Envato removes price adjustment tool from their Elite program


This morning Collis Ta’eed announced on the Envato Notes blog that their price adjustment tool, previously available to Envato Elite authors on their marketplaces that reached $75,000 in sales, is no longer available. Normally prices on the Envato marketplaces are set by Envato during the product review process, and not by the author of the product. The price adjustment tool, announced last year, allowed certain authors to test out different prices for their products beyond what the marketplace would set for them.

The change, Ta’eed said, comes to prepare for the next major change to Envato’s pricing strategy. The introduction of variable pricing for certain elite authors was Envato’s first step toward dynamic pricing. “While it has had some success,” he said, “it’s become clear to us that it’s not the long-term solution.” The updated pricing solution — while what it is isn’t exactly clear yet — is slated for release “later this year”.

With the pricing tool removed, any marketplace products with modified prices will be left at the last price their author left them at. This affects 160 current authors who have already reached the $75,000 Elite level.

As a replacement for the price adjustment ability, which was the main draw at the $75,000 Envato Elite level, authors will be given an Elite badge on their products and the ability to give themselves a custom forum title. Each author will also 12 months of Envato’s Tuts+ Premium membership.

Ta’eed recognized in his post that this news could disappoint authors. He said:

In the meantime I wanted to give a personal apology for the inconvenience of not having access to the price adjustment tool. I know many existing and new Elite authors were warming up to the tool and increasingly using it. And I realize that in those cases, our new additions will likely not make up for the removal.

Responses to the announcement in the ThemeForest forum are mixed, though some are disappointed at the change and, sometimes, lack of communication. Orman Clark, who has quite a sales record on ThemeForest, responded in disappointment at the news:

As someone that operates their entire business through ThemeForest, and has managed to grow a small team around it, substituting one for the other is not going to wash. And while everyone can always learn something new, 12 months access to Tuts+ is hardly a worthy replacement or incentive based on the assumption that Elite authors have already got some skills to pay the bills.

Ta’eed did join the discussion in that forum thread, answering questions and responding to suggestions. It’s an interesting discussion if you’re interested in some of the dynamics and thought process behind the largest WordPress theme marketplace in the world.

8 thoughts on “Envato removes price adjustment tool from their Elite program

    • I’m surprised the ThemeForest power sellers like Orman and Kriesi don’t open their own shops.

      ThemeForest is great for the initial exposure, providing you can come up with something unique (a task in itself within such a saturated marketplace). But when you’re at the top of your game, I’d have thought it’d make sense to carry that momentum into opening your own store. It’s not even a difficult thing to do these days with WP plugins like WooCommerce (shameless plug).

      And when your business can potentially be jeopardised in one move such as this… well, alarm bells should be ringing imo!

        • I think it is.

          One of the issues is the themes being so cheap, and the exposure so relatively meagre. Developers are forced to mimic the most popular designs and cram as many features in to their products as possible in an effort to stand out. Then hope their 24 hours of fame on the homepage jump-starts a decent ROI. When you think about it, it’s not too different to Spec Work.

          At least the price adjustment tool allowed them to maximise the revenues on their most popular work and set themselves apart of the pack.

          It’s all great for Envato of course, and fair play to them, they’ve created the Wal-Mart of WordPress themes. But TF is nearing a critical mass as the number of authors grows. Customers will surely become disinterested in the bloaty, cookie-cutter themes and developers are going to lose interest in competing in such a saturated market.

          I’d consider making all sales figures private to stimulate creativity. We all know the earning potential. I’d probably give authors more freedom with the price of their products too. Of course it’s all guess work, but if their top authors are complaining, they should take action.

          It will certainly be interesting to see what Envato do have in store!

      • It amazes me as well.. We’ll be opening our Theme Shop powered by WooCommerce next week… it does everything we need, and we can control our own pricing and theme updates.. Not to mention the ease of use for our customers in terms of payments options and support access.. We MIGHT consider trying to get one theme on ThemeForest to get people to notice us, but long term it’s just too risky to depend on other people’s decisions.. This Elite system sounded very promising, because it could have bumped up the prices a little for quality themes. Sad to see it halted so soon, because the current prices on ThemeForest are just crazy. $40 for a WP theme COULD be worth the months of development time and support, but take away 50% of that price that goes to Envato and you’re drastically underselling your own themes and harming the WP Theming industry in general.

  1. I have always thought that 50% as a starting commission was way too low… and to think that it used to be only 35% to start. It should be 70% across the board. I am not convinced that it takes them any more effort to resell a newbie’s theme as an elite’s. What would be the motivation for sellers you ask if their commissions don’t rise? More money from more sales, just like anything else.

    To echo what others have said, I am shocked that Orman and other elites have not started their own shop as McAlister has already. Of course the problems would be exposure and market fragmentation… I mean, I am never going to shop from twenty different sites.

    Mojo should really see this as an opportunity to step up. If they would offer something truly better and not just a slightly less good knock off, it would be a good time to take on themeforest. What is needed: price control, better commission, much better support tools, analytics, better rating system.

  2. Envato is a good starting point, even they start with 50% share. Think this as affiliate commission. You can always leave the marketplace, like many did before.
    Another elite author (Orman Clark) also is preparing to leave it. He already own ThemeZilla.com, hired and still hiring designers and developers and also giving signs for new changes by his twitter account: https://twitter.com/#!/ormanclark/status/166571293314007040
    So, use Envato to make a name, then leave and build your theme shop

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