Seeing “sponsored” text ad links on WordPress themes is probably not new to bloggers. My earliest memory of this sort of link marketing gimmick was when I first contributed the Pink Beauty Theme and browsed other themes on the repository. I was wondering how could there be links to some flower delivery shop (or something like that), wherein naturally, the footer link would point to theme designer’s site.
Lately, there’s been a small discussion going around the WordPress Theme Viewer, particularly on some of the themes created by Themey, a designer who auctions WordPress Themes for sponsorship, then uploads them to gallery.
A blogger named Garry Con, expressed his points against spamming the themes with advertiser links. What I understood from his statements is that designers like Themey are taking advantage of the WordPress themes users’ base in order to earn by publishing advertiser links on the themes.
As one of the many bloggers who have contributed to the Theme Viewer, I’ve foreseen this issue coming out and I’m concerned at how other bloggers see it. To be honest, I too, am guilty of placing advertiser links on the footer of four of my publicly released themes, albeit a little more discreet than how Themey does it. My works might have partially offended Garry. However, I won’t be apologizing for the following reasons:
- The themes repository does not implicitly warn against having link advertisements on the themes. Only the codex has listed a technical guide to creating themes.
- The moderator/maintainer of the theme repository himself doesn’t state his objections to these paid advertising linking “strategies” (if I may call it). There’s one time when he reset the stats of a particular theme, as a penalty for spam downloading to boost its download stats.
- I have seen blogs who do not properly comply with my conditions for using the themes. There are even porn advertiser sites using my them (esp. Pink Beauty). But did I ever fret when I didn’t like what they have done? I think its up to the bloggers themselves to keep what’s necessary and scrap those that are not needed on their blogs.
- I agree with some of Garry’s points but there are a lot of motives to distributing “free things” and contributing to Open Source. I’m sure a lot would agree that it’s not only the feeling of altruism that drives creators to share their works. Let us also count being recognized in the craft where they excel, and of course, gaining feedback in order to improve their services/products.
- Let’s say that along the growth of your reputation comes the financial gain. But sometimes, aren’t we all a little too impatient for that to come? Again, it says something about our own personal values. Do we value what others think about us more than what could benefit ourselves? What if you really want to share something, yet the monetary part is just too irresistable to ignore. You could hit two birds with a stone. And it doesn’t matter anymore what other people would think about you.
- Honestly, these little financial incentives really boost up my morale. Not because of the amount itself, but because there’s someone out there who appreciates your work and willing to spare some money for it.
And so I’ve been contemplating whether to continue contributing and “accepting” advertising links on the future themes I’m going to make. Perhaps I’ll just change the terms on using the theme. Oh, well.