Friday, November 7, 2008

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The Ethics of Selling Premium WordPress Themes

Posted: 07 Nov 2008 10:21 AM CST

A little over a month ago, Brian Gardner of Revolution Themes made a bold and brave move when I decided to convert his business model to something closer in line with the spirit of open source.   With this change came a lot of questions, with the primary question being what would happen to people who purchased these themes?  Were they screwed?

After his initial announcement, Brian quickly addressed the concerns of his “clients” by explaining that all existing themes would never be made available for free and would be retired.  The new open source business model will instead contain only 100% new themes.   Brian held true to his word and the 8 themes available at the launch of Revolution Two were all completely new.  The old site was taken down and the old themes are now gone for good.

In a different, yet similar situation, Woo Themes recently celebrated their first birthday (birthday includes 8 months under the name of Premium News Theme).   In what turned out to be a controversial move, they actually released a copy of their original premium theme for free to the public.   Unfortunately, this is the exact same theme that a large number of people paid $79.95 or $99.95 for (the original price for the first 8 months) and these people were not happy about this.   Many others who bought other themes from Woo Themes were also concerned that a theme they had paid for may also later be released for free.

According to the Blog Herald, here is the official response from Woo Themes:

We don't believe that releasing a year old theme for free infringes on our users' rights, as they have not only bought a theme from us, but also all the goodies that goes along with that purchase (in terms of support, tutorials, theme-specific customization help etc.). We have also been in touch with all of our users and worked out an acceptable situation internally.

Now, I have no idea what the workout was (I’d guess buyers got to pick another theme of their choice for free?), but I think it at least begs the question, what are the ethics involved with selling premium WordPress themes?  

The niche as a whole has already taken a significant hit with the launch of Revolution Two, and other theme designers have been stepping up and releasing premium-quality themes for free as well.   I think for the premium WordPress themes market to survive over the long haul, theme authors need to come together and some standards need to be put into place and followed.   If not, there is a good chance that buyers will lose trust in these designers and the niche will suffer or disappear completely as a result.

What do you think?  If you pay money for a WordPress theme, what priviledges are you entitled to as a buyer?

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New Premium WordPress Plugin: Introducing Auction Thumbs

Posted: 07 Nov 2008 02:00 AM CST

Though there are a large number of free WordPress plugins available to meet most WordPress blogger’s needs, generally speaking, when you are looking for a quality affiliate marketing plugin, you’re going to need to browse through the premium WordPress plugins available.

In today’s post I want to introduce you to a new premium plugin named Auction Thumbs.   For people that maintain a WordPress blog which discusses products that convert well on eBay, this plugin might be very profitable for you!

How Does Auction Thumbs Work?

If you’ve ever used BANS or another software to build an eBay niche store that takes advantage of eBay’s affiliate program, then you’ll have a general idea how this plugin works.   Auction Thumbs allows any WordPress user to fully integrate eBay’s affiliate program into their blog in just a few minutes.

Simply activate the Auction Thumbs plugin, enter your eBay campaign code (you can generate one in your eBay Partner Network account), and select where you want to place your ads.   With this plugin, you can easily display your eBay ads in any/all of the following places:  display a gallery of thumbnails, display pictures below each post, or as a widget in your blog’s sidebar!   By default, thumbnails will immediately show up in the footer of every current and archived post on your blog upon activation, but it comes with a fully configurable admin panel so you can control everything from the WordPress dashboard.

The plugin will then display relevant auctions (it matches the tags assigned to your post with eBay’s inventory) and when someone clicks on it, they are taken to that eBay auction.   Of course that is only the beginning, as a 7-day cookie is placed in their web browser and you get a percentage of EVERYTHING that person buys during that time.

The author lists the following features which are included with the purchase of Auction Thumbs:

  • No messing with script or programming - add Auction Thumbs through standard WordPress plugin administration
  • Installation and configuration can be done in a few minutes
  • Thumbnail size, border color, count are all configurable
  • Track revenue granularity with up to four eBay campaign numbers

Quick note about Auction Thumbs: PHP 5 and curl need to be running on your server. Please ask your hosting provider whether they are present on your server if you are unsure. It will not work on PHP 4.

Where Can I Purchase Auction Thumbs?

If you decide you want to purchase auction thumbs, it normally only costs $47.00, but WPHacks.com readers can use promo code “promocode” to receive $10.00 off, meaning you can use this plugin on unlimited sites for only $37.00!

To give you an idea of this plugins potential value, when I purchased BANS a few years ago (costs $97.00), I made that investment back in under a month and a half.  Everything after that was pure profit and is still providing steady income today.  I’ve been using Auction Thumbs for a few days now on my video game blog and my book review blog, where I expect this plugin to convert well, and expect more of the same success as I’ve enjoyed with Build a Niche Store.

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How To: Adding a “Tweet This” Button to Your WordPress Theme

Posted: 06 Nov 2008 07:21 PM CST

Are you following the WordPress Recipes blog?    If not, you really should be!   My fellow blogger and friend Jean-Baptiste Jung has created this blog to feature a number of “recipes” or code snippets.   In addition to the content, he’s also got a great design that has been getting attention all throughout the blogosphere.

In his latest recipe, Jean explains how to add a “Send to Twitter” link to your blog, or what I prefer to call it, a “Tweet This!” link.   The idea is to add a link on your blog (usually below the content) that people can simply click to discuss the post on Twitter.

If you’d like to add a “Tweet This!” link to your blog, here is the code you’ll need:

<a href="http://twitter.com/home?status=Currently reading <?php the_permalink(); ?>" title="Click to send this page to Twitter!" target="_blank">Tweet This!</a>

I would think that this could potentially be another great way to fetch traffic, possibly even better than a “Digg This!” link or something else along those lines.

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