but glue is sticky

This, I suppose, is the main point I’ve been trying to make:

Theme viewer is plastered with adsense and selling text links. It is cashing on efforts and hours spent by theme creators. WordPress.com cashes on user’s content by putting adsense on users blog. Moreover, WordPress.com’s TOS specifically forbids users to monetize their blogs in any way.

Isn’t this a trend where users & developers contribute to the community, and they are not allowed to make any money for their efforts. But, community owners make cash on the back of users, designers & developers.

And apparently bringing up Spamgate constitutes a ‘personal attack’. Whatever. I don’t think you can argue it’s irrelevant (though no doubt many fanboys would try). If nothing else, it explains the whole poacher-turned-gamekeeper stance. If nothing else, it is another example of Matt considering wordpress.org and wordpress in general as his personal property. If nothing else, it reminds us how the community, as a whole, were extraordinarily forgiving of how Matt abused their trust, and gave him a free pass for being a kid, and a Good Guy, and saying he was sorry. And how he’s not willing to extend the same tolerance to people who also might be young, and naive, and blinded by the dollars that SEO guys are waving in front of them.

Did Matt get kicked off wordpress.org for what he did? Don’t be silly. Mostly, he just learned he could pull any stunt he wanted and the fanboys would understand. After all, nothing he could do again would ever be quite that bad, whether it was ripping off other people’s templates without permission, or sneaking ads onto people’s blogs without warning them when they signed up, or that shady snap-preview-enabled-by-default thing. Most of that stuff is just screwing wordpress.com users anyway. Who cares about those no0bs? It would be so incredibly ungrateful of them to complain about all that great stuff they’re getting for FREE!

Which, in a sense, it would. I am not expecting this place to be run by moral paragons who are above reproach. What on earth would I have to write about, if it was? I just dislike the double standards, the sense that there is one rule for the people at the top and another for the ones at the bottom. I don’t like the holding of other people to a higher standard than that which you have set yourself, the expectation that they will behave better than you have done for less reward, or else be punished in a way you never were. I can’t, personally, accept that requiring linkbacks on a theme you’ve made yourself, or specifying non-commercial use, is ethically more dubious than stealing another person’s theme and claiming the credit for it, or advertising your commercial site in a plugin. Even though the lawyers might say that the former is illegal and the latter just dandy. I am not a lawyer, and this time there is no but.

8 Comments »

  1. adam said

    ravish’s comment is absolutely perfect, isn’t it?

    as i mentioned somewhere else, google is perfectly capable of distinguishing footer links from regular links (which makes the default blogroll all the more relavent), so matt’s arm-waving about the possibility of end users being penalized pure FUD. but of course, matt gets to broadcast a handful of times from our dashboards, where ravish is only visible to the people who suffer through 4 pages of fanatics.

    i find it utterly absurd that your comment got deleted. community is a pretty dream, isn’t it? but as i’ve said, one best left to the professionals.

  2. Matt said

    “And how he’s not willing to extend the same tolerance to people who also might be young, and naive, and blinded by the dollars that SEO guys are waving in front of them.”

    If you remember, I removed the links as soon as I had access to a computer, and never have done anything like it since, and proceeded to create the most effective web spam fighting service to date. I have nothing personal against any theme authors, if anything I’m more mad at the spammers for taking advantage of them, but if anyone wants to remove the links as I did I’d congratulate them.

    P. S. Personal attacks are getting old. Saying someone stole, ripped off, or lied is serious.

  3. I usually try not to get too personal, but honestly? When you start throwing your weight around like you’re wordpress personified it’s difficult to avoid.

    I don’t see any suggestion that you’ve lied in that post. You’ve accused me of being a liar before now but I’m generally careful not to return the favour. Yes, you removed the spam links when you got found out. Well done. Yes, you’ll congratulate theme authors who remove their spam links. Well done again. Did you ever bother congratulating the ones who never had them in the first place and funded their design activities out of their own pockets?

    The problem here is that two separate issues have been conflated. One, SEO people have cottoned on to the fact that links in WP themes are a really good way of getting pagerank. You can’t undo that now. They already know it. If they can’t bribe designers to put links on themes for them, they’ll make their own, like the Vermilion Christmas guy. That’ll be harder to fight, because they’ll be the authors and most people concede that a link back to the author is fair enough.

    Two, the work of WP themers is not valued sufficiently for there to be any real prospect of covering their costs (let alone actually making a profit) through selling their themes or even doing custom work. You must have missed the thread on wp-pro where people were complaining about the ludicrously low prices being quoted. You said yourself on WTC that the people making money are only in the ‘dozens’, and I’m willing to bet they’re doing some serious PHP and Ajax hacking to get there. Who, seriously, is going to pay even $10 for a theme when there are 2000+ (at the last count) available for free? This might not justify selling ad space on your themes, but it sure as hell makes it harder to resist the temptation.

    I’m OK with my time and skills being considered worthless, because I know I’m not that good, but I baulk a little at judging the time and skills of others to be worthless for that very reason. It’s a personal thing. I should probably get over it.

  4. […] here. There seems to be a lot of people for and against this whole Sponsored Themes Business. The wank makes some valid points I would like to add a few […]

  5. abelcheung said

    Wank, on an unrelated issue, I’d suggest you seriously considering creating a backup site in Blogger or whatever. If you continue like this you can risk your whole blog site removed.

  6. adam said

    haha, i think wank would have been removed a long time ago if that were true. too many people would notice her missing these days.

  7. Root said

    She is mandatory reading for all the Automattic dudes anyway.🙂

  8. Don’t fret, I do regular exports, and any posts made since I last backed up would be recoverable through the magic of bloglines or the Google cache.😉

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