Themeforest Author Driven Pricing And What It Means To You As A Customer.
Well an announcement post was published earlier this month allowing authors of certain marketplaces such as ThemeForest, CodeCanyon, GraphicRiver & 3DOcean to effectively name their price in selling their creative works. GraphicRiver incidentally had already allowed ADP last year.
Envato call it ADP which in turn stands for Author Driven Pricing. As a long time customer of ThemeForest / CodeCanyon and sometimes GraphicRiver it will mean I (and you) may well end up paying a lot more for WordPress themes, WordPress plugins and more.
An Early Adopter Of ADP
A recent post I have written entitled “1st Ever ThemeForest WordPress Theme Selling For $225.00!” has garnered quite a lot of attention and traffic. As I delve into and announce one company who have to take early steps to embrace ADP. In fact, the theme creator actually stopped by and gave his ten cents into the reasons why they had elected to get involved with ADP.
Why Now? Why Has Envato Allowed Author Driven Pricing?
I actually quite like ThemeForest and CodeCanyon, I’ve reviewed quite a few products from both sites and own a lot of plugins/themes from both. So why now? Why allow authors to name their price?
I understand perfectly that authors are entitled to earn more from their hard work. ADP is firmly on the side of the authors, however, why have Envato chosen to start this now? Sure it makes sense from an author point of view, Envato wants to retain author talent and keep them on their network of marketplaces.
Why Are We Doing This?
At the heart of this change is our vision for an Envato Market that empowers authors to make the most important decisions about their businesses.
We’ve also come to understand that fixed, Envato-controlled pricing works as a disincentive for many authors and limits the community’s ability to respond to market trends. By moving to an author-driven model, we expect to see a greater range of high-quality items, more creative pricing strategies, increased responsiveness to trends and happier customers.
We know a lot of authors will be concerned about a race to the bottom (a situation where strong price competition pushes down prices to the point that some authors can no longer afford to sell), but the GraphicRiver results tell a different story.
Since we first launched author-driven pricing there (almost 12 months ago now), we’ve seen more and more authors experimenting with pricing, tailoring pricing to their work, and, most excitingly, achieving better results overall.
We’ve also thought long and hard about the various commercial and community impacts for the specific ThemeForest context and we’ll be closely monitoring results.
Herein Lies The Problem With Author Driven Pricing For Consumers
There’s a lot of crap on ThemeForest / CodeCanyon. I mean real junk, absolute sh*t in fairness. You only have to look at some of the junk that gets’s approved via moderators on ThemeForest case in point here iDIGITAL WordPress Theme Blatant Rip Off Of Marketify.
Ok, ok, so that’s one example, however, what if that theme had cost $149.00? Sure you could get a refund after they eventually took the theme down and such. That example was just an out and out copy, what about the themes and WordPress plugins that are quite frankly junk?
It’s a win for talented developers who offer real quality, just as it is for authors who publish crap.
I’m All For Paying More For A WordPress Theme Or Plugin
I believe in a fair price for a fair product. However, I believe some authors will be blinded by greed and price their plugins/themes way higher than they are actually worth. In a race to make money, then disappear into the ether.
Envato’s moderators/approval processes need to be rock solid. It’s one thing when a junk $19.00 plugin slips through the net, however a plugin or theme priced a lot higher is going to cause some real heated arguments when there is more money at stake.
Have Envato Shot Themselves In The Foot Here?
Yes and maybe no. If all authors on these websites start to increase their products pricing you are going to see a lot of people look elsewhere for WordPress products. It’s a fact, you will.
How do I know this? Look at the comments from some individuals on themes/plugins listed on ThemeForest, they want blood for their money, they are not going to pay a higher price for a theme and such. They will simply move on to another marketplace and proceed to call for the earth for their $45.00 etc.
How much of these individuals make up the ThemeForest customer base is anyone’s guess, however, I can imagine it’s a sh*t load.
With higher prices, you will, of course, alienate some, as I mentioned the penny pinchers will simply move on. However, it could shape a new user base who often overlooked ThemeForest for it’s ‘Multi-Purpose’ WordPress themes and low prices.
