Vote here: Theme Madness Round 5

93 Comments

We’re very close to the finals now. Today the voting for Round Five begins, with the Final Four teams: Elegant Themes, ThemeForest, StudioPress, and ThemeFuse. After this round we’ll have the final two teams. Who do you think it will end up being?

For the next 48 hours we will hold the voting for these two games:

All of the polls and instructions can be found just after the jump, so be sure to click through to have your voice heard. Voting will take place for the next 48 hours, and close at noon on the 11th (Eastern Standard Time).

Remember you can view the quickly-filling-out Theme Madness Bracket here.

If you need a reminder, the rules can be found here. Good luck to everyone playing!

Elegant Themes vs. ThemeForest

Remember, along with this poll you can also vote two other ways:

  • The away game: Tweet your vote using the #wpmadness hashtag and mention either @ElegantThemes or @EnvatoWebDesign.
  • The home game: If either Elegant Themes or ThemeForest start up a post on their blog, your comment there will count as a vote as well.

StudioPress vs. ThemeFuse

Remember, along with this poll you can also vote two other ways:

  • The away game: Tweet your vote using the #wpmadness hashtag and mention either @StudioPress or @ThemeFuse.
  • The home game: If either StudioPress or ThemeFuse start up a post on their blog, your comment there will count as a vote as well.

93 thoughts on “Vote here: Theme Madness Round 5

  1. Pingback: Help Us Make it to the Finals at Theme Madness

  2. Pingback: WP Madness Competition – Help Us Win!- Elegant Themes Blog

  3. I voted for StudioPress straight away, in my book they deserve to win this whole thing because, in Genesis, they have created a top-notch platform that other companies are free to build and sell child themes for, allowing them to focus on design while all the under the hood details are handled by the framework.

    Such a third-party eco-system of Genesis child themes has not yet emerged but I am certain it will, such a “middle-layer” is an obvious evolution for WordPress. The magic ingredient that will allow Genesis to become that platform is that it is not tied to a subscription so, a third-party designer knows that his customers will always have access to the latest version of Genesis – he won’t have to handle the problem of different customers using different versions because their Genesis subscriptions ran out at different times. Only a “pay once” framework can provide the certainty that will allow it to become a platform, subscription-based frameworks simply aren’t going to have a shot at that massive future.

    With somewhat more hesitation, I also voted ElegantThemes – beautiful designs but deeply, deeply dishonest pricing: they coyly neglect to mention that their “Unlimited Access” is, in fact, time-limited access, after one year your PayPal account will be charged another $39 unless you remember to cancel it in time. No mention on the home page – the main selling page – of “one year” or any hint that it is a subscription. The framework/subscription thing doesn’t apply here, these are just themes and I’m not saying that selling them as a subscription is bad, just that it is wrong not to make it clear right from the start.

    Far worse, you would imagine that “unlimited” means you can use them to create as many sites as you want but, no, to create sites for clients you need to pay an additional $89 for a developers license – again, no mention of this on the front page and you can click right through to the $39 payment without any mention of it whatsoever. This is, hands down, the most dishonest pricing presentation of any WordPress theme company and clearly a deliberate ploy to slip in the $39 hook first.

    But, yeah, they are beautiful themes and that got my vote, it’s just a damn shame that they feel they can’t be more straightforward with their customers – I mean, the pricing is reasonable, there’s no need to trick anyone, I am mystified that a designer can have such a fine eye for detail and yet be completely blind to how wrong that seedy “bait and switch” crap is.

    • It says “per year” on the join page, on the subsequent checkout page, on the PayPal payment page as well as in our terms (in fact it’s the only part of the terms in bold text). Also mentioned in the gallery and in the FAQ. We also send an email 1 week before renewal dates to remind customers. I am not sure how much clearer I could make it, but I am sorry for the confusion.

      • It could be clearer by mentioning it on the main page on which you make your pitch, the main page that your potential customer spend time on while considering a purchase: your home page.

        Interesting that you bothered to address the per year criticism but did not take the opportunity to address the more disconcerting $89 surprise.

        I am not trying to attack you – I did, after all, vote for you on the basis of the superb quality of your designs – but this pricing thing lets you down, it seems out of place. I am aware of it because I have come others who were disappointed by it.

      • The whole process is really clear. There’s just no way to miss the fact that ET is selling a one-year subscription — and even if you do miss it, the email notification a whole week before the charge goes above and beyond in a provider giving you time to cancel. Great service from those guys.

