Obox Themes turns two, gives gift of theme to everyone else

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Obox Themes celebrated its second birthday yesterday, and did so with a blog post. Obox itself began back in 2005 when the two brothers were primarily doing ColdFusion development. Then, two years ago, they launched Obox Themes as a WordPress theme shop. In the time since launch they have grown their team from two (the Perel brothers) to four.

To celebrate their second year they have released a new free theme called Casual. The interesting thing about this free theme is that it can be upgraded to a paid theme from within the theme itself, which is the first I’ve seen of its kind. (If there are others doing this, please correct me in the comments.)

When upgraded for $50 the files will download and be enabled to allow the Obox typography manager, advertising manager, SEO options, automatic updates, and the portfolio page template.

The team at Obox isn’t making any promises about future “freemium” releases. David Perel said “Casual will be an acid test to see how successful a freemium approach can be.”

Is the future of paid WordPress themes free themes which can later be updated for support and additional features?

One thought on “Obox Themes turns two, gives gift of theme to everyone else

  1. Is the future of paid WordPress themes free themes which can later be updated for support and additional features?

    First of all, I’m a huge fan of free. “Freemium,” though, is a bit of a stretch for me. On the one hand you’re getting something for free. But on the other hand, you’re not really getting it. There’s a big difference between free-to-try and freemium software.

    With free-to-try systems, you get to try everything for a limited time. Then you either buy it or you don’t. With freemium systems (specifically the kind described above) you only get a subset of features for free … then you either buy the premium features you haven’t tried or stick with the scaled down version.

    So while I don’t particularly like this model (I’d prefer free-to-try to give a system a proper test drive), there’s not really another way to do it when you’re dealing with a product distributed as source code. Give someone a “free trial” and they still have the code. What’s to stop them from using it anyway or giving it away? Give someone a feature-limited version and get them hooked, then they have to pay for the full experience.

    Is this the future? I think it’s a likely possibility.

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