i didn’t really have a conclusion for this post, can you tell?

Oh, Design Vitality threw some themes up for people to vote on. [dies of shock]

They had seven whole entries, so obviously it was worth making the deadline a moveable feast. Voting closes on Monday, but since I gave up on this one before I even entered it, I’m not going to beg for votes again. If for some unlikely reason you wish to own your own copy of Auric (perhaps you are addicted to sidebars and/or bling) don’t download it from them, download it from me, for they have of course added their own link to the footer and very Matt-unfriendly it looks too.

Would it count as volunteering if I were to write an article about .com-specific things that theme designers should take account of if they’re planning on exploiting people’s stupidity by selling them the right to use free themes participating in the theme marketplace? (I’m thinking big blue navbar, avatars, proprietary widgets, global tagegories, the smiley, ads…) My concern is that most theme designers are unfamiliar with wordpress.com, and I don’t have a lot of faith in Automattic’s willingness to volunteer this information. What they’ll do instead is say ‘oh, we’ll sort that out for you’, but I’m not sure everyone would be happy to hand control over something like comment avatar display to a bunch of people who are into unstyled forms and big teal buttons. On the one hand, I’m disinclined to help the carpetbaggers. On the other, people who pay for ‘premium’ themes are entitled to expect something designed with wordpress.com in mind, rather than wordpress.org themes which have been hacked about a bit by staff. I don’t know. Meh.

6 Comments »

  1. Andrea said

    Well,if you did decide to write such an article, it would be helpful to those running MU. Or maybe you could tweak the focus slightly towards that audience. (Not all MU admins like the BBH.)

    Hmm, would helping those who run similar sites using WPMU eventually help drive people away from wp.com?😉

  2. Adding links to the footer? I think that takes the cake as far as shitty wordpress theme competitions go.

  3. @Andrea: slightly OT, but in your opinion what are the best/most reliable MU sites out there? I’m always a bit wary of sending people to directories because so many MU installs seem to be fly-by-nights that shut down or let their domains expire.

  4. Andrea said

    I wish I had a definitive list, because the most reliable ones I’ve seen (and thus most succesfull) are more of a niche network of blogs.

    *points to edublogs (for eudcators), thunderlounge (for NASCAR fans), unblog.fr (en Francais), realsportsbloggers (sports fans) and homeschoojournal.net (for home educators – that’d be me😀, even if I am tiny in comparison ).

    I think many people start out trying to be the next wp.com, but really have no idea what they’re getting into, or get incredibly frustrated with development. Or all kinds of other reasons like they don’t make oodles of money right away or at all. It’s alsmost liek the early days of regualr WP – if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s an uphill battle and incredibly frustrating, as the big guys aren’t going to give up much goodies (from a business perspective, why would they), and if you do know what you’re doing, you won’t need more than one of their famous “hints” anyway.

    I should probably go over (again) the big list that Andrew compiled here in the sidebar – http://andwat.edublogs.org/2006/01/19/50-wpmu-hosts/

    Reminds me of trying to search for a decent livejournal alternative too, just to go on another tangent.

  5. Reminds me of trying to search for a decent livejournal alternative too, just to go on another tangent.

    Yes, people have been setting up livejournal clones for years, but it’s difficult to find a balance between withering away through neglect (because there aren’t enough signups and/or the founder doesn’t have the time or skills to run it properly) and outgrowing your capacity (too many signups leading to server outages, ads plastered all over to cover costs, etc.) That’s probably why the most successful MU hosts are niche sites, because there’s a ready-made userbase but it’s unlikely to grow too large too fast.

  6. Kissing Bandit said

    They had seven whole entries, so obviously it was worth making the deadline a moveable feast.

    They probably moved the deadline because they realized that 7 themes wouldn’t build them nearly enough backlinks.

    -KB

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