vermillion

Adam continues picking up the Christmas slack with news of yet another dodgy wordpress.com theme.

Are there really so few decent themes out there that we have to go grubbing around adfarms and credit card sites and other people’s OS projects for them? Yes, there’s some content on that ‘amazing-christmas-ideas’ site, but the stress the theme page puts upon it being ‘a very SE-friendly design’ and ‘ideal for anyone that owns a blog or niche site about Christmas ‘ leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth. I hadn’t even heard of ‘niche’ sites before that wordpresstutorials.com story introduced me to the wonderful world of affiliate marketing. Sure enough, the other theme he’s offering is billed as:

…an excellent theme for anyone that wants to decorate their WordPress site for the Holiday season and perfect for business blogs or affiliate marketers blogging about Christmas gift ideas.

There is a distinction, it seems to me, between theme designers accepting sponsorship, and themes which are made or commissioned for the primary purpose of getting your link onto multiple blogs. I think Scott or theundersigned would have released their sponsored themes, sooner or later, regardless of whether a third party bought links on them. They’re theme designers. Making themes is what they do. But I don’t believe this guy would have bothered with a Christmas theme if there wasn’t any pagerank to be gained from the venture. He makes it very clear in the readme that you’re not allowed to tamper with his precious link:

but you must leave the credit in the footer intact with the link active and unaltered in any version of this template you create.

He really means that, you know. No no-following. That would make the whole thing worthless.

I have nothing against CC-Attribution licences, you understand. I’ve used them myself. The difference is that it genuinely wouldn’t bother me if people decided to slap a no-follow on the link. The link’s there because I spent time, effort and skill on this thing, so I’d kind of prefer it if people made it clear that I made it rather than them. I don’t even know what the PR on my long-neglected template site is these days. I didn’t make the templates to get traffic to my site. I built the site to distribute the templates. As I say, there is a distinction.

You know how you can tell a site that’s releasing themes for pagerank and advertising purposes? It isn’t a personal blog or a template site. That’s how.

I really don’t understand why Matt went to the trouble of negotiating the right to remove the link only to hand the guy all that lovely free wordpress.com pagerank and traffic anyway. Now every affiliate marketer and niche blogger and his dog are going to think that they can get a piece of the pie, and start throwing together gardening layouts! and food! and weddings! and travel! and debt consolidation! (I wonder what a debt consolidation theme would look like? Like it was designed by the dog, probably.) And even if they don’t get their links onto wordpress.com, they’ll get enough bites from .org users to make it worth their while.

So, let’s recap: if you’re a theme designer looking to cover your hosting and development costs and you accept a sponsored link from Flower Delivery Guy, this is BAD and your theme is banned from wordpress.com for evermore. However, if you are Flower Delivery Guy looking to increase your advertising revenue and you’re hosting the theme on your own site, this is fine and wordpress.com will be happy to give you all the linklove you can dream of.

I’m starting to think Matt just doesn’t like designers. It would explain a lot.

2 Comments »

  1. timethief said

    I was so excited about having a warm coloured theme on my blogs for X-mas. Then I found the advertising link at the bottom and it wiped the smile right off my face. Maybe I’m overly “testy” about the commercialization aspect. Maybe not.

    It’s hard to explain the following to those bloggers who email me: (1) yup there are adsense ads on your blog because Automattic contracted for them to be there;
    (2) nope, you can’t contract with adsense too and make some money off the ads on your blog; (
    (3) yup, all the revenue from adsense ads on your blogs goes to wordpress;
    (4) nope, the testing period is over;
    (5) yup, it was over in July.

    However, being a natural blonde has some built-in advantages and as you must have noted on the forum when I choose to play “dumb” I can be very convincing. http://wordpress.com/forums/topic.php?id=6193&replies=11

    So thanks wank for “straightening me out” on the forum. I figured that it would be either you or (sunburnt) kamel who would come behind me and illuminate our reality with clarity.

  2. […] every passing day, I become increasingly happier with the fact that I no longer use wordpress… ↑ Back to […]

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