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EugeneO says

Smashing Magazine posts a review of the customer service offered by WordPress premium theme vendors. ThemeForest got a mention although it wasn’t exactly glowing with praise.

The misconception the author made was that unless the ThemeForest author has their own external support forum the support they offer was not up to par.

Only the best-selling themes seem to provide the level of support offered by other premium theme shops… Perhaps this makes good business sense, because the time, energy and capital required to create a self-hosted off-site system would be warranted if sales are strong to begin with.
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/06/15/a-review-of-customer-service-and-support-models-of-premium-wordpress-shops/
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ThemeProvince says
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tonvie says

I didn’t quite take it as a negative review.

When Envato’s own policy states that authors are not required to give support, that pretty much says what the author said it his review…”...Buyer beware”. That’s what I took away from the article anyway.

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EugeneO says

I’ll break down my issues with the review further:

A quick scan of the lower-selling themes reveals that the vast majority do not self-host any support systems outside of ThemeForest. And what support there is mostly happens in the comment layer of the theme itself.
So what? This statement makes out that unless the support offered by authors is hosted on an external dedicated forum the support is not good enough. Nowhere in the article does he mention the actual response times or the quality of response from the author regardless of the method used to provide support, nor does he take into account that some authors handle support via direct email.
Only the best-selling themes seem to provide the level of support offered by other premium theme shops.
This is false. It might be true to say that, in general, only the top selling authors provide external support forums but there is no correlation between having an external support forum and the quality of support provided or even the time taken for the buyer to receive any kind of response.
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Parallelus says

I’ll break down my issues with the review further:
A quick scan of the lower-selling themes reveals that the vast majority do not self-host any support systems outside of ThemeForest. And what support there is mostly happens in the comment layer of the theme itself.
So what? This statement makes out that unless the support offered by authors is hosted on an external dedicated forum the support is not good enough. Nowhere in the article does he mention the actual response times or the quality of response from the author regardless of the method used to provide support, nor does he take into account that some authors handle support via direct email.
Only the best-selling themes seem to provide the level of support offered by other premium theme shops.
This is false. It might be true to say that, in general, only the top selling authors provide external support forums but there is no correlation between having an external support forum and the quality of support provided or even the time taken for the buyer to receive any kind of response.

I agree with you 100%. I do not have an external support forum and have no intention of starting one but I don’t think you will find any of my customers complaining about my support. I answer emails multiple times a day and the comments area at least once a day. I even work almost every weekend if I’m not traveling.

I also have avoided external support forums because of the complaints from a lot of customers about them. Some refuse to use them or think they’re extra work for to register. I’ve asked my customers and it’s about 50/50 for and against external forums. I also think it fragments the support and doubles my work having to maintain 2 places now instead of 1 since a lot of customers are going to use the comments area regardless.

To generalize by saying support is not good without an external forum is not only inaccurate but also reveals the lack of knowledge of the article’s author about how ThemeForest really works. You shouldn’t be reviewing support for ThemeForest rather authors individually since the support has nothing to do with ThemeForest.

The author of the article is making assumptions about something they’ve possibly not used only reviewed from an outside perspective. It’s pure rubbish in my opinion (just wanted to say rubbish this morning) :)

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