Something For Nothing: Part 5

The story continues.

For those who my have missed it, Matt Mullenweg has posted an essay on Weblog Tools Collection discussing the merits of sponsored themes. There is also a WordPress Idea about the same.

I have been doing my best to stay away from the discussion, when I don’t have anything new or original to contribute I prefer to reign in my typing finger. I have noticed that now Matt Cutts has joined in the discussion have stopped selling sponsored links in the sidebar… what was cool yesterday is the devils work today :S

Anyway, the reason I am posting is because I have a hypothetical question, and I am wondering if anyone has an answer. This question applies whether or not WordPress continue to allow sponsored links in themes submitted to the themeviewer or not.

No-one at WordPress is refuting the right of the theme designer to put a link back to their site in the theme. I commented on Matt Cutts’ blog asking him his opinion on designer links, whether they should be nofollowed or if they are legitimate, but so far I have no answer. Matt C’s comments so far appear to relate to paid links only, paid as in $ not as in beer.

If a company (for this example, lets say a travel company called ‘Happy Travel’) has a blog about travel deals with a unique theme that has been custom designed for them by a talented young designer called ‘Tom Thumb’ who works for a web design company called ‘Cool Designs’. After a while the altruistic management at Happy Travel decide to release the theme to the public through the themeviewer and the codex. Who gets the link?

  • Happy Travel?
  • Cool Designs?
  • Tom Thumb?
  • All three?
  • Nobody?

Answers on a postcard please…

2 thoughts on “Something For Nothing: Part 5

  1. For the most part, it would be generally accepted that the travel company would get the link back, since they paid for, and therefore own the rights to, the website design.

    That could depend on the wording of the contract. If the travel company were not savvy to the ways of the web (highly likely) and the web design company is savvy (probably), the web design company would realize the value of the link back and possibly write into the contract that the web design was for purpose of the travel company to create an online presence. In otherwords, they would not be able to benefit from the distribution of the design.

    Tom Thumb would most likely not benefit in any way since he works for the web design company and is paid for his work, which would therefore be the property of the web design company.


  2. Hi Terri

    Thanks for sharing your point of view. Do you feel that it would be wrong for Happy Travel to publish the theme with their link in the footer – would you consider it spamming – or do you think it is OK?

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