Lance Willett brought some big news to the WordPress.com community this morning: premium themes are now available to dot com users. WooThemes and The Theme Foundry are first to the table with one theme each, but the announcement post promises a number of additional paid themes coming later this year.
WooThemes’ Headlines theme and Theme Foundry’s Shelf are the first to join the running as paid themes on WordPress.com, at $45 and $68, respectively. Each theme will now be supported by the theme shops themselves, using a forum at WordPress.com accessible only to those who purchase the theme.
Mark Forrester described their excitement at WooThemes:
We were contacted by the theme wranglers at Automattic and asked if we would like to offer one of the first two premium themes on WordPress.com. Naturally we said yes and decided Headlines would be a good theme to trial, given it’s magazine layout, neat slider, and slick color schemes.
And Theme Foundry’s Drew Strojny is excited as well. “Needless to say, we are honored and humbled to be chosen to help launch this service,” Strojny said. The Theme Team at Automattic helped bring the paid themes into the system, with each only taking about a week. Both themes feature their own brand’s theme options pages, and appear to be, for the most part, unchanged from their dot org counterparts.
A theme marketplace at WordPress.com is not a new idea. The discussion started at least as early as 2007 with a proposition by Matt Mullenweg on his blog. Now, a few years later, we see it begin to take shape on WordPress.com. Theme Wrangler Lance Willett tells us that, eventually, they would like to have an equal number of free and paid themes on WordPress.com.
The revenue split on sold themes will be 50/50 between the developers and WordPress.com, same as what was planned back in 2007.
So is it safe to say everyone will be clamoring to get access to the WordPress.com community? The real question is why wouldn’t a theme developer want their work showcased on WordPress.com? And for all of those lovers of predictions out there: which theme shop will be next?