Rotate the Free Templates
I understand that wordpress has a really good following, but I don’t see how the free templates are doing wordpress any favors.
there are 16,000,000 results for that theme alone.
Have you considered opening up a market place for designers to make money or perhaps have you thought about rotating them so the most popular are not up front all the time?
I am asking because this is an organization, correct? I don’t see how it is now can possibly be healthy for the long term success of it themes.
I agree with your point about not always sorting by popularity alone.
But they do have 3 sorts right there, popularity, newness, and recently updated. Also, they do have a link to the filter and tag interface, which allows you to get pickier. So that’s not too bad. And as donors of their time, I don’t foresee too much action on this.
However, there are many sites already whose business is, in all or in part, selling pro WP themes, so no need for that here. (actually they have links to some of those, too) We WP users are the cheapest, let’s face it. 🙂 Still, I am very surprised that people aren’t willing to fork over a little cash to get a theme that may…
– Have tech support
– Be more reliable across browsers
– Be more WP upgrade-proof
– Have more features
– Have frequent updates and bugfixes
… and more. I think this would be especially good for the scads of WP newbies, who are always asking the exact same tech support questions. I am a CSS hacker, so I can easily reform a theme or make one from scratch, but they are generally not.
WP theme developers are legion. So development of themes is actually very healthy whether or not there’s another search function here.
Thousands of free themes and yet… People can, and do, make a living off their themes and plugins. It’s weird, it makes no sense to people mired in traditional business models, but it works 🙂
I paid for my themes.
@ipstenu – I wanna be a Drow elf. I understand you might pay for your themes, but the quality of the work on some of the themes is just phenomenal, and seeing as that you have a place in the community a little higher up than the average poster, perhaps you are the exception? If there are really 16,000,000.00 copies of that theme floating around and everyone paid 1 cent, could that in any way be put towards something good? Like perhaps building a design agency, or maybe even curing cancer?
It might work, but what I am suggesting is that it is not working very well. But that is just my opinion, as I just sort look at the wordpress community from afar. I’m just asking the questions because I can’t be the only one who thinks this way.
WordPress is really the next software company, only it is not. Maybe I am too old school and not new wave enough?
To be honest, technology is different now. Snap Shots are starting to populate the search engines and image reversal search engine technology like Tineye is starting to come of age.
There is no way to secure a living giving away free templates. It’s almost like ravaging or hurting an industry, don’t you think? Maybe it is just me that thinks that way?
In any event, I’m not trying to cast guilt your way. I’m just sort of asking the question, that’s all.
Everybody else has a marketplace. Except wordpress. (Unless I haven’t found it yet)
@flamenco – I am sure they are legion and I wonder how much this completely free venue costs them, and wordpress at the exact same time. That’s all.
The quickest answer is “it’s more complicated than that.”
And my “position” in the community is actually just a helpful nerd with spare time 🙂 I’m a volunteer moderator who works for no pay, no recognition and no compensation save the happy warm feeling I get in helping people. I’m a socialist by nature. It leaks out. And in a weird way, that is to your point.
Yes, if everyone who used WP put one penny to curing cancer, we’d be there by now. But more powerful (though less … productive in the humanitarian sense) is the fact that all of us give of our time to do all this stuff. Some things are offered for free, and some of the free stuff is phenomenal. Some things are offered for a fee, and when you look at the free stuff that the same people made, you know you’re getting your money’s worth.
But no, free is NOT hurting WP as a money maker for theme and plugin devs 🙂
@ipstenu – Is it hurting you? I can’t speak for everybody but to see potentially millions of dollars just disappear doesn’t sound very socialist me. It sounds more like waste, but that is just my opinion.
I just look at business models like Tumblr that put the designers and the directories first. They create a marketplace and to my knowledge it is taking off big time. I mean there isn’t even a please donate before you download button. I don’t understand it. Even the Wikipedia is interested in securing it’s future through donations.
Android has a marketplace, Google Apps, Apple, Just about everyone. WordPress doesn’t even ask for a donation. (Unless I haven’t found it yet.)
Also… To my knowledge and I haven’t really researched it yet, but this is now a non-profit organization correct?
I am not a lawyer, no do I really follow WordPress. But to my knowledge non-profits can still make charitable donations and I think they can even pay staff.
I am just sort of asking out of concern, because I am sure there are substantially more people taking than giving back, and that could be seen by some as creating a debt to society.
But these are just my opinions.
I think you’re misunderstanding what WordPress is.
WordPress isn’t a business, nor is it an organization.
WordPress is a free, community developed and supported blogging platform.
Everyone involved in WordPress is a volunteer, no one is paid, and the server resources that power WordPress.org are generously donated by Automattic. As such, there are no expenses here, and charging for theme downloads would just be detrimental to community that has relied on the availability of free themes for years.
As flamenco mentioned above, there are several theme marketplaces out there that allow theme designers to make money if they so desire.
