In case you didn’t know, the folks over at Automattic are planning to add a Theme Marketplace to WordPress.com. It’ll allow the users to buy licenses to premium WordPress themes, for use on their hosted blogs. Given that there is more than 1.7m WP.com blogs, that should be a great deal for designers, right?
Well, yes and no. There are a few kinks.
- You’ll split the asked price for a theme license with Automattic, as in 50% goes into their pocket.
- You’ll have to GPL your theme and offer it free outside of WP.com, as in every WordPress user with their own install can get it for free.
Basically, this means that if I make a premium theme and sell it on the WordPress.com Theme Marketplace for $50, Automattic will take $25 for every sale I make, and I won’t be able to sell it for use on self-hosted WordPress blogs since they just can download and install it themselves.
Does that sound fair to you?
Tony Hung points out that this should be a great way for upcoming designers to reach a big audience, and I agree – it sure is. But for people like me, who’s used to charge quite a bit more, it isn’t exactly a no-brainer, right?
If I do a premium theme to be sold on WordPress.com Theme Marketplace, that means I’m reaching possible customers that I usually don’t otherwise (since I’m not the kind of guy who likes to mod the Sandbox theme). That means I get my name out there, and I’ll be able to sell the one theme I do several times. Sure, I’ll have to release it to the masses of WordPress users outside of WordPress.com, but I have no problem with that – at the very least it’s great PR (both kinds) for me.
Also, I don’t think I’ve gone this far by doing crappy work. Naturally, any theme I might release on the WordPress.com Theme Marketplace will be good and worth its price. That goes without saying.
So while it’s a natural choice for up and coming new designers, it’s also a pretty solid go for the established ones.
A small heads-up though. How many of these 1.7m+ blogs are run by people willing to spend a buck? Matt, are there any numbers on how many who are using premium services, for instance? What can designers expect, really? I mean, 1% of 1.7m is just 17 000, and they all won’t care for a premium theme, and certainly not just yours. What numbers do you base this venture on, throwing around 1.7m sounds good, but the number isn’t very interesting by itself. Cards on the table, please.
A sidenote. If this is hypocrisy or not on Matt’s behalf, given the whole sponsored themes debacle, I don’t know. It sure makes you think though.
Designers, would you offer your premium WordPress themes on a WordPress.com Theme Marketplace under these circumstances? Why, or why not?
Originally posted on November 3, 2007 @ 6:12 am