Something For Nothing: Part 3

The story continues.

Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress, commented on Small Potatoes thread about theme sponsorship. As we all know, Matt once sold 100,000 plus pages of spam content on WordPress.org, which kinda stirred up debate about selling text links for their PR and SEO value. Many owners of websites with high PR value sell links from their sites, including many respected WP theme publishers. It is fairly common practice.

There needs to be a standardised method of indicating that themes:

  1. Have a link back to the authors site
  2. Have sponsored links

I can see the potential problem that themes could be developed with links to linkfarms or other sites that could cause problems for anyone running the themes. I vet all the sites that I allow to sponsor my themes, so this should not be a problem with the themes I publish; but I am not the only publisher of sponsored themes. Even if I were to stop selling sponsorship links on the themes I produce, then there will be other people continuing the practice who will not be so up front about it.

In addition, there is nothing to stop a less desirable website publishing a wordpress theme. What if playboy published a WP theme and had a link back to their site in the footer?

As far as some of the comments go about the two credit cards themes I have published, the themes contained pictures of credit cards. I would expect anyone using the themes to either be a big shopper, or a heavy credit card user. The theme isn’t going to be used by an 8 year old girl to write a blog about her barbie dolls. What then is the harm of having a link to a credit card site in the footer?

Something For Nothing: Part 2

Part 2 of a story that started earlier today; and I have a feeling it might run on for a while.

I published Wood WordPress theme earlier today, with no sponsored links, just one link back to this site in the footer, and was labelled a spammer again. I have also had advertising cancelled because of this problem.

Later I read a comment on Apples theme (number 7) which gave me a good idea. I propose that from now on all themes submitted to the themeviewer that have any kind of links in the footer (be they sponsored, or links back to the authors site) include a standard sentence in the Theme info that gets published along with the theme. Something along the lines of ‘This theme contains advertising links to external sites’. Then there can be no complaints… can there?

I have contacted the themeviewer admins and am waiting for their response.

Additionally, for anyone interested, there are two different business models of publishing themes for profit. The one that I have been using, where sponsored links are inserted directly into the footer of the themes, and then the one where the links in the footer (or sidebar, wherever) just point back to the theme creators site. Advertising is then sold off the theme creators site.

Yours, trying to do the right thing & avoiding flame wars,

Simon Pilkington.

Preview Theme Plugin

On this site I wanted to make previews of themes available to users. I wanted to restrict the previews to registered users only as many of the themes are not available publicly.

Ryan Boren coded a plugin some time ago which performed this function, however I was having problems using it with WordPress 2.1.

The original plugin stated:

By default, if you are logged in as a level 8 or above user, you can specify “preview_theme=Theme Name” in the URI query string to preview an installed theme. Regular blog readers will not be affected by this setting. They will still see the theme selected in Options->Presentation or the Theme Switcher.

I have modified this slightly to return an unregistered user to the login/register page of the site.

Download preview theme for WP 2.1: zip rar

I hope you find it useful.

Future plans for this plugin are to have settings to allow any user whether logged in or not to preview released themes.