For consideration: “Premium” WordPress theme authors are marginalizing their themes by ignoring the GPL. The audience for their themes will become smaller and smaller as “WordPress-approved” themes are pushed to a growing user base through WordPress itself. Yes? No?
8 thoughts on “Marginal WordPress Themes”
I think there will be increased pressure on the premium theme authors to offer support when their themes fall short of the standards set in the WP codex and things start breaking when people start using standard customizations that normally work fine.
The thing that will separate the adults from the children will be providing support for their themes in a central location rather than the comment boxes of the theme’s download post.
Good point, Jesse. One really has to keep an eye on the future of WordPress while they work in the present. Plus, central support, definitely.
I love the GPL but I believe the theme Author has the right to license his work how he sees fit. In my opinion Justin Tadlocks ThemeHybrid.com is one of the best premium them offers. Great themes good support and only a one yearly payment. Pay once and I am good for the year. I hope he is successful and makes good money so he can keep producing great themes. I like this method a lot more then paying for each theme. If I pay for each them how do I get support? Is this theme going to be updated?
I believe you are on the right track with thematic.
Produce a great theme for free.
Build a community around this theme
provide support through your self and the community
Charge for the extras themlets
or a yearly subscription
I hope I’m on the right track with Thematic! Thanks, Michael. Plus, I’m also a fan of Justin Tadlock too. I think he’s one of the more creative WordPress theme authors out there. So many others seem stuck on doing the same old thing, the same old ways. Not Tadlock.
Premium Theme authors are not ignoring the GPL. 1) The GPL does not state that products under its terms have to be free. Even if it’s a modified or covered work, so I could sell WordPress if I wanted too. (Who wants to pay more for the exact same product?) 2) Dynamically linking to WordPress functions and other code does not cause themes to be under the terms of WordPress and therefor the GPL. Taking and using WordPress code is another story though.
I do see the problem with selling themes under the GPL though, because other people may redistribute your work at no cost to others.
I think there will always be a place for premium themes because there will always be a place for custom designed websites. You could think of premium themes like having a groups of sites come together and hire a designer to develop one new layout. So if premium theme go, then uniquely created theme or websites must have also gone.
I’m not trying to argue “premium” themes out of existence here, though. I’m suggesting that they stand a good chance of being totally eclipsed by free themes once WordPress pushes themes from the official directory through the software itself.
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