94 Responses

  1. Daisy Olsen
    Daisy Olsen Published |

    Can’t wait to see what you have in store. I have purchased themes and I ALWAYS have to fix them in one way or another. It shouldn’t have to be that way, and there are a growing number of free premium themes that may still have issues but at least there is no money involved so the frustration of fixing problems is much less.

    Reply
  2. chris
    chris Published |

    I support your movement.

    Reply
  3. Andrew Bergeron
    Andrew Bergeron Published |

    Cheers Justin! I support your statements about selling these “premium” themes. Most business should hire a web designer to pick a theme and pay them to tweek it. Adding a middle-person is BS in my opinion. Option theme revision looks great. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  4. Matt
    Matt Published |

    You provide remarkably better themes and a million times better support than any premium theme/author I’ve ever known. So I’m with you.

    Reply
  5. Chuck Reynolds
    Chuck Reynolds Published |

    Hey man I can’t wait for Project M and thanks for sticking with the community. You build great stuff.

    Reply
  6. John Scott
    John Scott Published |

    I totally agree that there are a lot of “crap” themes out there that should never be paid for, but I also agree that there are some genuine “top shelf” themes that are worth paying for, such as Brian Gardner’s Revolution theme.

    Plus I would be more than happy to pay for your themes, as they are certainly far superior to the general run of the mill stuff out there!

    Reply
  7. Remkus
    Remkus Published |

    I agree with John all the way. There are a couple of designers out there that actually know what they are doing. Some charge money for their themes, some don’t. I would have no problem paying for your themes since indeed I do consider them premium in every sense of the word.

    Reply
  8. Steve Perry
    Steve Perry Published |

    Your free themes are better than more premium theme.

    Hold on

    Reply
  9. cellobella
    cellobella Published |

    I always used free themes until I was lucky enough to win one of Brian Gardner’s premium themes – Rev Pro Media. In fact I was using one of his free ones before that.

    I have found Brian to be very helpful on his forums and his themes are excellent. His themes “bring it” for me and I feel privileged to have the opportunity I’ve had to use it.

    I use Options for my son’s site and it is superb.

    Of course, if you pay for a theme you do have higher expectations of customer service.

    Personally I don’t think some of these other pay-for themes (I won’t call them premium) realise that.

    Well done.
    CB

    Reply
  10. JamesSpratt
    JamesSpratt Published |

    Go Justin. Totally agree with what you’re saying here.

    I’m just beginning to use Joomla as a CMS for non-blogging web work and this is the state that WP would descend into without thinking about it, like you and many real WP users are.

    There are virtually no decent free themes for Joomla out there (that I can find so far), try searching for Joomla themes and it’s all about the money. Not cool. And this is where WP would be in a while if we’re not careful.

    Looking forward to Project M. Keep up the good work and I hope Korea is keeping you entertained.

    James

    Reply
  11. Ian Stewart
    Ian Stewart Published |

    Now I’m really curious about what Project M will be.

    Reply
  12. WordPress Modder
    WordPress Modder Published |

    I’m so curious I am about project M, I can hardly contain myself!

    Reply
  13. BoltClock
    BoltClock Published |

    I never really understood the idea behind pay-for-use WordPress themes. And the word premium has also had me badly confused.

    But it’s good to know Project M will be a totally free-for-use project.

    IMHO, you are the real definition of premium WordPress theme designer ;)

    Reply
  14. RebeccaJ
    RebeccaJ Published |

    I’m looking forward to seeing what Project M is.
    There’s quite a bit of anticipation building for that!

    I found your post to be an interesting read.
    I believe that the consumer who is purchasing the junk theme is doing the WP community a disservice also.
    They buy the theme and then blame Wordpress, their webhost or a handful of other people for the issues they encounter.
    Just because the product has a price tag on it does not mean that it’s worth it!

    Reply
  15. Ptah Dunbar
    Ptah Dunbar Published |

    I knew this was going to happen. People using the word “premium” for not-so-premium themes. I wouldn’t even call them themes because their so bad.

