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:
- Have a link back to the authors site
- 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?