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LiveMesh says


2. Buyers who bombard you with 15 questions within an hour, and expect all these 15 questions to be answered within few hours

Which exactly what web companies that use themes for clients sites have to cope with, when clients discover bugs or themes stop working after authors stop supporting them.

We had a lovely time explaining to a client that they’d have to pay to have their ecom site completely rebuilt because the developer had decided they weren’t going to bother supporting the theme we’d used anymore.

Companies that use commercial themes have to provide frontline support for their clients, I don’t see why theme developers think they should be immune from providing support. Ultimately if you don’t like dealing with customers and support then you’re in the wrong job.

It’s not always the case, there are some great developers on here and our last purchase is being well supported.

I am not talking about customers, who report bugs. We are more than happy to fix the bugs. Actually we thank the customers who report genuine bugs. I am talking about customers, who don’t know what is causing their site to not function. There have been customers, who had some javascript errors on their site, because of some wordpress plugin they installed and complained that the site is not functioning because of our theme. We had to login to their site and disable those plugins ourselves.

Besides, supporting one client at a time (that’s how you work, I assume), is easier than supporting multiple buyers (most of them having no prior knowledge of the CMS they are using).

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VF says


This is probably the most requested feature over the past 3 years. It would be nice if someone from staff could comment on whether it’s in the pipeline, and if not, maybe some reasons why.

As far as the ability to change ratings, we have to consider Envato’s point of view: Customers are happy with it, and it encourages authors to be more consistent with support.

Either we can request Envato to improve the rating visibility (they wont) or just decide not to care about ratings at all. It may sound like dis-respecting buyers but in reality – not. Since at some point, buyers also give-up looking the ratings as it doesn’t help for them too with current format.

A psychological change of authors (something like having 4* is more profitable than 5* in terms of support) can work a way longer for authors. I observed many successful authors living better with 4* in many marketplaces. So a quick solution is “update mind” to appreciate 4 stars. This is easy and possible! :D

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familychoice says

I am not talking about customers, who report bugs.

Probably 75% of of the issues reported by clients have nothing to do with the web building and hosting services we’re providing, the most common being ‘OUR WEBSITE IS DOWN GET THIS FIXED!!!!’. 99% of the time it isn’t, it’s an issue with their ISP/router/firewall or in quite a few cases – they can’t see their website due to the fact they’re not connected to the internet.

Every morning my mailbox contains at least 10 support requests, most of them are rude, and even when we do fix an issue for free caused by the clients inability to use their website, almost never get a word of thanks for giving up our time for free.

But that’s what customer service is all about – you usually only hear from customers/clients when they’re pissed off, and if you don’t want to lose their custom then you have to deal with their requests in a calm and professional manner.


Actually we thank the customers who report genuine bugs.

That’s great. However developers of the theme before last we purchased banned us from their support forum as we’d discovered too many bugs and said we were “wasting their time”. Generally though this is rare and most authors are keen to get things working as they should.


Besides, supporting one client at a time (that’s how you work, I assume), is easier than supporting multiple buyers (most of them having no prior knowledge of the CMS they are using).

Nope, we have hundreds of clients and provide ongoing hosting and CMS/theme support which is why purchased theme support is so important to us. I’ve just replied to an email from a client who said they didn’t want training (a service we provide) despite admitting they have absolutely no web skills whatsoever. They’ve completely trashed the website we built for them last year and so I’m calmly (on a Saturday, supposedly my day off) ignoring the foul language in their email and trying to help them get their site up and running.

No doubt they’ll tell their friends how useless we are, a bit like unfairly applied star ratings, but there you go.

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cloud9 says

I had planned to unsubscribe from this thread, however given that i had accidentally ticked the ‘email me’ button i owe it to my inbox now to contribute.

There are so many different topics that this discussion has covered. I will try and address some of them as my position is unique in that i am both a designer / developer as well as buyer here on TF. I am probably one of the bigger spenders here on the Envato marketplace, so i can say my opinion is balanced between authors and also the buyers who are using the products.

There is a key fundamental problem with this type of marketplace, but i want to start by saying that Envato should carry the key responsibility in coming up with answers / solutions to the KEY problems on the marketplace.

The balance here is that authors want to earn FAIR money for the efforts, time and skills they have used to create work for sale. The problem here is that envato has profits they need to make, but also have due responsibility to authors and users. One side you have users who are being marketed to by envato to purchase ‘website templates, and themes’ from $15 for HTML and from $40 for wordpress. Authors are told they are not required to support their items, however if you do not, you run the risk of bad ratings and bad commenting etc which in turn can affect future sales.

The ‘gap’ in the marketplace here, is that users who have no clue about html, css, or wordpress for that matter are being sold items for which they have no idea how to use, then come back to the authors on TF and demand support far and beyond which should be required. I have thought many times about becoming an author here on TF, but i struggle to see how anyone can turn a REAL profit and / or get paid any fair hourly rate for the work involved. Like a previous poster has mentioned that most mornings they wake up to find dozens of angry emails from users who have purchased items for which they have no idea how to use, and end up providing FREE ‘web development’ to keep the user happy. On the flip side, some authors do not write effective documentation and for me, someone who knows web development, find it extremely frustrating when the documentation is not straight forward. I often think its best to let a 3rd party developer write your documentation because you know the theme inside out, however nonone else does.

Meanwhile envato sits pretty taking their % of sales, and leaving all the authors to try and scrape together some sort of liveable income.

I think it is FAIR and realistic that unless envato slows down on their marketing, and creates some fundamental shift in the marketplace to look after users as well as the authors, envato needs to look at perhaps creating a job board for individual themes and integrate this on EVERY SINGLE item for sale.