    Glad I’m not the only one with plans to innovate in the free themes market.

    Reply
  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous Published |

    You are so right on.

    On a similar note, whenever I go to stadiums for concerts or sports and they charge 7 dollars for crap beer like Bud or Coors, they always have the “Premium Beer” option, which is like 2 dollars more for Corona or Heineken. Premium?! I think what they are trying to say is “slightly less crappy”.

    Also, I think I know what Project M is, and all I’m going to say about it is: I’m really excited!

    Reply
  17. J Mehmett
    J Mehmett Published |

    Justin, I’m really very keen on waiting that mentioned Project M.

    For the premium themes market, I’ve only seen three genuine designs, Revolution Themes, Small Potato’s Portolio and iThemes, though I didn’t pay iThemes.

    BTW, please kill Premium Themes, as most of them are crap. Options and Structure were worth to pay for.

    Reply
  18. StefanJ
    StefanJ Published |

    I think your post is quite interesting, and I also share your sceptisism. I think many people live by the idea that Premium-products can make you rich like …. and ensure wealth and happiness for a lifetime, or more. But, very few do invent things like Skype or Google.

    My opinion is that really good shareware, themes or whatever can be worth a lot for the user, and as a consequence, can be paid for. Those making sharewares for a living also need to charge for their products, as any other enterprise.

    On the other side – there are many people (I believe you belong to this group) who do things for others because they enjoy the work, do not really need it for their living/salary, and most importantly, have a feeling that sharing a product/service has a bigger meaning, making the world a little bit better.

    Justin, keep up the good spirit, but don’t work too hard. And drop me a line if you need free advice from a neonatologist :)

    Reply
  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous Published |

    Dear Justin,

    Whatever they said, whenever you hard, I always believe and support your aim and works. And let me say something, do what you believe!

    I love WordPress Community too!
    Cheers! :)

    Reply
  20. Project M
    Project M at |
  21. Techie ZOne
    Techie ZOne Published |

    I hv been a victim of this.
    I bought Wp-Pemium theme some time back ( before option) came out. And severly screwed up by the developer. I hv not yet used the theme in any of my project. The guy mentioned something abt the theme and he has something available in it. Tht’s the useless theme I hv ever seen.
    Much to my surprise when i asked for help he told me that he has lots of work n he cant help me in customizing it. If any one wish to buy Wp-Premium theem never ever buy that.

    Reply
  22. Techie ZOne
    Techie ZOne Published |

    Please excuse me the theme is not Wp-Premium but wp-Remix theme.

    Reply
  23. Ely
    Ely Published |

    Love you for those Free themes! Go Project M!

    Reply
  24. A Marvelous Project and A $500 Design Contest
  25. What Do You Think of Premium WordPress Themes?
  26. What Do You Think of Premium WordPress Themes? | [Blog Tutorials]
  27. Dave
    Dave Published |

    I have to say that I have no real problem with someone trying to make money from his labor.

    Justin’s complaint is legitimate — crap is being sold at the same price as excellence.

    But I think that what he identifies is not the need for people to stop trying to sell crap, but for someone in the community to take up the job of ‘trusted guide’, reviewing themes the way CNet reviews digital cameras.

    With a set of standards in place, a review community could dispose of the substandard work simply by telling the truth.

    I have to say that as a developer of very, very modest skills, access to the best work has made my job easier. I paid for one of the Revolution themes and it was the best money I’ve ever spent. It saved me literally weeks of work. (In fact, you can argue that the best “premium” themes are undervalued, when measured against avoided cost.)

    Reply
  28. Dave
    Dave Published |

    A couple of missing thoughts from the above post:

    I’m not opposed to free themes. Who could possible be? What one gives to the community is one’s own choice and Justin’s to be applauded and supported in some other way for his decision.

    Another way in which the community could support those looking to create premium themes is to allow a would-be theme developer to submit his/her pre-release theme for quickie analysis — sort of a pre-review. Poor themes could get better, the community’s coding skills are enhanced, and a would-be developer has a sense of how his/her theme would do in the marketplace, whether free or paid.

