Support » Everything else WordPress » Upselling in themes – what have I done wrong?

  • Dave Hall



    I submitted a theme for review a while ago. It was rejected and I’m now in the process of fixing it up to submit again.

    Here’s the trac link.

    Most of the feedback I understand (and really appreciate!). One thing I’m not sure about was this:

    I’ve checked out TRT Customizer Pro: it puts a link on the Customizer to download a Pro version of the theme. What I had done done however was to include a single sub-page under the Appearance section, which is also apparently allowed as per Explanations and Examples: Selling credits….

    So, apart from not using the exact method used in TRT Customizer Pro, I’m not sure exactly where I’ve fallen foul (as the method I’ve chosen is explicitly permitted, above).

    My intention is to sell theme-specific plugins, which will each expand the options available in the Customizer and Post/Page editor, rather than a single premium version. Is that in itself the problem?

    Or could it be that the actual content of my upselling page is the problem? On the upselling page (titled “Moreflower…”; my theme is called Wallflower) I have the following: links to the documentation, a Facebook group, support email address, and email address for custom design enquiries; a link to a feedback email address; links to current and planned plugins available to buy; a mailing list signup form; a link to tweet about the theme.

    I think it’s quite neat to have all this available in the back end, but would it simply be better to have all this on an external web page linked to via a button in Customizer, in the manner of TRT CP?


Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • I’m not expert, mind you, but reading the guidelines makes me think it might be the tweet link.

    The theme authors social media:

    – Social media links are allowed.
    – Social media “like”, “follow” and “share” buttons is not allowed.

    Dave Hall


    Thanks Jaaaarne. I accept that might be a problem – it’s essentially a “share” link, which I can take out (I just have, actually). Still I don’t think that’s what the reviewer would have been referring to when they said “This is not an appropriate way of implementing upselling”. I’m left wondering if it’s my plan to sell plugins or my plan to list them on the theme back end… or both!

    Perhaps you should reply in the Trac ticket for an explanation.

    Moderator bcworkz


    Like Justin said, you’d best ask the reviewer. The following is more in response to what you’ve said here and not directly related to getting your theme approved.

    The main take away from the upsell guidelines is that upselling must be unobtrusive. From your description here, it is quite the opposite. Your description sounds very obtrusive to me. It almost sounds like adware with some minor theme functionality. You should rethink your marketing plan. It should be a great theme on its own without constantly telling users every where that they are missing out on some great features.

    The theme should be so good on its own that when users see your unobtrusive upsell box they will follow the link to see what else you have because they like your theme so much.

    Frankly, even if what you are attempting were allowed, I and many others like me would immediately reject your theme out of hand due to obtrusive upselling. Providing a product I love is better marketing and incentive than being bombarded with reminders that I’m not getting what I need. Do not presume to tell me what I need 😉

    I know people telling you that you’re doing it all wrong can be hard to take when it involves a project you’ve worked very hard on. It feels like a personal attack. Attacking is the last thing I want. I want you to have the best theme possible. Yes, I’m being critical, but only in the hopes that you are able to improve your theme and make it as successful as possible. I wish you well.

    Dave Hall


    Thanks @bcworkz. I’m not quite sure if we understand each other. What I’ve included is a single page, included as a sub-entry under Appearance. That page includes support links and a list of a few plugins available for people who might be interested. The information doesn’t appear anywhere else on the back end, and the user will never see it unless they click on that link. This is explicity given as an example of what is permissible in the Theme Review documentation: “Only one sub-page is allowed under the Appearance section in the admin sidebar.”

    Is that what you understood from my description? If so, do you really think that qualifies as “obtrusive”? The only thing less obtrusive would be nothing at all!

    You’ve mentioned not wanting to be “bombarded with reminders” but I never mentioned anything like that. My theme, as it was submitted, bombards not a single user with a single reminder.

    I’m genuinely trying to get a grasp on what’s concerning you here, because I want to produce a theme people will enjoy using. So I do want to know if you’re reacting to the facts of the situation or something you’ve imagined that I don’t recognise: “adware with some minor theme functionality”. How did you get that idea? I’m talking about a fully functioning theme, to which, like any theme, you can add plugins for specific purposes to make it do even more. I’ve re-read my post for traces of ambiguity, but I really don’t see it.

    Anyway, I’ll follow up with the reviewer. I wasn’t sure that I could still do that now that the ticket status is “closed”. Thanks.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Dave Hall.
    Moderator Jan Dembowski


    Forum Moderator and Brute Squad

    I’ve moved this to Everything else WordPress as this is not a Developing with WordPress topic.

    *Drinks coffee*

    @icanmakeyouwebsite As told above theme reviews (and plugin reviews) aren’t a matter of public opinion and you are having this conversation in the wrong place. You need to reply and deal with the issue in that trac ticket.

    As Justin wrote, and he would know best, that is the place that you must reply. Having a conversation here doesn’t matter and won’t help you in any way. The last time you replied there was 7 months ago.

    *Drinks more coffee*

    In a perfect world, and once I am made Great Emperor of The Universe By Critical Acclaim™, then there would be no upselling in any WordPress theme or plugin. Upselling isn’t the purpose of putting any code here. It’s an honest expression of contributing to the community your theme or plugin.

    Yes, upselling is allowed and done appropriately that’s fine. But again, this isn’t the place for that discussion. That trac ticket is.

    Dave Hall


    Thanks Jan. I’m learning lots here.

    Moderator bcworkz


    I’m staying in this thread and not taking it to Trac because my thoughts are unrelated to theme approval, they are just perception issues from a potential user.

    I’m sorry Dave, I’ve misunderstood your description. This phrase could be taken two different ways if not parsed carefully:
    > “My intention is to sell theme-specific plugins, which will each expand the options available in the Customizer and Post/Page editor”

    I know what you intended now, I initially took this to mean you had non-functioning items in the customizer that expand to upsell that feature! You can imagine how offensive such a scheme seemed to me!

    As to what you are really doing, a separate upsell page. IMO that is still too much. It’s essentially a full page ad in my site. Such information is fine, but on your site, not mine. An unobtrusive small ad linking to such information is what I would be fine with.

    From the tone of your response, it seems I’ve touched a nerve and put you in a defensive posture. That’s completely understandable. As a friendly heads up, you will get even worse criticism that is even more unfounded than mine. You will be well served to remain calm and respond professionally and effectively in such circumstances. It will be very difficult, but it’s necessary for the best overall success.

    I also think you really are trying to understand where I’m coming from, so thank you for listening. I’m truly sorry I’ve misinterpreted what you described and caused you some discomfort. All the best.

    Dave Hall


    @bcworkz Thanks for being a gent. My suspicion that there was some misunderstanding was apparently correct, which is reassuring. I totally agree that having options in the Customizer visible but not available would be very annoying. (I think this is explicity outlawed in the documentaion anyway.)

    In conclusion to all this I think I’ll go wih your suggestion to include just a link and put all the info on an external site. It’s neater and also I guess means I can update it more regularly without having to release a theme update (that not everyone will download anyway).


Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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