Derek Punsalan, the creator of the popular Grid Focus theme, has released a new WordPress theme called Bespoke. Bespoke marks Punsalan’s return to the WordPressc community, after an extended absence that he credits to “professional challenges”. Punsalan has chosen to charge for Bespoke, in contrast to his previously free WordPress theme releases. The theme can be purchased from Theme Garden for $45. He cited support costs as the primary reason behind his move from free to commercial (emphasis his):
One of the greatest challenges of releasing non-commercial or premium themes to the general public is the personal cost of support. Over the past few years, I have done my best and I apologize to anyone who had emailed in and received delayed responses or no response at all. Finding the time and energy necessary to support free themes was a significant challenge.
Punsalan hasn’t forgotten about those users who want only free themes, but in this case he has taken the risk of negative blowback. He says as much in his post:
I understand that I will lose some supporters, but the decision to release Bespoke and the next few releases is one that is necessary. My hope is that some of my previous supporters will find the value of releases worth the asking price.
Are you willing to pay for a theme that you’re planning to use for a website? How else should theme developers attempt to recoup the time lost supporting free themes? Chat it up in the comments.
Oh yeah, and hey Derek: guest blogging at a popular WordPress community site is one solid way of stepping back into the WordPress community. Hint hint.