+1 to Jonathan01, and buying a premium plugin would also allow you to ask for any support the author may provide + report bugs in the plugin straight to the plugin author.
@EricSchwartz From the Australian Consumer Law link you provided:
What you should not do in advertising
- omit relevant information
Authors are explicitly omitting that buyers will not receive a valid license for each plugin, that they will not be able to ask for support from the plugin author and that they will not be able to update the plugin themselves, even in an emergency, such as the huge security bug discovered in one of the more popular bundled plugins.
This all makes no sense to me, especially now that Envato has a shopping basket on the marketplace, it should be easy to simply allows authors to select a couple of premium plugins the theme is compatible with, and when a buyer wants to buy the theme, they have the option to easily add/buy a license for the plugins at the same time.
I also forgot to mention something very important. You say you do not “allow misleading advertising”, yet you are failing to realise that when an author claims that the user is “saving $x” for each plugin bundled in, the buyer is explicitly being misled into believing that they are getting the same thing they would get if they spent the $x separately. Which is completely false.
Most users are completely unaware that they are not getting a valid plugin license, plugin support from the plugin author and are not entitled to any plugin updates/bug fixes. The only way they can update their plugin is wait for the author to update it for them in the theme. And as we saw with a major bug incident in a popular slider some time ago, this entire system/rules causes a huge amount of problems that the user is unaware of until it is too late.
So in light of this, can you please elaborate further on how ”$1000 of plugin value saved with this theme” is good marketing and not misleading?
Even if it is a guest post, it is published by Envato on Envato’s blog, which means people will assume it’s Envato’s opinion. And as a Marketplace, Envato should never show any bias towards any theme/plugin/author. Pretty shocking stuff!
The primary intent of our current policy here is to prevent authors from attempting to include plugins simply for the sake of it or purely to exploit the plugins’ value. Remember that any/all included plugins will be assessed and should serve a clear and useful purpose with respect to the overall item, and that best coding practice also of course still applies, so for example the theme should not indiscriminately load plugin assets that aren’t being used.
Thank you for responding to my concerns, but your logic is worryingly out of touch and ultimately flawed. Please don’t take offense to this question, I am genuinely curious, but do the Envato workers who make these decisions have any experience with coding for WordPress?
There is never a situation where an external premium plugin should be bundled in a WordPress theme. If a user wants a specific feature from a premium plugin, they can buy a license for it and use it. If the theme and the plugin are written properly, they will work fine together, as it should be. The theme can of course add styling/compatibility with some plugins and promote that. That is the “WordPress way”. Show me one example where you believe the premium plugin should be bundled in, and I can give you 10 reason why it shouldn’t.
To continue only using the sliders as an example, all major premium sliders that are included in single themes do pretty much 99% the same, they do not have individual “unique features” users want or are asking for. I have received multiple thousand questions/requests for my themes, and as they are magazine themes, you’d probably imagine online magazines would want sliders with “unique features”, yet not once has someone asked me “please add X premium slider because I need X feature from it”.
I would be able to understand if the rules were “one premium slider allowed” per theme. But the current rules encourage bundling in every single popular premium slider for no reason other than to “increase value of theme”.
Using copy like this to market your item is perfectly acceptable and in line with our item promotion guidelines. While we do not allow misleading claims or false advertising, you can certainly communicate the value of your item (including features/functionality that are considered part of the item) to buyers in whatever creative and effective ways work best for your marketing and brand strategy.
If you are allowed to bundle in lots of things, of course it makes sense to market that, but how can you not see that with your logic and rules you are creating a playing field where it is literally a race to the bottom? It is obvious that no theme will be rejected for “bundling in too many premium plugins”, as it is easy to “justify” why you want a plugin bundled in. And that all mean that by de facto authors feel pushed to bundle in increasing number of (unnecessary) “extras” into their themes.
My conclusion is that if you truly believe that bundling ”$1000 worth of plugins in a theme” sounds right and is all good practice/marketing and that a theme claiming to be “Portfolio / Corporate / Magazine / Blog / ECommerce / Etc” can be considered “one theme with good marketing”, then despite all the other controversies still around, I am very skeptical and fearful for the long term future of this marketplace.
Sigh…. Another let down.
@EricSchwartz: You said
For instance, it’s quite easy to change a corporate “Meet the Team” page/section, to “Meet the Chefs” for a food site, to “Meet the Couple” for a wedding site, to “Meet the Pastors” for a religious themed site.
What authors are complaining and angry about isn’t that. That is fine. We are talking about themes that have one theme with demos titled “Creative / Magazine / Portfolio / Corporate / Blog / Wedding / Etc”. How on earth can you argue that is good marketing? Features needed for a Portfolio site are a million miles away from a Wedding site. Authors are making 10-1 themes, and that is not the same as changing the images of a Meet the team template.
And regarding plugins. You say themes are only allowed to bundle premium plugins if they show a purpose for them. Explain how including 6 different sliders that all do the same thing have any meaningful purpose for the end user?
You also failed to address what really kicked all this off, the ”$1000 worth of value in a $43 theme” lines that some authors are using.
If authors are direct sellers then it’s not enough that you say “We’ll be introducing limited buyer information against each sale.”
This statement doesn’t resolve anything. I understand that in Australia you probably have very liberal law and a lot of freedom.
Unfortunately in EU we don’t. If you want to give some personal data of customers to us we need to know exactly what data right now.If we are supposed to collect these data we need to report this to Inspector General for Personal Data Protection. We need to describe and register our databases etc.
This needs to be re-posted until Envato hear and acknowledge it: Authors do NOT want buyer’s personal data. Let authors focus on being creative for god’s sakes!
I’ve seen a few uninformed authors saying “I want all buyers information if authors are direct sellers”, but they don’t understand that that would be 100x times worse. Privacy laws (particularly in the EU) are not something you want to deal with at all.
Authors only want to be creative and create great products, not deal with complex personal data laws!
In my eyes, this entire debacle has now officially turned into one huge nasty joke now. I am extremely upset and dissatisfied about all this.
It’s as if Envato don’t realise that Buyers only spend money here because of authors. As more authors move to other marketplaces, the buyers will follow.
Guys, I think most facts/arguments about this mess have been well covered.
Let’s just stay quiet until Envato release a new blog post about all this. Natman said Collis was working on a follow up statement regarding past sales and all the implications (on VAT and past income tax declarations) and was meant to release it soon.
Once they do that, let’s see what is said and we can then all take it from there.
@Natman, thanks for answering some of the questions. Can you please share a screenshot of a dummy template of the invoices that will be sent to everyone?
@KingDog, I understand your stance, but if authors are not allowed to discuss the implications of taxes/vat on past sales (which depends on who the seller is) in a very related thread like this one, where are we supposed to discuss that?
If you want authors to discuss it somewhere else Envato needs to write a new official blog post that thoroughly addresses the issue and open a relevant thread for it in these forums.
Until that happens, authors will continue to swarm every related thread with the same questions and express their exasperating frustration, as it is potentially an absolutely HUGE legal/tax issue and Envato doesn’t seem to want to address it or take it seriously by openly discussing it with authors.