    Reply
  29. Hoodgrown Magazine
    Hoodgrown Magazine Published |

    When I saw the title of this article I was all set to argue the point with you until I actually read what you wrote. I currently use Mimbo (free) for my site and I’m thinking of either redesigning utilizing Options or doing my next site with Options.

    It’s such a damn good theme.

    Reply
  30. Anonymous
    Anonymous Published |

    If I had found your themes a little earlier, I wouldn’t have bought the theme I’m using now. because your themes rock Justin.

    I didn’t give much thought to the purchase, just found a nice theme i needed to have :-) Later on I discovered there was an ongoing discussion about the payable themes. Alas my purchase was completed, and I’m happy with the theme, but if I had to choose today your themes would win…

    Reply
  31. gofree
    gofree Published |

    Well said, I planned to get one premium theme, too but I experienced the lack of support from the author during the customization talk till I happened to know Option; and there I stopped and said “YOU GUY ROCKS!”

    Thank you Justin.

    Reply
  32. cK !
    cK ! Published |

    Mr. Tadlock, your themes are TOP NOTCH and your efforts are quite refreshing!

    With that said, I blame you for my discontent toward the Premium News Themes by Adii. I plunked down a whole Benji for Fresh News and I expected a more versatile theme with numerous options… like your Options theme.

    Needless to say, I was quite disappointed. Now, I’m down $100 and I’m stuck with a theme that is useless for me. I would have much rather donated the hundo to you for your generosity to the WordPress community.

    Reply
  33. Owen
    Owen Published |

    Great post .. you can actually feel the emotion in your words.

    I’m a plugin author and most of what I do is available to anyone who wants to use it. I even provide free support where I can (I say most because I have one plugin that has a paid-for-version, but that’s because it’s special and took months in the making)

    As you say, Wordpress was built around the idea of community and there’s a great community out there. But there are also those that try to take advantage of people where they can. As you say, someone of the stuff out there is REALLY poor quality and gives everyone else a bad name. And when someone is forced to pay for it, well, that just takes the biscuit.

    Thanks for the show of spirit. I’m subscribing to the blog and looking forward to hearing more from you !

    Reply
  34. Blog Bloke
    Blog Bloke Published |

    Hi Justin. You are breath of fresh air amongst all of the hucksters out there. I’m in complete agreement with you and kudos to you for standing by your principles.

    I’m having the same problem with my niche that I created. There are now so many con-artists out there trying spin a fast buck out the pockets of the gullible that it just sickens me.

    The blogosphere was built on the principal of sharing and helpfulness towards are fellow bloggers. Wordpress was born out of that conviction.

    But today we find everything from the corner racketeer to mega corporations trying to exploit our beloved blogosphere. Stick to your convictions and set an example.

    I tip my hat off to you.

    Reply
  35. Screw the Blog Hustlers: Introducing The Blog Parasite Hall of Shame | Blog Tips Tools and Views by Blog Bloke
  36. John
    John Published |

    I support what you are going to do. I think its the best for wordpress community, to have a great theme with no cost.

    Reply
  37. Christopher
    Christopher Published |

    Great Post,

    We recently purchased a premium theme because of time constraints. Funny thing is the author promised lifetime support.

    What we got in the way of support was 1 word answers and almost a feeling of “don’t bother me please” when asking questions.

    The very last time we buy anything for wordpress. Bring on Project M!

    Good luck.

    Reply
  38. Epat
    Epat Published |

    i’m agree with you, wordpress is a free!

    Reply
  39. Galwin
    Galwin Published |

    Though you may consider me as one of the lurkers who just wait for the time to reap the fruits of your labor (themes) and use it, I agree that people with no decent ability and dedication should not sell pay-to-use themes. For those who can, I commend them, I commend you.

    I use Options and Structures theme, and I am impressed that you offer them for free yet the quality of those two are way beyond that of numerous pay-to-use themes.

    I totally support you and on your project M. Blessings!

