Can Something For Nothing Be A Bad Thing?

I had an email from a friend of mine saying ‘hey, some guy on the WordPress theme viewer is calling you out as a spammer’. I went over there and sure enough he was right.

I release WordPress themes for free here at, and I also submit them to a list of places that catalog themes in an effort to promote them. I try to find sponsors for those themes, and in return for a small payment I place their advert in the footer of the theme, along with a link to this site. I protect the sponsor’s investment by covering the themes with a creative commons license.

Having a link to the creators website is common practice when releasing themes, as is covering the theme with a creative commons license. This is also common practice when releasing open source software such as WordPress. WordPress request that users of the software link to the website, and the ‘proudly powered by’ link is included in the default theme.

A standard install of WordPress comes with blogroll links to contributors to the project:


The themeviewer website itself has footer links to the guys who created and maintain it:

Maintained by The undersigned – Snapshots by

and a great job they do to.

The themes I submit are good quality (in my opinion anyway), and I’m not forcing anyone to use them. I’m not using any devious techniques like hidden links in the themes, or adding in php includes or evals. I do care about the WordPress community, and I don’t feel it is fair to label me a spammer.

I would like to see a set of guidelines in place for submissions to the theme viewer, which would clear up this whole mess. If the policy of WordPress is not to include sponsored links, then fair enough, I won’t do it any more. But at the same time I won’t be releasing as many themes as I wont be able to afford the time.

And to the guy who called me out, I’m not going to name you here. It isn’t nice to call someone out publicly without getting in touch first. Reputations can be harmed, and everything published on the net gets archived for the future in some way. If you have something to add, please do so below, or you can contact me through this site’s contact form.

Thanks for reading,

Simon Pilkington.

8 thoughts on “Can Something For Nothing Be A Bad Thing?

  1. You have got to be kidding!

    People who want something for nothing just drive me crazy. How are they expecting people to be able to supply these free templates if they are not willing to give something back?!?

    Have you seen some of the myspace ones lately? They have gone spammy… lol – at least you don’t have flashing banners and tags all over your design! All that is requested is a link on their site! How is this spam???

  2. Hi There,

    I tried to use the contact form but I’m not sure it went through. I am using your Adsense theme and I love it, but is there a way to change the yellow to a softer color?

    Thank you so much for the theme and I look forward to your reply. My email is

  3. Hey Denise

    It is fairly easy to change the yellow color on that theme. Create your new adsense advert, noting the color code you use for the background. Next open styles.css in the AdSense theme directory. Replace all instances of #ffff00 (which is the yellow color) with your new color code.

    Thanks for getting in touch :)

  4. Pingback: Themey » Blog Archive » Something For Nothing: Part 2

  5. Just wanted to make one clarification.

    WordPress is a open source software and does not ask anyone to have the link back to or those blogroll links.
    you can completely remove all of them.

  6. Pingback: WordPress Theme “Sponsorship” creates ruckus | Cureless - blog, works and personal site of Yoru

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