Jake Caputo experiments with ThemeThrift “pay what you want” model

3 Comments

Jake Caputo, who has been selling WordPress themes via ThemeForest for about 10 months, has decided to try out what he calls “an experiment” in his newly launched brand ThemeThrift. At ThemeThrift, right now, his latest theme Modest is available for whatever you want to pay for it. $20, $10, or even for nothing at all.

Caputo says the site itself is truly an experiment, and depending on how successful the downloads and sales go he’ll either stick with the model or try something new.

As for the countdown timer on the site says, the theme will be available for download for only the next seven days. Or, as Caputo put it when we chatted, “The countdown means I’m shooting the theme into space, never to be heard from again.”

ThemeThrift launched just after the latest Weekly Theme Show was recorded, so we won’t be chatting about it (or Modest) until next week’s show. Until then, though, what do you think of ThemeThrift and Caputo’s latest idea?

3 thoughts on “Jake Caputo experiments with ThemeThrift “pay what you want” model

  1. Being a repeat customer of Jakes, I feel this is a great way for future customers to sample Jakes work. Yeah people will download it and not give credit where it is due, but once they see how clean Jakes sites are code wise, they’ll realize the amount of work he has into his sites. Great idea jake! I hope it stays put!

  2. Sounds like a decent idea, kinda like a limited edition. Not sure about combining it with the ‘pay what you want’ model though. If the theme will only be around for a short while then most people might want to just grab it for free for the sake of having it. The limited edition idea sounds great though. If it’s a killer theme then I’d be tempted to raise the price to $100-150 and cap it at 100 downloads. Might give it a go on my own theme shop.

  3. Kudos for him to trying. If I was a betting man i’d bet on most users opting to pay nothing, with the second largest group opting to pay as little as possible. So ultimately it probably isn’t the best model if you intend on turning it into a serious business rather than an experiment or side project.

    Themes are big business and there are a lot of companies making serious money selling WordPress themes. If done right you can certainly grow it into producing great revenue. However, in order to do so you need to provide world class support in order to win off our customers and turn them into brand advocates and worth of mouth advertisers.

    When you charge too little for your product, it makes it difficult to juggle resources so that you aren’t swamped by the support burden. If you get swamped by the support onslaught than it will hinder your ability to provide a high level of support… and in turn hurt your business as a whole..

    Some people will argue that the cheaper you sell your product the more sales you will get. With WordPress Themes that is a dangerous game to play because of the support burden that they come with. It means you have more customers to support without the revenue to provide you with the flexibility to hire additional resources, etc. I’m not a fan pricing low to attract volume for that reason.

    There is obviously nothing wrong with doing something like this as an experiment or a side project… but if you want to grow it into a real business you should settle on a pricing model that makes sense, does not undervalue your work and ensures you have the flexibility to bring on additional resources in order to keep up with support and continue to move forward with development.

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