    Reply
  40. Free themes versus premium themes — WP Project
  41. zawadi
    zawadi Published |

    I have been looking for a Theme for a Week that doesn’t suck. Most of the Free themes are made with unfinished and not working parts and also the designers affiliate casino links at the bottom.

    Reply
  42. Talking to WP Theme Developer Justin Tadlock « Web and New Media
  43. kelly
    kelly Published |

    I used to think the way you do. As WP versions get better and more ‘state-of-the-art”, more free themes will simply stop working (or at the best they malfunction) with the latest/current version. Time and effort is needed to keep themes working and that’s what make theme premium or “pay-to-use” (as you mentioned)…or rather ‘pay-to-own-on-one-domain’ depending on license bought.

    On top of that, many site owners (probably 8% of the market or more) are not prepared to be mistaken for another blog with the same look, and that means hundreds of blog owners.

    There’s really no worry, pay-to-use themes now have much much more customisation feature. A very good free premium theme with customisation options (more than 2,000) is the Ikarus theme (google for it – you’ll find it in several places!) The Ikarus theme took its maker 3 months to create/modify and improve. I dare say not many theme makers who make free wordpress themes are going to spend months on making ONE free theme!

    Pay-to-use or premium has its value and I think they’re gonna stick around longer, for as long as there’s demand for it.

    Reply
  44. David Coveney
    David Coveney Published |

    Hi Justin – I’m very late to this post, even though I’ve always followed your work with interest and admiration. But months later this is still a fascinating post, and I thought it was time to pipe up.

    Of course, lots of people are offering to sell themes – some of which are of dubious quality and with almost zero support. Heck, we even decided recently to enter the field ourselves after a long period mostly specialising in building exclusive themes for businesses and agencies… but what we learned is that building really good, stable and flexible themes that extend on WP functionality is a trick in itself.

    We’re often paid to customise other firm’s premium themes and we can confirm that a lot are flakey as hell. They break easily, use odd php code, and don’t really make the end user’s life an easy one.

    But the real question is: Is there money to be made from hard work with WordPress? The answer is yes, of course. Automattic are doing so (with no significant rewards fed back to contributors to the project), as are many others. And it’s only fair that money can be made. We code because we enjoy it, but code is hard to do, and expensive to produce. We all contribute to the scene (about half our themes are GPL’d) and we hope to get something back.

    And this brings up the next question – should all our themes be GPL? Well, we’ve discussed it, and we’ve decided that no, they shouldn’t. We haven’t made much charging for membership yet (it’s early days really) – but given I was writing shareware and freeware in the eighties and nineties I have experience of how many people will use you software compared to how many people will pay for it. And being British I’ve been brought up with an innate distaste for finding through advertising revenue. So we’re left with needing to give people reasons for joining – the first is exclusives – a lot of our work is GPL only, but member only for the first 2-3 months, and then the non-GPL stuff comes with some clever trickery on top.

    There’s also the big big risk of monetising GPL work – someone less scrupulous could download all your work, and start their own themes club with it as the basis of what you’ve done. It would cost them a lot less than it did you, and if they did it right, few people would even realise they were paying the wrong person. They may not be happy, but the unscrupulous wouldn’t care. I think as the market grows this is likely to become a very real problem. I’ve already noticed how cheerfully people rip off content from my blog :-(

    I’m interested to see how Theme Hybrid turns out for you. These are interesting times we live in and I wish you the best of luck with it :-) I know just how hard it can be to build up something like this.

    Dave

    Reply
  45. Fabio
    Fabio Published |

    Well, I just want to say this: I love your theme and the “flavors” you posted, really useful, really cool. This being said, what you are doing is exactly the same a lot of premium themes designers are doing: provide a great free premium design and then: “if you want support, you gotta pay”, trying to catter the newbies out there. Don’t get me wrong, it’s deserved and I always thought people has to be paid for their work, I just find the post slightly… I don’t know, I don’t want to use the word “hypocrite”, but it’s the one that’s closer to what it looks. Since my English is pretty crappy, will try to re-word myself: there’s nothing wrong in making money from your hard work. It just sounds bad to criticize someone else for doing exactly the same you’re doing

    Reply
  46. Automattic removes 200 GPL-licensed WordPress themes
  47. Lee
    Lee Published |

    Hi Justin,

    I am absolutely amazed at the quality of your work. I have downloaded and tested no less than 40 wordpress themes including all of the revolution themes. Your work is absolutely incredible.