        • “No way to miss the fact” is rather an overstatement given that most people will give their attention to the home page where it is not mentioned but, okay, let’s accept that the rule of “buyer beware” applies, the time-limit is mentioned on subsequent pages and that it is the buyer’s responsibility to notice that.

          What I find interesting is that, so far, defenders have chosen to address the less serious of the two issues I brought up, completely ignoring the fact that the real unlimited unlimited price is $128 and that, unlike the time-limit, it is entirely possible to make the purchase without any indication being given that “unlimited” $39 price is not the entire price you will have to pay for unlimited usage. I would absolutely love to hear someone explain to me how that isn’t illegal.

          • It says “unlimited access,” not “unlimited use.” Unlimited access means that you get access to our entire collection of themes for $39 (which is different than most template providers, who often sell themes individually). This is what makes our service a bit different, and that is why I have displayed “unlimited access..” prominently on the homepage. Theme usage is clearly outlined in our TOS and FAQ. I think this is just confusion over terminology and I apologize. I have honestly not had many complains about this and I am sorry that my copy offended you. I feel like “unlimited access” describes well what we offer – sign up and you get unrestricted, downloadable access to our entire collection.

        • I had no problem understanding what I was buying.
          It was all made perfectly clear.

          ET are fantastic value for money and I bought it before the cost iuncreased – not often I’m that lucky.

          • If you bought before the new pricing was introduced, then how, exactly, could the lack of clarity in the new pricing have any bearing whatsoever upon your purchase?

            Congrats, though, to ET on getting through to the final.

      • @Nick

        This is a reply to your reply to me, further down, but the commenting system doesn’t allow replies to go that deep, so, I’ll reply here – as if this thread hadn’t already become confusing enough!

        Okay, so, at this point, I’m sorry I brought it up but my points were valid and the only reason I was aware of the issue is that other people, your customers, felt burned by this and have brought it up during more general discussions about the theme market … I am surprised that no-one has bothered to express their dissatisfaction to you directly but, well, I guess if they haven’t, you can’t be expected to fix it …

        …. but …

        … the line you draw between “unlimited access” and “unlimited use” is pretty precarious – you’re selling a downloadable product, being able to download the themes should be an expectation, not a feature. A more precise way to describe the fact that you are offering all of your themes for one price would be the word “ALL” – the word “unlimited”, in the context of commercial themes, is widely understood to mean “no limitations”. Subtlety qualifying it with the word “access” does not have a practical impact on that perception for the vast majority of people.

        If you genuinely believe that everyone visiting your home page will immediately spot the “unlimited access” distinction and you genuinely believe that they are not being lured into making a purchase under a false pretext, what would you have to lose by mentioning, right there on the home page, that the $89 developer supplement exists? Every other theme vendor with developer pricing mentions it prominently alongside their regular pricing, that is a standard, well-established practice

        It seems obvious that the only reason to not mention that there is a substantial additional cost for web designers with clients (surely the majority of your customers) is that you believe that doing so will affect your sales, which suggests that you know that certain portion of your customers are making their purchase on the misunderstanding that, for $39, they are buying the right to unlimited usage – as a talented designer with a successful, highly-lauded product, why do you feel the need to inhabit that grey area? Surely you can afford to err on the side of absolute clarity.

        As I’ve already said, though, your themes are beautiful, I am glad that you are applying your considerable talents to WordPress, best of luck in the final.

        • I guess we will have to agree to disagree, though I will consider changing the wording in the future if other people are indeed confused by it. I don’t think I am being precarious. The word “access” and “use” are completely different in my mind, and obviously so. Having access to something doesn’t imply your ability to redistribute it. It speaks your ability to access it (download it, in this case). “Unlimited access to our collection” is exactly what I provide. Your access to our collection is no limited – you get every theme we have made, every theme update and all new themes created during your membership.

      • yeah, well spotted :)

        ThemeForest certainly have a lot of good-looking themes, and that one was ideal for what I wanted to achieve in a one-page sales pitch, but, because of their marketplace model, the general quality of support and updates is too patchy, too unpredictable.

        No matter how good an individual ThemeForest theme looks, you should always read the accompanying discussion thread to check if existing customers are having problems and if the designer is bothering to respond.

    • Elegant Themes Hands down!

