can Be Used

Posted on by in Blog

Joshua ‘Red’ Russak from First Time Online has performed an interesting investigation into WordPress theme stores and what their developers offer their customers. The results are astounding.

Based on 53 WordPress theme stores, Joshua found that:

  • 62% have “No Pricing Pages”
  • 31% have “Pricing” in their Navigation Bar
  • 10% are “Subscription Only” models
  • 33% mentioned “Footer Removal Rules”, of which 6 restricted removal!
  • 40% allowed uploading to “Unlimited Domains”
  • 21% included .PSD’s (In some cases, getting the .psd meant an increase of $100)
  • 17% didn’t offer or didn’t define whether or not they offered Support
  • 42% offered “All Theme Packages”, though in many cases, there were limits set.

I do believe that pricing plans are useful for customers however I understand that some developers prefer to price themes individually on their sites. I was more shocked at the percentage of theme stores who restrict the removal of the developer footer link though and a whopping 60% of stores also restrict the number of domains the design can be used on, clearly breaking WordPress’s GPL Policy. Restricting the number of websites a person uploads a purchased design too is near impossible to enforce though out of principle, I personally wouldn’t purchase a theme if it restricted the number of sites I could upload it too.

With only 1 in 5 theme stores including the original photoshop psd files, it would seem that most theme developers are concerned about others stealing their designs. I do find this very frustrating at times, particularly if a theme uses a lot of images, as it makes it much more difficult to customise the design to suit your needs.

For a complete breakdown of what theme stores offer, I recommend reading Joshuas article, as he explains which theme stores offer photoshop psds and which stores restrict how the theme is used.


Link: Premium Themes: What’s Wrong With Pricing?

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Comments (8)

Comment by dk70 says:

Themeforest as a shop is probably not to blame.Their thoughts about that 1 thread I guess is to deal with simple products and perhaps buying questions. No one can think a 100+ comment thread is effective support. No search of course, the annoyance is massive. They sell almost whatever and for some stuff it will do. Up to developers to do more. Some do, those with resources, those who sell the most? More to it than just throwing up a forum script but it might help sales if done right. Sale to who though? Target audience of another dev. in some shape or form does not scream for support as much as if it was Mr. nobody. There are many more nobodies than devs ;) Would be cool if a developer noticed increased sales by going all helpful and informative. Person will also notice increased workload I am sure so pros can cons. If they want to aim for sales x10 I think it is necessary.

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

Support is undoubtedly a major factor for new WordPress users and those who are not familiar with HTML, PHP and CSS.

Great support is unfortunately something that all developers say they provide but not all of them do.

I am a big fan of ThemeForest due to the sheer volume and variety of themes on offer, though support can be a mixed bag. I always check how frequently the author replies to support issues but that isn’t always a guarantee you will receive excellent support.

Comment by dk70 says:

Very true. Support, fixes/updates over a long period of time is what matters. Effective and smooth dealing with customers face to face, or username to username also matters. Seen on forums which counts big time. I wonder if there is even agreement on which details to focus on, put in those tables, to demand users are told upfront before paying up? Anyway putting spotlight on licensing details is a useful beginning. I have not checked many theme sites but my feeling is they need to be checked – to help them self ;) So cool initiative from that guy. What happens after you buy, support rules?, is another story and even harder to put in a table – or investigate unless you are a real buyer or part of themes community if it has one.

Since I will always demand a forum I have major doubts about support from anything at ThemeForest. Notice that some makers have set up own forums etc. because they realize out of the box setup is a hoax support-wize. Simply not possible, the more successful the more obvious it becomes. The guy who make one of the more popular themes (Breeze) tweeted out some time ago, a bit like “I think I should have a forum for support, what should I use?” – 4+ months after release! Some of the authors at Themeforest are not very knowledgeable about support is my conclusion, no table required :) Basic stuff this is. Licensing there is typical also a bit strict but another matter. In theory they could almost give themes away and win table contest, support will still blow.

Comment by Ian Campbell says:

Even though I’m new to WordPress and the purchase of themes, the thing that has really stuck out for me is the supprt behind the theme. Of the four themes I’ve purchsed, two have offered excellent almost instant support, one has been a bit ropey, and the other has been a nightmare. As a new WordPress user, I’m less concerned about footer removal and pricing and heavily concerned about who will help me out when it all goes a bit pear shaped.

While only 17% didn’t offer or define their support terms, I’d be interested to see what the support for the other 83% actually consisted of. One theme requested access to WordPress and FTP access to my server before they’d even entertain a question from me. So while they wouldn’t feature in the 17% who don’t offer or define support, they would definitely feature in my own personal list of “Support That Hinders”.

Comment by Kevin Muldoon says:

I agree. Customer service is something that a table can never show.

I do believe that it does highlight some major problems though, such as some theme developers not allowing their credit link to be removed and very few stores providing the original psd files.

Comment by dk70 says:

Forgot to say that his request for sites showing off many themes, theme libraries, is not going to help one bit. What you get there might be a nice overview and help in decision making, but these sites will typically also have BUY buttons and a million affiliate links. They want to be part of buying process or you can slap me silly. If goal is optimal conditions for end user these sites do not help, more likely mess things up further.

Those who develop really need to inform and relate better, simple as that. License stuff can be tampered with btw. If it somehow becomes mandatory to get a nice row of Ys for chosen features a creative doucebag developer will just put up other annoyances, restrictions. Question is if possible violating, idiotic terms are there intentionally or a bit random because developer is not clear on what to do, horrible at customer relations, may be copied neighbors terms, heh.

Best is to know them directly without middelmen as to get a feel for whats up. Their responsibility to make that easy. If fail they risk getting on a table showing they are hmmm ;)

Comment by dk70 says:

I think it is a bit tricky to “tableize” such conditions. What it comes down to for me as an end user is how X company/shop view and treat me as a customer. Possible some are sloppy with info or even terms of purchase/usage but in reality they are very customer friendly. What it says on the box they should and can be judged on of course. Nothing wrong in evaluating based on quick/first impressions since that is what most do.

If overall conclusion is WP shops have weird relationship to customers I agree. Area is messy as h…. Be careful about tables though!

Comment by Pothi says:

Thanks for the summary on Joshuas’ excellent article. I’d have definitely missed it, if you didn’t take time to write this post. So happy to know what’s cooking in the premium theme business.

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