    Will be keeping up with you!

    Reply
  48. Jason
    Jason Published |

    Amazing Work Justin, even though im a great fan of Brian’s[ revolution] themes. But yes i do support your movement, because somehow these premium themes are hurting the wordpress community, and i agree with that.

    Reply
  49. Helen Cebis
    Helen Cebis Published |

    Word up Justin you speak the truth.

    There is enough ‘free’ garbage out there without us having to pay for more ‘premium’ garbage.

    Reply
  50. jeff
    jeff Published |

    Thumbs Up Dude!!
    Man, I really appreciate your work and what you have done for the wp community..
    Will look forward to all your future endeavors..

    P.S – And I totally agree with you man – screw premium themes!

    Reply
  51. What Do You Think of Premium WordPress Themes?
  52. kazouar
    kazouar Published |

    This post and all the comments is more like shepherd – sheeps relationship. I can agree with the fact that there’s too many fake Premium themes available for sale. And so is with tons and tons of other goods – tangible or intangible. Once you buy a piece of shit – no chance to do it again, right? And so is with bad Premium themes. For Christ sake, this is how entire market works like!!!
    So what if WordPress has been developed by community willing to share their knowledge freely. Nobody has forced these people to work for free. The same goes for WordPress developers. Why is so bad to sell WP themes and make a few bux for living? Why is that supposed to be so bad if one decided to charge for all the efforts and sweat invested into some theme? Not even prisoners work their asses off for free.
    Justin, I wish you all the best with your project. You make nice and useful stuff, you write good articles but this one sux.
    PS
    Check your site/theme, HTML Tidy throws few errors not worth of your reputation.

    Reply
  53. kazouar
    kazouar Published |

    Actually I did understand very well this pathetic article and I read the most of all articles you wrote here, I was your fan mate. Obviously your ego doesn’t allow critics so phrases like ‘Screw you too’ are acceptable. However, I’m not about to get so low and reply on that.

    Beside, what else is project M than sucking money out of user’s wallet? Yes, it’s free but for a small annual fee of $20 – if one is expecting support. Stand behind your words mate and make it FREE if you can. Only fools work for free.

    Reply
  54. Aneslin
    Aneslin Published |

    can always support,
    and waiting for Project M
    Good Luck

    Reply
  55. Lance
    Lance Published |

    I support your opinion just as I continually support open source for everything. I have always perceived Internet as a free and useful tool for humanity.
    Thanks! :”)

    Reply
  56. Albert K.
    Albert K. Published |

    I used to work with WP themes and I agree with you. the premium market is not that much big a deal, I’d rather stick to “common” WP themes, it is way more profitable for me, by thr way

    Reply
  57. rsibaja
    rsibaja Published |

    I’m agreed with you!

    Reply
  58. Dez Futak
    Dez Futak Published |

    I’ve kinda rotated 540 degrees on this one!

    I’ve always been a let’s-share-and-it-keep-it-free kinda bloke, and occasionally ventured into using paid solutions for web design (paid Joomla plugins for example, when the free versions just didn’t cut it)….but I’ve always come back to using free stuff wherever I can (360 degrees so far!).

    But then I came across the Thesis Theme for Wordpress. And no, it’s not because of the affiliate scheme that’s in place to spread it virally (see – no affiliate link here!!)…but that did help me be motivated to spend the money on the developer’s version.

    No, what *really* ‘sold’ me (literally) on Thesis was that it *finally* has the web-based design features that make it incredibly flexible, and what’s more VERY useable.

    What I mean by this, is the sheer simplicity with which changes can be made to the design without hacking PHP code.

    I’ve done a fair amount of php coding in the last few years for a telescope project that I run at my school (do a Wikipedia search on: Project Galileo if you’re interested…or a Google search for that matter).