      @ donnacha of WordSkill, Not sure how you can read all of this into ElegantThemes’s pricing scenario but you are way off. You’re whole post does comes across as attacking. Why, one has to wonder but I does clearly state; “The css/image files in each theme are provided to each subscriber for personal use only, as outlined in the section above. However, an option to upgrade to a “Developers License” is available to all members at an additional fee of $89.”

      • @Serge

        Yeah, those words appear on the Terms and Conditions page, after over 500 words of legalese small print, probably less than 1% of customers even visit that page. Slightly more people might visit the FAQ page, where it is mentioned in the final section, #17, right at the bottom of the page, more than 750 words down, but only a few percent of customers will have been that diligent. My whole point is that customers shouldn’t have to be that diligent in order to be aware of such an important limitation to their “unlimited” purchase.

        So, I am not saying that the the designs aren’t lovely, I am not suggesting that the support isn’t superb and I am certainly not saying the pricing is too high (either the $39 “unlimited” price or the actual $128 unlimited “unlimited” price). What I am saying is that not mentioning this major limitation – not even once – on the most important page, the home page (but which does feature the word “unlimited”) is deceptive and, frankly, dishonest.

        More importantly, the fact that it is also possible to click all the way through into the actual purchase, without once coming across ANY mention of that limitation infringes the consumer law of most jurisdictions.

        I accept that many ElegantThemes customers posting here are delighted with their purchase but that simply doesn’t excuse sharp practice.

        I do, however, accept your criticism, Serge, that my post comes off as attacking Elegant Themes, that was not my objective and I apologize if my frustration with these shady techniques has upset anyone. It is just that I would like to see this young industry resist the temptation to pull this sort of crap and to, instead, adopt a more confident, mature and honest approach. Elegant Themes is clearly a leader in aesthetic standards, they should step up and be a leader in ethical standards too.

    • @donnacha of WordSkill–I didn’t hesitate to vote for StudioPress either. They have the best layout options, which are very easy to use, and they actually reply on their support forums. I HAD a membership with Elegant Themes and when I sought assistance in their forums for help with some bugs in one of their themes, it was like pulling teeth (I got NO assistance), so I cancelled that membership. StudioPress is great. My second choice was ThemeForest. I couldn’t vote for Elegant Themes simply because my experience with their buggy themes and non-existent support is something I will never forget. I hope StudioPress wins it; they deserve it in my opinion.

      • @Penina, Here again why are some so stuck on trying to discredit or put down such great products and amazing support services at ElegantThemes’s! One’s got to wonder why such distortions from reality.

        • @Serge

          No-one is trying to discredit anyone – I actually voted for Elegant Themes but felt it was necessary to point out a caveat, a major pitfall in how they market their product – I actually believe that I’m doing them a favor, that this is something they need to address.

          In Penina’s case, she shared her experience as a paying customer who received poor support – this may have been an anomaly but, nevertheless, it was her experience and she is just as entitled to share it with us as the people who had good experiences.

          Boiling it down, what you are saying is that only people who have the right to participate in this discussion are the cheerleaders. According to the Book of Serge, anyone who isn’t here to shake their pom poms is guilty of distorting reality. I truly hate this aspect of the WordPress community – the peer pressure to pretend that every service provider is doing a 100% wonderful job and anyone who dares to mention problems is some sort of twisted “hater”.

          I don’t know about your reality, but anyone who has been around the WordPress scene for a while knows that there are tons of problems and plenty of lousy vendors, it simply isn’t worth mentioning it in public because there’s no percentage in it, you just end up getting attacked by people with vested interests or who are trying to curry favor. People, such as Penina, who interrupt the mutual back-slapping and draw attention to problems should be thanked, not piled up on.

          • Hi Donnacha
            This ET thing could go on forever but I thought you were very gracious in your comment…

            “Congrats, though, to ET on getting through to the final.”

            Let’s agree to disagree and who knows, we may both be right.

          • @Keith Davis

            Ha, thanks Keith, I actually felt bad that the whole discussion seemed to develop a life of its own, I originally only meant it to be a minor caveat to my vote for them, not an all-out war :)

        • @Serge–My post was a true account of my personal experience at Elegant Themes, based on the quality of the themes I was using at the time and the support I did not receive when I attempted to resolve the problem with the themes. This was fairly recent: about a month and a half ago. When I called out the theme-designer on Twitter in an attempt to get him to answer my request for support, he wrote back on the forums that one, it was the weekend, and two, he was celebrating a birthday and to give him a break about it. THAT was the support assistance I got. And yes, it’s based on REALITY…unfortunately. At any rate: go StudioPress! I hope they win. Oh! On a postive note: Nick Roach did refund me my membership payment at my request.

