Allowing this is a bad idea and your justification for it is weak.
For example, if a buyer is looking for a standard WordPress theme, why should they be forced to purchase a more expensive version (which is only more expensive because it is built with advanced features the buyer doesn’t want or need).By “more expensive version” we’re talking about $10 to $15. Buyers are hardly going to have to take out a mortgage to afford it. Whether they choose to use the extra features or not they are still getting great value for money. Anyone who has been on the marketplace for a few years knows that extra features in a theme help sales rather than hinder it, just look at the top selling themes for concrete proof.
Conversely, an author that has built a tremendously advanced theme may lose sales from buyers seeking a simpler version in a lower price bracket.
All this will achieve is flooding the marketplace with 3 variations of each “multi-purpose” theme and some confused buyers not knowing the difference between 1 version and the next.
OriginalEXE saidI always recommend buyers to use a child theme (there are explicit instructions in my documentation) and I have never had anyone complain or refuse. Explain why they should use a child theme, tell them how to use a child theme and even include a skeleton child theme and there is no reason why they wouldn’t.
Child theme is the best practice, but most of the buyers don’t (know/want) use it.
In my themes I have a textarea in the theme options that can be used for small pieces of CSS that are added to the page head using wp_add_inline_style(). Other than that I believe the Child Theme route is best. As for the OP’s specific question about editing files, if the user is not using WordPress multisite they already have access to the built in file editor (Appearance > Editor). Why reinvent the wheel?
I was lucky enough to have both at the same time . If I had a choice I would go with featured item.
Are there any guidelines shown to buyers before they rate an item explaining the criteria they should be rating by? The whole rating system is fundamentally flawed if 1 star to one buyer means something different to another reviewer. I don’t even think 1 star items should exist on this marketplace. 1 star would represent something that is barely usable and not fit for purpose.
My very first reviewed rating was a 1 star despite the fact the buyer did not mention any bugs or problems with the item (in fact they didn’t actually mention anything at all) and yet my item now has it’s first 1 star, which I feel was unjustified, can not be removed and can not be responded to.
My view is that the ratings should show how close the actual product is compared to how it is advertised and demonstrated in live previews. Comparing features between items (in particular themes) is unfair as:
2.) Not all items require the same features. Therefore rating one lower because it does not have a feature another item has is falsely representing that item.
Of course you are right about less competition, but you need to take a look from a perspective of flexibility of those themes. If I was running niche business, I would work on making it look different than others.
People who buy themes in the niche categories are usually a part of a small organization or operate a small business. They are not web designers and in the most part just want a web presence that generates leads and sales, so looking similar to competitors isn’t much of an issue. The chances of a competitor in your geographical area using the same theme as you is pretty slim anyway. There is also the fact that if the item is in a niche category on the market place it should have some sort of functionality (beyond its appearance) that is specific to that niche.
This has been discussed on the forums before.http://themeforest.net/forums/thread/guys-stop-sexualizing-women-in-your-mockups/115051
Ultimately I think it comes down to some people thinking sex sells or, at the very least, get a buyers attention enough for them to take a look at the item preview.
My themes have been used for an adult site on at least one occasion. For me it wasn’t an issue but I can completely understand how it could conflict with someones religious or moral beliefs.
If I were in that situation I would simply explain to the buyer that I would not be willing to provide support due to my own views regarding the content of their website. Be polite and keep it respectful towards them and hopefully they would be understanding and respectful in return.
In regards to Envato’s terms, support is completely optional anyway. Authors have the right to decline support whenever and to whoever and they feel like.