    So why do I shy away from make customized changes to my Wordpress blog by rolling my sleeves up & getting down ‘n’ dirty with the PHP???

    The simple answer is: TIME.

    Thesis saves me bucket-loads of time because of the way it separates the design layer from the features layer.

    OK, so Wordpress, it could be argued does the very same thing..so why *pay* for a theme, when you can mod it for free?

    Well, as I say…TIME…is the issue…I’ve got time to ‘waste’ by posting comments like this on other people’s blogs, instead of debugging php code that I’ve screwed up.

    So, that makes up the other 180 degrees.

    I’m with Thesis – a true Theme Framework.

    And I didn’t get paid to write this either (really!!).

    Cheers,

    Dez Futak.

    Reply
    1. Richard Vencu
      Richard Vencu Published |

      Cheers there.

      In my case I rejected Thesis because when I tried to use multiple custom templates I had to jump back into PHP coding and write IF statements for every custom template while checking the post ID – this means every time I need to post an article and use the custom template I need to revisit the PHP code and add yet another post ID into it. Rumors are that an updated Thesis for WP3 is about to arrive but I have no time to wait and risk to get stuck with proprietary solutions.

      Second issue I have are with themes with huge options in the backend. While as a newbie in Wordpress I appreciated those, I found out that the SQL side is badly hurt by immense option blobs at every page load. I even got my sharing account suspended once because of slow SQL queries and I started to appreciate Justin’s preference for almost no options for a theme. I am not saying Thesis is lacking performance here, just trying to make a point.

      Reply
      1. Richard Vencu
        Richard Vencu Published |

        well, read “shared hosting account” instead of “sharing account”… no chance to edit the comments here?

  59. Paul Littlebury
    Paul Littlebury Published |

    You have a good philosophy! Been suckered for themes before – sometimes they are worth it, but largely the themes are either incomplete, have little help advice, incompatible or very invalid code! These people are essentially selling templates, not complete design solutions – they ALWAYS need extra work. When there are quality theme frameworks such as Hybrid around, premium themes especially seem a little pointless now.

    Reply
  60. CG
    CG Published |

    Brian Gardner and Jason Schuller also have what most other designers don’t have… excellent customer focussed support… they know the value in not losing a customer.

    Reply
  61. John in Waukesha
    John in Waukesha Published |

    For the 15 years I’ve been a consultant, there’s always been overpriced IT services whose results are mediocre at best. To name a few…

    – Lotus Notes Developers when collaboration tools were all the rage
    – Y2K remediation coders when the world was about to fall apart
    – HTML drag-and-drop designers who were considered “coders” back in the day

    I know plenty of people on a personal level who jumped on these bandwagons and fizzled out after a couple of years because their coding stunk and their hype stunk even worse. Those who overpromise and underdeliver are rooted out sooner or later.

    It’s been over a year since this post… do you feel differently about the state of the premium theme market? It sure doesn’t seem to be fizzling out.

    Reply
  62. Lynne
    Lynne Published |

    I came into the WordPress Community quite by chance…and have to admit it was a scary place to begin with. I came from a very non open source community, and still thrive there I should add. But WordPress has afforded me the opportunity to expand my business and I am grateful for it.

    That said…

    I have begun offering Child Themes for the Hybrid Framework…at a cost. So far I have received some great response on the themes…and added to the mix…some real criticism. One went so far as to tell me that I was not welcome in the community if I was going to charge for a simple child theme.

    I had avoided the open source community for a long time…long before wordpress I charged for service and development on a couple of other “Free” products…and I often was criticized for “Making Money”. Comments such as “How can you charge for this…the software is free?” My response has always been…and remains…”But my time is not free…”

    I am in business to make money…plain and simple…I offer service, selection and second to none support on all my products and services. Sorry, not going for selfless self promotion here…just stating a fact. My services and themes are not free…but my support is…I have never charged for a minute of support…ever. Even back in the day when long distance was not free…I called and supported my clients on my dime…

    Sorry I am rambling…I just get angry…not with you Justin…but with the others that take the time to email and tell me that I am some sort of carpetbagger making money off your back. grrr…going to stop being an angry designer now…lol.