With that said, over a thousand themes have been made available for free in our directory by hundreds of theme designers. That in itself should be a statement of how the community wishes to operate.
As for donations, Matt Mullenweg established the WordPress Foundation “to ensure free access to supported software projects, protect the WordPress trademark, and fund a variety of programs.” They do accept donations.
@james – This is what I mean by wasted potential or potentially creating a debt to society.
WordPress.org is indeed an organization.
I’m not suggesting that WordPress begin selling magazine subscriptions, I’m just sort of curious why one of the most used blogging platforms in existence makes no effort to be socially responsible yet many take pride in its socialism.
That’s great for Matt. What about WordPress.org?
I can’t figure out why a donation button isn’t clearly visible on the website anywhere. There are potentially 16,000,000 people using that one template. If each of them contributed 1 cent to wordpress.org that’s alot of social responsibility.
I mean maybe WordPress educators would be more interested in the venue if it had a social cause?
I just don’t understand it as it currently is with WordPress.com being the company that it is, and WordPress.org being some sort of autonomous socialist machine that has no problem throwing away potentially millions of dollars without thinking twice. That’s all. It’s seems very strange to me.
I’m sure 16,000,000 templates doesn’t really equal 16,000,000 dollars but I don’t understand why nobody tries.
Of course this isn’t really something I have any real authority over, it is just something that I cannot for the life me understand and I am wondering why, because I can’t be the only one who thinks this way.
I am not sure, I understand the reasoning behind a community wishing to operate in a certain manner, and an organization that does not exist, either.
I am sure it is primarily upto that Matt person, however I think he wants the Organization to live on forever. How can that happen if it doesn’t exist as a business, or an organization?
Even the WikiPedia makes efforts to make people more socially aware as to what the WikiPedia actually does.
Maybe WordPress is an educational experience for programmers, and maybe it is a venue for people who want to participate in new media publishing? I don’t know that and I bet you that 16,000,000 people or so don’t even give it another thought.
Matt has stated many times he wishes he’d not named wordpress.com that. Confuses the he’ll out of people.
wordpress.org – a source for a free bit of software
wordpress.com – a free (OR pay for) blogging platform
WordPress Foundation – the foundation that owns the trademark on WordPress
And yes, WordPress Foundation DOES do social things much like WikiPedia. Read http://wordpressfoundation.org/
@ipstenu – I don’t disagree because I actually think I remember reading that years ago about the .com and .org split.
The .Org is right at the top.
So lets pretend worse case scenario, someone came to the wordpress website downloaded a free template and there a donate button or a mention of the wordpressfoundation project?
Maybe they would decide they didn’t want a wordpress anymore?
Let’s consider the current situation. 16,000,000 (maybe) Mystique themes alone are floating around the web and it hasn’t done anything except saturate the web with a template that is now more recognizable than Blogger. Jmo…
Where is WordPresses recognition to a laymen in that situation and how many of those 16,000,000 have any interest in the wordpress project at all.
I am not a socialist, but I can probably sound like one when I say that saturating the web with free templates that people want, without even making them aware of any sort of social responsibility they might have to the web industry/community/advancement of wordpress at all is robbery in every sense of the word. Not only is WordPress brand name trumped, the copy right is removed from a significant portion of them, and nobody makes a dime.
I do understand that there are other industries built from WordPress, and good for them. How many of them will give back to the project?
16,000,000 results in the search engine, and I don’t have the real statistics, is probably a significant amount of traffic, enough that WordPress could probably at the very least feature top donators list, like the showcase, maybe next to the recommended hosting list, or at the very least, ask people to donate a lousy dollar or two before downloading and link to the wordpress foundation.
I am not a lawyer. It’s not my business or my organization, I’m just considering the entire health of the web and peoples involvement in it and questioning why a brand with a such a huge reputation isn’t trying to hold people accountable for social responsibility. I only see 16,000,000 websites and not a dollar made for any interest except commercial personal gain which, if you are a socialist, I don’t understand. From a web developer perspective, I can’t see why people at the very least should not be reminded or encouraged to think that there is indeed a value attached to the WordPress brandname as is, whether they pay for it or not.
I am just concerned that FREE means worthless, and when there is a such a huge potential, it seem like FREE means wasted, and if WordPress.org did make money, that money could probably do a lot of things. Again, its not my business, I am not a lawyer, these are just my opinions, or criticisms.
I had a longer post, but the short is this. I’m afraid we’re going to have to agree to disagree.
Free isn’t wasted or worthless, and the shift in peoples’ thinking in the last 20 years has managed to change that old, archaic, view in everything from government to the news to big massive corporations. All of whom use WordPress (not all for free, some use .com for pay).
WordPress.org makes no money. They don’t WANT to.
WordPress.com makes money. They want to.
The WordPress Foundation takes donations and works to keep WordPress.org and similar products free.