          • Yes and I had the same experience with StudioPress! As if!

            The only time I have seen someone bail out was when they did not get an answer ’cause they were asking for something custom and thus outside Elegant Theme’s service contact and felt entitled regardless.

            Anyhow, on a positive note: Nick Roach did refund your membership payment at your request.

          • No problem
            You strike me as a decent guy and as you said…

            “the whole discussion seemed to develop a life of its own”

            That’s the internet for you.

            All finished now.

            Keith

          • I have to agree with Penina here. ET are very beautiful themes but the support is lacking. I’ve seen plenty of support forum posts go unanswered and documentation is sketchy from theme to theme.

            That said I also feel StudioPress themes whilst having very good support and being technically very good have become a bit “Samey” I’ve also found that that they’ve become a bit too technical and suited more towards designers and theme editors than your local business who want an off the shelf theme.

  4. Elegant Themes has this competition hands down. There is no comparison. Elegant themes offers a truly unique product, service and support.

  5. This competition is going tough.

    Elegant Themes – has great designs for a low price
    StudioPress – has powerful theme framework and a bunch of beautiful themes
    ThemeForest – although some crap themes are in the marketplace there are some really amazing themes available for a low price

    Those 3 are my favorites, confused on whom to vote for!

    Anyway good luck to all.

  6. I guess ElegantThemes and StudioPress will make it to the final.
    My personal favorite is StudioPress because I use it and I’m very happy with it.

  7. Definitely voted for Elegant Themes, I never had a single problem with payment, support or anything else, pricing is more than accessible, in fact, they are way too low for the quality of the design, structure and code. And I’m a member of ET for almost three years. I’ve used their themes for 5-6 websites of my clients, they were satisfied and so was I. Good job lads, stay in the course.

  8. I love StudioPress. Their Genesis platform has brought stability and flexibility to all my design projects and their knowledgeable moderators and other forum members are outstanding. I am happy to see that they are expanding the variety of their Child Themes even more.

  9. Go get em’ Studiopress!
    All great themes- but my heart belongs to Studiopress. What can I say?
    Great contest though- in the initial rounds I spent oodles of time looking at all the themes I hadn’t heard of or hadn’t seen in a while. Nice!

  10. Pingback: StudioPress Themes Are Awesome | Premium Web Development LLC

  11. The WordPress theme marketplace is amazing; talented developers worldwide have created a rich profusion of beautiful, functional designs. Themefuse is impressive, but the StudioPress ‘platform’ definitely deserves to win this round of the 2011 Theme Madness.

  12. Who in their right mind would vote for ThemeForest? If you do, then your vote is not going towards “real people”, it’s going towards Envato, that corporate machine hell bent onmonopolising the WordPress theme market. The only thing Envato cares about is filling its coffers. It gives so very little back to the WordPress community and takes so very much. I really hope ElegantThemes crushes it in this round and then goes head to head with StudioPress.

    • I can’t agree more, i think Envato is trying to take over the world. Will you call James Bond or should I?

      The only thing Envato cares about is filling its coffers. It gives so very little back to the WordPress community and takes so very much.

      Envato has given to the webdev/webdesign community more then anyone ever will.

  13. Pingback: My Issue with Studio Press | Madison Republic

  14. Mi voto es por elegantthemes, sencillamente bellos y elegantes. El soporte es de lo mejor y la cuota de $89 es irrisoria par un desarrollador. La información es totalmente clara desde la primer pagina.

    Y en cuanto al debate iniciado por Donnacha de WordSkill me parecen absurdas las observaciones, sin base y sin real conocimiento de causa, la verdad creo Donnacha de WordSkill no lee la información antes de comprar.

  15. My votes go to ThemeForest (EnvatoWebDesign) and StudioPress! Two of the best, hands down. I use StudioPress AND ThemeForest themes on my WordPress-powered sites and love the themes and the support I get from the theme designers. Hope you guys win this round. I just hope StudioPress and ThemeForest won’t have to go up against each other at some point, cuz those will be tough ones to have to choose between…

    • To my knowledge, StudioPress support mods and authors have never belittled or mocked customers who are new to WordPress and themes. You can’t say the same for ThemeForest.

  16. I wholly support StudioPress. Their support is excellent which reflects the high quality of their products.

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