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pezflash says

I’ll tell a good friend to buy it from me and re-sell. We then share the profits. This is just one way of a billion other ways to quasi-legally bend the system.

It makes non sense, as any other user will get your GPL theme and will give it for free on dozen sites, to earn money through traffic and ads.

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crozer says


I’ll tell a good friend to buy it from me and re-sell. We then share the profits. This is just one way of a billion other ways to quasi-legally bend the system.
It makes non sense, as any other user will get your GPL theme and will give it for free on dozen sites, to earn money through traffic and ads.

But I don’t care about any other users. I’m saying that I can make extra profit quasi-legally due to the GPL licensing, breaking the exclusivity on TF.

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pezflash says

^ If your main concern is profit you should never go GPL.

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doru says

looks like the only point in going gpl, apart your personal philosophy , is some hypothetical karma with the wordpress community.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the gpl model works by releasing the source files but offering continuous updates and improvements and get paid for it. Since you don’t need to pay for updates on themeforest like on other marketplaces, going gpl looks to me like a suicidal adventure here.

Is not the gpl the problem but the way this marketplace works. The business model was made for the licenses we had in past, with gpl this needs to change.

One way that envato should do this is to sell the item under the gpl license and then ask for a minimal fee to cover further updates. Maybe six months of updates are free but then you have to pay a certain amounts to get the updates. There is no reason why you can’t extend this to the rest of the items on the marketplace.

Now updates are free and they are obligatory. For certain items, like vectors drawing the software houses provides backward compatibility so we can assume that in 5 years a dog vector logo will still work. But for application like wordpress looks like they missed the backward compatibility lesson.

When your theme breaks because something changed in wordpress you need to updated or you get the item removed from the marketplace. This is actually envato forcing you to freely update the item. I’m ok to this request if at the same time envato would had asked the buyers who already paid for the theme to purchase the new updates.

It make sense to ask those money since the buyer purchased the item 8 months ago and by the marketplace rules that is a single purchase at that time. Providing the items in the download area for them to download after 5 years damages the author but off course not the marketplace.

Now for the price of one item you get free storage backup and unlimited updates and while the backup cost is covered by envato (but is relative since the item is stored for sale so the cost divides on every purchase) the free updates is covered by the author since it cuts from his development time and his only advantage is to keep his items on sale.

There is no easy way to fix this but someone should start thinking and come up with a solution.

Since it will be quite impossible to remove all items for the buyers account at this point, one way to implement this would be to keep the download area as it is now, as long the items remain unchanged. But if say six months had passed and an update is provided, then that particular item will get blocked and the marketplace will ask you to pay for additional updates.

Example: Theme A cost 50$. Client purchase the theme. All the current rules apply (the item can be removed with no explanation and the rest). In those 50$ six months of updates are included. After 8 months a new version of wordpress breaks the theme. Author updates the theme and fix some issues. The theme remains 50$ for new buyers. The buyer who purchased the theme 8 months ago goes to his download page but can’t download the zip file anymore. He needs to pay a fee to get access to the item again. If the item remains the same as 2 years ago then it will always remain accessible to the buyer in his download page.

Still reading? I appreciate your dedication so you should deserve some nice developer jokes that I found on internet.

- “SEO expert walks into a bar, bars, pub, tavern, public house, Irish pub, drinks, beer, alcohol”

- “A web designer walks into a bar, but immediately leaves in disgust upon noticing the tables layout.”

- “Its finished, just need to test”

- “Works fine on my computer”

- “How many developers does it take to change a lightbulb? None, that’s a hardware problem.”

- “SQL query enters a bar, approaches two tables and asks: May I join you?”

- “Who is the world’s most famous web developer? Peter Parker.” (thanks reddit)

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aleluja says

^ dafuq :D I was all serious while reading and those randomly added jokes made my head implode :D

Good post!

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VF says

@Mega / Giga post,

There is no point in asking Envato to look things from support perspective. Free/volunteer item support from authors is an unexpected jackpot that occured for Envato to ensure competitive advantage (as it helps to stay ahead in the market). May be they will even “tighten/squeeze” more out of authors rather than opening door for earnings from support. (one example of “squeeze” is, allowing the item ratings changeable by any time. Even after 3-4 years of purchase).

Sometimes, I suspected that the absence of proper FAQ (until the recent update) and the absence of comment search (still now) is Envato’s trick to make authors to highly support the items buyer-by-buyer case. Additionally if the author has own support forum (without supporting here), it apparently adds more weight to the items. Regardless of author’s benefit from free support, Envato surely gains a lot; I doubt if they will ever take risk on adding price for that.

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eticket says

I’m no expert in any of this and just wanted to share a few things.

There are many complaints about the GPL license. First off, anyone that buys a product from ANY market (if they choose to) can do whatever they want with it regardless of the license as designcrumbs already pointed out. Same thing happens for iOS/android apps or anything else. That has been going on even before the internet was born. What I don’t get are the wordpress theme authors here that talk bad about GPL when they in fact use GPL product to build their portfolio and business around. It’s a choice to either go 100% GPL or not but to bash it?

As for the post about the review process for themes … when I saw the official response, it irked me a little as I had purchased a “premium theme” thinking things would work well and it didn’t. Nothing is 100% and I understand that but for reviewers to slap a premium price for something that doesn’t work well when it is released? Sales continued and theme was not pulled to be reviewed and concerns were simply pushed to the side. It was not until almost 3 months when many issues were addressed. I give a lot of credit for the author for addressing many of the issue but reviewers certainly were up to par as stated.

Finally, as a buyer and browsing through all the very popular themes, seeing support questions not being answered and theme not getting updates is a big concern. I’m sure there are many out there saying the same thing to themselves but not airing it publicly.

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doru says

It’s a choice to either go 100% GPL or not but to bash it?

maybe you got the wrong impression. I think there is no author here who bash the gpl license.

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ait says


if you sell 100% GPL licensed theme here on themeforest, you cannot charge for support nor updates. You sell a license and then you need to support and update the theme forever for free. No support fees, subscription fees, absolutely no difference to split licensed theme.
That’s not true, unless it’s sarcasm.

You’re not allowed to advertise any products or services outside of themeforest, that means you cannot charge for support or updates.

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doru says

woothemes preview themes had been disabled by envato because they placed a button that redirected this marketplace buyers to their website.

now previews are back online but (almost) nothing changed.

woothemes switch theme display is still there and the purchase button is gone, but if you switch the theme then the purchase button is back, and if you click it, you are redirected to their website where you can purchase the theme under different options the same as before. themeforest purchase bar at the top remains on screen and can mislead users in thinking that the purchase option is some sort of promotion that envato is offering. The link in the browser address bar remains themeforest as you can see in the example below

I will not comment on the morality of this type of behavior but as reference, some themeforest authors use custom switch themes bar with their own “purchase now” button design, but that bar and the button will always redirect the users to this website.

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