    I love your theme Justin…without Hybrid, I would not be in business…I truly believe that. I made one mistake in the early days developing a site for a client and using a non child theme based “Premium” theme…I spent hours designing a new layout, and style sheet…then an upgrade to WordPress…and an upgrade to the “Premium” theme…and all my hard work was gone in a click of the mouse…thank god for backups…but it cost me and my client valuable time. I have never made that mistake again…Child Themes are the future of Wordpress…and I hope in a small way I can help move it forward with my Child themes…even if they are not free…

    Reply
  63. Apex
    Apex Published |

    You don’t need to pay for a premium theme. A very professional and customizable theme is Atahualpa by BytesForAll. It’s by far the most user friendly and customizable theme I’ve encountered in WordPress. You don’t need to know css or php to create a very customized theme from it, he’s made a solid interface to make it easy.

    Reply
  64. Installing a magazine style theme on my Wordpress blog | The Imagined Universe
  65. Party crasher
    Party crasher Published |

    Comment deleted for wasting Justin’s time, energy, and database space.

    Reply
  66. Settling isn’t living… | Dave Thackeray
  67. Atahualpa Theme – Pixel Perfection, No Inca Required | Website In A Weekend
  68. Tsalagi
    Tsalagi Published |

    I read this post a few months ago when I first started getting into WordPress. I have to admit that I was rather confused by the anger projected in the post’s title.

    I was also taken aback by the thought of working long hours, diligently learning the inner workings of WordPress. Applying myself deliberately to learn a new skill “To Make Money”. Thoughtfully planning what I want in a theme and and bringing what creative skills and talent I have to style a theme of my own making. Only to have someone make an angry statement “Screw the premium theme market”. Wow. How do you make money Justin?
    I’m approaching the point to where I am going to start marketing myself as a WordPress theme developer and designer. As I said. I have spent long hours of frustration to learn not only WorldPress but a good deal of PHP(which is also open source). The thought of me producing my own themes and selling my services to add more customization or tailor that theme to a clients needs for free is ludicrous! The suggestion that I develop a theme for fun and then “give it away” after spending so many hours on it is outrageous! I’ll not take part in such economic idiocy. If that brings me scorn from a small amount of the community, then so be it.

    I’ll be happy to provide a link to WordPress where others can obtain the source code but as far as my manipulation of that source code and my application of styles and functionality. They will be for sale.

    Reply
  69. Me and My Wordpress
    Me and My Wordpress Published |

    I agree with your opinion, I Love Wordpress Comunity so

    Reply
  70. Dan Shafer
    Dan Shafer Published |

    Justin, I am using your Get the Image plugin at the suggestion of a premium theme provider (Solostream) in what appears to be one-way symbiosis. Frankly, I spent about 12 hours looking for a really classy magazine theme that I could configure extensively without having to edit PHP and CSS (though I know both of those tools well). I wanted to focus on the site and the business, not on the technology. I’ve been very glad I spent the money on the theme.

    Meanwhile, has Project M that you mentioned two years ago in this thread gotten off the ground? What is it? WHERE is it? I’d just like to see how you managed to come up with a way that made money without being inconsistent with your strong anti-premium-theme stance.

    Reply
  71. Jan
    Jan Published |

    I am a newbie wordpress user and have had the devils own job at finding just the theme that suited me. Every one (free or paid) had something in it that didn’t suit me. Then I found the Socrates theme and it allowed me to do everything that I wanted my theme to do.

    I make all my static sites using XSitePro and having to use WP after the ease of that was daunting. I’ve been reading so much about how everyone thinks WP is such an easy programme to use but after the simplicity of XSP2 it’s been a struggle.

    I believe that if a WP theme offers numerous choices and there has been considerably more work put into the making and support of it, then to charge a fair price is reasonable. To ask someone to pay $300 is daylight-robbery.