It’s crazy. But it’s the crazy I can get behind 🙂
(As for supporting people who don’t give back. Well, the socialist in me wishes they would, but I lead by example. I suggest they donate. I donate. I’m not going to waste my time trying to make them. In my experience, that’s the surest way to make someone NOT do it!)
@ipstenu – Thats okay a long post is fine.
I am not saying that FREE means worthless, I am concerned that there is less value attached to an item and then as a result less value attached to a product/service, which in turn fuels consumerism to a point where there is very little social economic responsibility in the marketplace.
Why should a handful of volunteers work to build something great if…
1. 95% of the people using the something great will not appreciate the effort that went into it.
2. Potentially millions of dollars are lost for worthwhile causes. Lets say a fund was created for educating people with Asperger Syndrome and giving them jobs in the workforce?
I am not saying anyone has to try and make them donate, there can’t be much to making people aware of the WordPress foundation let alone the money it raises for WordPress.
I think by not setting an example or making no attempt to hold people accountable or make them more aware as to what it really does take to keep wordpress running, could be a long term potential debt to society.
So if there are 16,000,000 identical templates floating around, I don’t see it doing anything for WordPress specifically that a default install couldn’t, and those people who want a snazzy template should probably have the option to donate when they take.
That just kind of makes sense, otherwise it really is worthless, like tossing garbage on the ground when you are done with it. 100% of everybody who takes is not going to find a permanent home with WordPress most likely. Why not make them aware, humbly, just like you and probably alot of the other people here.
I just don’t understand why. What purpose does it serve otherwise to populate 16,000,000 websites all of the same skin all over the web anyways? Maybe for those who find a real value in the publishing of content, will feel better about knowing that perhaps a few less takers have taken the identical brand, because more people are aware that what they have taken has taken a lot of time and effort to produce and maintain.
Now I’m ranting for sure… But it’s just common sense.
It’s very hard for people to see how partially free business models might work. An analog is the music industry. The large music labels are completely baffled by this, of course. That’s why they’re not adapting, and they’re failing. Their iron-fisted previous control is gone. So all they have left is to sue people who supposedly “steal” their merchandise, and their mission becomes self-perpetuation, nothing more. Like the RIAA. But they don’t provide value, and they artificially kept prices up for years and years with their centralized control, so they’re not a victim, they’re the oppressor, and by gum, they don’t like the playing field being levelled.
The loose analogy to WP is that one can develop an interest in something with free stuff, and then charge for enhanced stuff, whether it be development, support, or what-have-you. You don’t get as rich because you don’t control the means of production. But a small vendor has a chance to make a living. Without paying all their money for crap software like Microsoft’s stuff, for instance.
And as far as helping society is concerned, I’d reckon that sites being built for zillions of small organizations makes it possible for them to have a voice, get contributions, and so on, and WP clearly has a significant role there.
You’re actually right, people are making less money. That’s reality, but the clock can’t be turned back. Sorry.
@flamenco – It is not hard to see how an open market operates.
To my understanding when an artists signs some sort of distribution deal and then people go outside the distribution channels to purchase pirated DVDs where the pirate profits from the sale, then sure it can called theft.
If somebody hops the fence to an artists concert it can be considered tresspassing. I am not a lawyer.
When somebody hears Elvis on the radio and they break out thier 8 Track tape recorder and magnetically record a copy for personal use. They’re probably not doing anything wrong.
I do not know the finer details.
So when 16,000,000 free and pretty good looking templates are all over the web, I have to wonder if there are some people out there who are thankful to the point at which they see they have no ability to give back to the WordPress project in terms money.
It’s not even a possibility right now.
I think it hurts your brand to have no social economic responsibility to the web community as a whole. Meaning I don’t believe you can see no evil, hear no evil, and do no good.
And I the think the free templates are a rampant proof of this.
That is pretty harsh on my part if you ask me. I think it applies considering the thread has reached this length.
And considering people are unaware that WordPress is actually it’s own entity. It is indeed an organization. I am not a lawyer. There is the .com, the foundation and the .org
@flamenco – I re-read your comments regarding Microsoft and other large software companies.
They profit the most from FOSS, I mean with exception of MS-DOS, PC-DOS, correct?
Google runs FOSS, This is a good video for you to watch.
There is no way visibly apparent way for you to give any money back to WordPress. That has nothing to do with the RIAA.
I mean recently MicroSoft Spaces ported thier whole user base to WordPress or something to that effect.
Mac09 was scrapped for BSD. The list goes on and on.
The clock doesn’t need to be turned back, and I am sure there are plenty of very profitable offshoots which can thank WordPress to one degree or another, I’m just questioning why 16,000,000 identical templates are all over the web. It is martyrdom? Is it an oversight? Maybe there plans for changes. Maybe it really does work the best.
I don’t really see it, and these are my opinions or criticisms.
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