Here’s Reasons I Won’t Buy WordPress Themes From Themeforest (Anymore)

Really $13.00????

So Themeforest is huge, I’ve been active on Themeforest for a considerable time. In fact it’s been 5 years give or take, I’ve bought some great WordPress themes from Themeforest, heck I’ve even made some coin from affiliate links there.

They were mainly from round up posts and some reviews I have written on purchases I have made myself.

I’ve nothing against Themeforest personally truly I do not. I do dip into it every other day to see what’s been launched theme wise. I suppose I’m a WordPress theme voyeur of sorts, I liked keeping up with the latest and greatest and what not. Today that ends. Sadly.

As I mentioned I have no grievance with TF, none whatsoever. However I just feel the time has come to part company with it, the time has come to cast it aside.

To that end I would like to highlight some reasons why I will not buy WordPress themes on Themeforest.

First and foremost the links contained with this blog post do not contain affiliate links. What would be the point of that? Sure the post title may sure sound like link bait, I don’t want to profit from that. Not at all.

Now I’ve spent quite a bit of money on Themeforest, and dare I say I’ve earned a bit of money from it as well.

Not enough to cancel the other out. This post is not to highlight the inability to earn through affiliate links, I just thought it was high time someone told it like it is.

Reason number 1 I will not buy WordPress themes from Themeforest


GLWS. Period. I cannot believe that individuals would leave the comment on a new theme with the acronym GLWS. GLWS for the uninitiated means ‘Good Luck With Sales’.

You’ve probably seen it on a new theme listing on TF. The first few comments are all GLWS or ‘looks awesome dude GLWS’ delete as applicable.

Whilst I understand the need for others to congratulate each other on their works, surely there is somewhere else they can pat each others backs?

As a consumer and looking at the comments you can bet your ass to a barn dance a percentile of the first few will be GLWS. How does that help me the consumer? It doesn’t.

Personally I’d like Themeforest to rid this from their comment system. The only reason I can imagine they remain is to get people to click on a WordPress theme listing to see what all the hullabaloo is about.

Or indeed for the commentator to get clicks on their profile page that then seed down to the items they listed in a sneaky effort to siphon off sales.

It’s not for me.

Author driven pricing, a good thing?

Yes it is. It’s great for developers to set a level of pricing that fits with their needs. The ability to set pricing consummate with their labors, it’s their right and rightly so.

What I don’t agree with is setting the price incredibly low. Bear with me on this.

PressGrid example of pricing on Themeforest
PressGrid example of pricing on Themeforest

PressGrid is $13.00 ok, so it’s like 13 bucks. $13.00 seriously? I mean the the theme listing alone screams stay away:

Really $13.00????
Really $13.00????

Seems like a good deal right?

I mean $13.00 for a WordPress theme? WTF! I can hear devs screaming and punching their Macs far and wide. How in the hell can you sell a theme on Themeforest for $13.00??? Wait there’s more.

Many of you will have seen this viral WordPress professed niche theme on Themeforest. Many of you (well 48 of you) have purchased this theme on what can only be the basis it’s $13.00.

(Which incidentally is the minimum sell price on Themeforest for WordPress themes)

Please note I started this blog post when the theme was $13.00 it’s now $29.00. Finally getting round to finishing it off now!

Firstly to offer a WordPress theme for $13.00 is the authors right as a seller. There is no question of that. But $13.00? Seriously it would appear this seller has cottoned on to the fact ‘start with a low price get them buying then up the price.’

Fair play to them in fairness. Alarm bells are ringing for me on it though. I mean if you spent countless hours developing a theme then offer it for $13.00 especially in a niche such as viral WP themes, you’d expect to earn quite a respectable amount of money.

Therein lies the fault. The amount of working hours that go into a WordPress theme for it to be sold at such a cheap price surely devalues your own work and of course the work of others on the marketplace.

It must do.

Are you seriously telling me that someone who offers a theme for $13.00 is going to offer you ‘real’ support? The type you need when the fit hits the shan, so to speak?