It may impact on sales, but its better to be more OPEN. Create a notification before someone purchases a file stating – “THIS IS NOT A FUNCTIONAL WEBSITE. YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO ADD YOUR OWN CONTENT. CREATE YOUR OWN PAGES. THESE FILES ARE JUST AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT YOU CAN BUILD YOURSELF” as well as ‘support for items is ONLY related to functionality or errors for the provided code itself. Any support requests outside of errors will be charged “

Authors are left to do far to much leg work, for the money received. Unless you are selling thousands of items, and outsource basic support your left with stay at home basement authors, and a lucky few who have gotten in early and sold a heap of themes.

I feel envato spends too much time concerned about locking in authors to their marketplace, and not enough time looking after the marketplace itself.

Just my two cents. Ratings need to stay. But some changes are needed to the marketplace.

Also if you are consistently having issues with buyers, UPDATE YOUR DOCUMENTATION to be straight forward. You’ll probably find, the documentation is NOT straight forward.

Before posting your item, get it tested by a beta group. If its a wordpress theme, give them a blank install and get them to set it up as per the demo. If they can’t or run into issues find out what they are. And write step by step instructions for it.

ENVATO you need disclaimers, and notifications for novice users. Be open to the people who support and purchase on this community. You might loose a few sales, because you have told a complete novice that the html template he is about to buy isn’t a working website, you may loose his $30, but everyone else wins. You may also give a developer an opportunity to earn $$ by offering him a custom coding project as well.

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billyf says

@cloud9 :

You have addressed some of the major issues in this marketplace but as Envato runs a business, profit / income is always their priority. It is unlikely that they will do something which will potentially cause them lose their sales.

Also, not all buyers read the documentation (even if they don’t know how to use it). I have received some basic questions from the buyers which are already addressed in both the user manual and FAQ. If the person has, at least, took a glance, he/she would have known how to use it.

One thing which I have noticed is that some buyers really ‘demand’ a lot from that little amount of money they paid. They would start requesting for customization which are beyond what is offered in the theme (like adding new features or changing certain features of the theme).

This is where the rating system needs to be improved because they would start threatening you with low ratings if you don’t help them with their customizations. However, only few of them would rate you 5 stars after you’ve spent all your time helping them out with all their extra requests and most wouldn’t even rate your item after you’ve politely asked them to.

I think Envato should make it compulsory for buyers to give their rating after they have purchased an item, perhaps up to 1 month from the date of purchase and the rating should be accompanied by at least few words to explain / describe why he/she gave such rating.

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50andJACK says

@cloud9 some really great thoughts there. You’re right about support turning into free work. I usually work for free when I release a new item, because unfortunately 1 bad rating at the very beginning can ruin months of hard work. In my opinion this is why a ratings breakdown (the graphic example that’s been posted in this thread) is badly needed. Because when the stars first show up (after 3 ratings), if 2 people rate your item well but one person stings you, at least other customers could see that and put two and two together.

Now on one hand you could say this is good for Envato because my customer service is on steroids when I release a new file. But on the other hand, because I’m spending time working for free, I’m not investing that time in making new items, and I think the latter is the more profitable course of action.

You mentioned a job board. Envato dabbled in this recently with Graphic River and the response was pretty negative from authors. For a lot of authors, selling stock is only a portion of our income. The other portion comes from the freelance opportunities created by selling items. Lots of customers buy items and contact us for a customization requests, and sometimes these customers even turn into long-term clients. For me, if this perk were taken away, uploading items would fall low on my list of priorities, and I’d probably focus more time on doing what I used to do, which was marketing myself outside of Envato and building websites for small businesses. So less uploads equals less money for Envato, and as an average author (gold paw or less), I imagine there’s a lot of other authors who wouldn’t want their freelance opportunities taken away either.

I agree that disclaimers can be a good thing. I released an item once that seemed to attract a lot of newbies so I ended up writing a “Suggested Experience” section. As a seller though, generally rule of thumb is to try and keep things positive. Because we don’t really want to scare away competent buyers. And from my experience, smart shoppers usually just ask a “pre-sales” question if they’re unsure about whether the item is right for them.

Thanks again for your post. Your thoughts on documentation is spot on, and it’s always great to get quality feedback from an experienced buyer :)

-Jack

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CodingJack says

You’re right about support turning into free work. I usually work for free when I release a new item, because unfortunately 1 bad rating at the very beginning can ruin months of hard work. In my opinion this is why a ratings breakdown (the graphic example that’s been posted in this thread) is badly needed. Because when the stars first show up (after 3 ratings), if 2 people rate your item well but one person stings you, at least other customers could see that and put two and two together.

Another thing I wanted to mention was that customers aren’t the only ones who give bad ratings. It’s well known that authors frequently sabotage their competition. So like I said, the need for a visible ratings breakdown is desperately needed.

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ChillThemes says

Another thing I wanted to mention was how customers aren’t the only ones who give bad ratings. It’s well known that authors frequently sabotage their competition. So like I said, the need for a visible ratings breakdown is so desperately needed.

That’s so petty and childish…

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CodingJack says

That’s so petty and childish…

Come back and talk about it when when you’ve had some more experience ;)

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ChapterThemes says

I had some experience allright. Some buyer with an alien like too much time taking crazy customization request, which i just really couldn’t do: BOOM, mayor downvote.

Oooh it’s so strange they/he/she didn’t get my life together with the theme for 40 ( FORTY ) bucks!

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