Matt from Automattic the creator of WordPress blogging platform made an announcement at the WordCamp Argentina that WordPress will soon have a Themes marketplace to sell premium WordPress themes, how sweet.
Let’s backtrack a couple of month’s ago and see what Matt says about sponsored themes, quote from BlogHerald
All of this is after Matt Mullenweg used the defense, during the whole Sponsored themes fiasco, that it would be unfair for theme creators to make money from their work when plugin authors don’t get to.
You can read more about the thoughts from David Peralty. He has a wonderful post deciphering everything about this announcement. That post made me write this one as I was equally annoyed as he was but their commenting system broke so I thought to express my thoughts here.
Let’s get back to straight talk, after this announcement what do we take out of it. You ban sponsored themes because they make money, now you make money out of selling themes, that too 50% of them?
Well this can’t be blamed on anyone, money is a driving factor towards success and I envy and idolize Matt in providing such a wonderful platform that millions of users use to write their thoughts.
But this above turn should have some economics behind them and will benefit the Theme developers, we plugin developers can go to hell.
What’s the Catch?
Well assuming you have a theme for sale and sell about 10 themes a year at $60, now with the marketplace which is bound to be very popular and will have a huge user base of millions of users you sell at the most 100 of your themes a year.
Lets calculate 60 * 10 = 600 and 60 * 100 = 6000. Now Automattic gets 50% out of the $6000 so you are left with $3000 which is 400% increase from your current income. Wouldn’t theme developers be happy with 400% more income or bother with giving $3000 to Automattic?
This is a great business plan and is bound to succed.
How is this bad for you?
Almost 90% of the blogs use free WordPress themes, with these announcement you can seriously say good bye to quality free themes. There were days when users would create free themes to get more users to their websites. Don’t you think that money will weigh in more heavier now, after all more traffic equals to more money. So if you can money without traffic what will you opt for?
What about us plugin developers?
There will be no market place for plugin developers as we just add value to the WordPress platform not looks, people go by looks not what goes being running a website. I had planned to sell one of my plugins but will now offer it as open source. There is always a drawing factor as to how you look at things. I do get donations for my work from people who think I helped them in a worthwhile cause but that is not a driving factor in me creating plugins.
I appreciate when people talk about what I created because I wanted to help in my own way, every comment and post that has been made about the plugins I created are appreciation that something I did helped them solve a problem.
I have just used WordPress for last 7 months of my blogging after I switched from Joomla and with some of the plugins I created people have blogged saying that I was a genius, a WordPress Expert terming my plugins as the Best Plugin of the year, best plugin for WordPress. This has given me the utmost satisfaction and also the courage to say that I can do more such things without charging a penny.
Do you think an open source platform should sell addons that they have not created? Do let me know.