I can see Themeforest getting like eBay or Amazon

I honestly can. If this case sets a benchmark for future WordPress themes on TF then it’s a worrying sign. We might see a shed load of themes going for $13.00.

Great for consumers?

Yes, if you want to be a guinea pig and a theme tester. I am telling you now hand on heart, if this continues, consumers will be the ones affected.

If this practice continues it will invariably lead to sub par WordPress themes in an effort to make a quick buck. You will experience countless issues in the beginning for your $13.00 with functionality that doesn’t quite work and such.

You (unwittingly of course) will be the ones who have to spend time contacting support with issues. Why?

Well who in their right mind would offer a theme that has so many coding hours behind it want to make peanuts? There will come a time where the coding level will be just enough to scrape by Themeforest’s approval policy.

Then you’re on your own, contacting support trying to iron out certain functionality and getting it right for your $13.00.

Reason number 2 themes are very similar

Lets all tell it like it is, Themeforest WordPress all follow a trend. You can look through a lot of pages of themes for specific niches and find basically the same theme with a different look.

There’s no creative spark anymore. 

It’s supply and demand. People want a website this way, this way only and it’s a dirge of same old same old. Sure there are some gems on Themeforest. It’s not all crap.

However it’s getting harder and harder to find something truly awesome on there.

Reason number 3 multi-purpose WordPress themes

I mean come one. Seriously. How can you have one theme to rule them all (my precious). Multi-purpose WordPress themes are quite frankly a joke.

They offer a vast amount of functionality in the main stay, granted. However they all end up being the same, not quite right for your specific needs.

You cannot create a WordPress theme that will cater for one and all. Clearly it’s not possible. No developer can ever imagine or indeed have worked in thousands of niches.

So all you have is interpretation. That’s it.

You have what a developer deems you will need for your sector, having never worked in your niche / sector how are they truly going to know what’s right for your business?

The simple answer is they do not. 

Do you really want to part cash with a multi-purpose WordPress theme then spend hours tinkering around with it to make it work for you. Perhaps bin some of your ideas because the theme will not do what’s relevant to your niche?

Or would you rather work with a developer who has experience of your sector / niche and knows it inside and out? One that works with your business, listens to your needs and implements changes relevant to you?

I rest my case on that one.

It’s become to busy. It’s become a literal marketplace full of noise

It really has, there are as of today 8781 WordPress themes listed. 8781 WordPress themes.

Phew that’s a load right? It sure is.

Themeforest has become something of a behemoth in terms of WordPress themes. It’s the go to place for finding themes for WordPress, and I do not see any signs of that abating.

It’s a tough marketplace with theme developers punting their wares to a HUGE audience. And as the old adage goes you have to be in it to win it.

Even the likes of WooThemes & Obox have all had their respective time on Themeforest and that tells you something. With such a large network of consumers viewing themes and purchasing Themeforest is never going to go away.

I salute Envato to a degree, I genuinely do. They have created a massive entity in Themeforest, however my time there is done. I prefer to search for theme developers not listed on Themeforest.

The ones who have gone out on their own and are carving a niche for themselves. The ones who look after their respective themes and customers instead of churning out a series of similar looking themes.

What do you think?

Do you think I’m wrong? Do you love Themeforest as a consumer? Are you a seller on Themeforest and love it? Or are you disillusioned at the practices of others?

Please leave me a comment and let’s discuss it.


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One Comment

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  1. I hate the way ThemeForest has changed user expectations of the theme and plugin market for the worse. As well as being bloated, cumbersome and error-prone (due to a lack of quality control), they set unsustainably low prices. We sell plugins directly on our website and believe our prices are more than fair given the level of support and the amount of ongoing work that goes into each plugin. Yet we’re often contacted by potential customers asking why we (a) don’t sell on CodeCanyon (as if it’s the only place to buy plugins), and (b) why we’re so much more expensive than CodeCanyon. This marketplace has created unrealistic expectations that has affected the whole industry. I’m with the group of theme and plugin authors who are trying to stand up to this and run sustainable businesses while still providing an excellent service to customers, but it feels like we’re fighting to do this.

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