    Another thing I like about Socrates is the support service. I can’t fault it. The forum is helpful and supportive and the support services of Socrates themselves is fast, efficient and absolutely first-class.

    Reply
  72. Robin
    Robin Published |

    I have used a lot of premium themes, but no more. So often the support has been appalling. I am now paying for a designer/dev for every project I do as it actually works out cost effective compared to paying for a premium theme and then going through the process of trying to communicate with the designer to try and fix bugs etc. I have not looked at your themes before but will do now. Thanks for this.

    Reply
  73. Jamie
    Jamie Published |

    i agree with Justin in regards to the so called “premium” themes, they are a big rip-off, some of them are pretty average in design and not well coded. i came across one the other day on css mania, think it was called the fullscreen theme or something, it is nothing more than some free jquery plugins thrown together with wp and not even done well, and he is asking like $35 for it and $70 for the right to use on multiple sites, where do these people get off selling a theme which is made of up code that is free to all?

    themeforest is great, a lot of people on there spend months and months designing/developing themes for there marketplace, and they deserve to make good money from it, there is some amazing work on there, but on the other hand there a lot of themes on there too which have been thrown together and not designed well, i find better quality themes on the repository.

    if your a wp designer/developer and are doing themes for clients, this is a totally different story, as your proving a business service, each of your projects will be custom made and therefor you charge accordingly for your time. (this is what i do for a business too)

    i want to do some themes for the market place, and i was going to sell them on themeforest, but i have another idea, why not give them away for free! imagine the traffic this would bring to ones site, it would be inevitable that some people would ask for an extra customization service, or ever there own custom built themes, that’s good business…just a thought anyway

    Reply
  74. paul
    paul Published |

    So two years later and the premium theme market seems to be going strong. Did you watch Brian Gardner’s interview on Mixergy.com?
    The profits are mind-boggling. I always develop child themes for client work, either using Hybrid or Genesis from StudioPress because it cuts development time and saves me and the client money.

    Reply
  75. Andre Kalis
    Andre Kalis Published |

    From a customer, non-tech perspective, many, if not most of us who take their blog seriously and especially perhaps when it’s part of a business enterprise, have the perception that a paid-for theme is necessary and required since it would add value to their visitors’ experience of their site, enhanced status, professionalism, uniqueness etc.

    I also fall into this category and although their might be no real justification for this perception, I can’t shake it off and am sticking to my ‘premium’ theme despite the hassles I have with it. To me and to most people, I think, reverting to a free theme would be tantamount to downgrading your site, image, business prestige and more. Devoid of truth as it may be, this is human nature and the reason why we all buy many stuff we don’t need. Mainly we purchase for emotional reasons and nothing will change that.

    Reply
  76. Richard Vencu
    Richard Vencu Published |

    Hi there,

    I think there are 3 main types of buyers for „premium” themes. First are the ones completely non-technical that are unable to find other solution than buying such a theme to get a complete package. Those are more vulnerable since buying a premium theme can be disastruous to the point to abandon it and look for another one or living with stupid limitations after discovering them.

    Second type is technically aware ones that know how to code but lack the artistic brain (such as myself). We are usually paying for a nice css and prebuilt custom templates. With little effort I made several times the exercise to put the nice css over Hybrid theme with good results for both aspect and performance.

    Third type knows how to use css, they do not need premium themes since they can just take a free framework and play around it. Those and others that can build their own themes in all aspects but are lacking the time to do so can also buy premium themes from time to time.

    I think the market is saturated, but this will not end the selling of those themes simply because the above people will continue buying. However as a theme developer, yes, screw this market, I would not try to monetize from it. My business model now is to buy a premium theme, change it to fit my purposes and sell my services to the end user. I think this approach is beneficial for the end user since for a $35 expense I cut may hours of labor that would be more expensive and the result can be delivered much faster. From my own point of view it is beneficial because the end-user gets a larger design base to choose from and I can work more websites every month, thus utilizing my own abilites more efficiently.

    Reply
  77. Installing a magazine style theme on my WordPress blog | The Imagined Universe
  78. Free vs Paid Digital Goods | David Morgan

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