WordPress.com introduces paid themes to their community

18 Comments

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?

18 thoughts on “WordPress.com introduces paid themes to their community

    • I’d be willing to bet only “parent” themes will make it on for some time. The framework would have to be in a library within the theme, like Hybrid Core or WP Framework. Otherwise, the user could be confused with the parent / child relationship. WP.com isn’t a good place to confuse users.

    • I don’t see any reason not to have frameworks or child themes, as long as they meet our coding standards and quality guidelines, which are largely the same as the one on the Codex:

      http://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Development

      With a few WP.com-specific additions, like we prefer all our themes to support RTL languages and we watch performance to make sure it’ll scale well and not slow down any servers.

  1. Ryan, I posted the below comment on the WordPress.com site and for whatever reason, it was not approved. In an effort to find out more information. And because I do feel you give the fairest and most balanced news on WordPress I am posting the same here.

    Lance (at WordPress.com)– Interesting direction taken by WordPress.com I am curious about a couple of things from the point of view of a “Premium” theme/framework developer.

    You mention Theme Support Forums. Who will be providing the support for the “Premium” themes/frameworks placed on WordPress.com?

    What is the TOS between WordPress.com/Automattic and the “Premium theme/framework developers?
    I have not been able to ascertain an answer to either of those questions.

    Grant Griffiths
    Co-founder of Headway Themes

  2. Great to see WordPress finally opening up to premium themes. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out and what the “requirements” will be for premium themes to be in their marketplace.

  3. Since it has been established that WordPress theme images and css do not have to be GPL I’m guessing the premium themes won’t have to have images and css GPL’d? Most of the time I believe images and css are the most valuable part of the theme because they give the entire “look” of the theme. So to stop the themes from being given away completely, simply legally restricting images and css from being redistributed would be ideal. That in no way goes against the GPL since the PHP code would still be GPL of course.

    • Now and in the foreseeable future we’re only choosing to work with folks who license their themes as 100% GPL, including the images and CSS, much like the listing requirements for the .org commercial themes directory.

      • Matt I certainly appreciate that position and support it since we are 100% GPL. However, I might point out there are currently themes in the community who claim to be 100% GPL who don’t include images as part of that.

        • If there are any in the directory that do that drop a note to wordpress.org themes address and we’ll get in touch with them. 100% is 100%, not 99%. :)

  4. As it has become established that WordPress theme images and css do not have to be GPL I’m guessing the premium themes won’t have to have images and css GPL’d? Most of the time I believe images and css would be the most valuable the main theme since they give the entire “look” of the theme. So to stop the themes from being distributed completely, simply legally restricting images and css from being redistributed could be ideal. That in no way goes against the GPL since the PHP code would always be GPL of course.

Leave a Reply

Please note that WPCandy is a moderated community.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>