These individuals, small businesses who want quality accept that they will have to pay more to get just that. These are the types of customer Envato want’s and dare I say it authors do to.
Higher ADP Could Mean An Increase In Nulled WordPress Products
With authors calling the shots on their WordPress themes / plugins etc we could see an increase in nulled WordPress themes / plugins. Some may well club together and purchase a theme on a single licence then upload it to a blog and share the ad revenue from people downloading and jumping through hoops to grab a ‘nulled version’.
What About WordPress Themes Like Avada?
The Avada WordPress theme is currently the best selling WordPress theme to date on Themeforest. It’s one heap of praise left right and center, it’s sold over 253,000 times since it launched back in 2012.
No, imagine that ThemeFusion (the ThemeForest author for Avada), decides to adjust its pricing? It shoots up to I don’t know $399.00 etc. I’m just spitballing here (go with it) how many people would still buy it? A few would as it does have a good reputation, however, nowhere near the level of sales it has already enjoyed.
Now Picture The Avada Theme As A Brand New Theme
Picture Avada just launching on ThemeForest, forget all the sales of it. Start from ground zero, the pricing of the theme? Let’s put it out a figure of $250.00. Could you guess the level of sales over the year? We can all guess but I guarantee it will be nowhere near the 253k they have already.
Now The Positives Of Author Driven Pricing
Right before theme/plugin, authors get all jittery as I’ve mainly covered the negatives of ADP. Let me tell you why I think it is actually a good thing. Yes you read that right, I think it could be a good thing.
Firstly Improvement In Quality Of WordPress Products
With a higher price and investment from sales back into the theme/plugin itself it’s a win, for customers. The money from the sales could lend itself to add functionality in the product or the author hiring individuals to help with support and more. It really could be a good thing.
This all lends itself to an improved customer experience, which you would expect from paying a higher price.
Theme/plugin releases could suffer, by this I mean there could end up being less released per month. Which in my mind is a good thing, more time improving a product to justify a higher price tag?
Rather than the method of releasing a theme or plugin and letting the buyers detect the bugs, as they have no idea how consumers would use their theme in the real world and problems that may arise.
The most important thing is more revenue for the author, after all without them all of this would not be possible.
Envato Affiliates Will Suffer
Before you all go woohoo, I hate affiliates. They will suffer, all the thinly veiled affiliate sites will suffer from reduced revenue. Especially when you’re linking to a WordPress product which could be in the hundreds of dollars.
How many purchases from an affiliate link, linking to a product in the region of $XYZ when compared to a product that’s only $30.00 etc.
That’s A Good Thing Affiliates Will Suffer
It really is a good thing. No more spammy crap websites listing themes they’ve never even tested in their sad little lives. Worthless f*ckers that they are, pure affiliate driven websites will suffer when promoting Envato ADP authorized products.
We may well end up seeing a reduction in list posts that do not really care for the reader, what’s the point if there’s no money in it?
Now More Than Ever WordPress Blogs Will Need To Be Transparent When Reviewing Themes / Plugins
We all have a responsibility, to tell the truth about WordPress products. If ADP pushes themes/plugins up in pricing, blogs (mine included) need to offer a frank and concise opinion when reviewing products from ThemeForest / CodeCanyon.
Authors on Envato’s marketplaces will need us, bloggers, more now than ever. They will need people like me and other sites that blog about WordPress, especially if they will raise the price higher than the usual amount.
No one will want to be the first test purchase on a product worth quite a few bucks. So we will no doubt see an upturn in outreach and theme/plugin developers looking to get their product reviewed by a third party so they can paste it into their product listing.
Which is why we all need to be truthful and honest with our opinions on WordPress products when reviewing them. I am already, however, I could name several websites that are not!
What Do You Think Of ADP? Are You A Consumer Or An Author?
I would love to hear your thoughts from a consumer point of view, if you’re a WordPress product creator I’d love to hear what you plan on doing. As always please do leave a comment with your thoughts on Author Driven Pricing!