WooThemes Releases Premium Theme for Free, Customers in the Middle Again

Filed as Features on November 6, 2008 3:11 am

WooThemesYou might remember us (me, mostly) giving Brian Gardner a hard time about his decisions regarding the Revolution Theme, a successful premium WordPress theme, and his move to Revolution Two. Older customers got in the middle, and we talked about that in an interview.

Well, now it seems as if WooThemes is doing something similar. In a late “we’re 1 year old” birthday post, they’re offering The Original Premium News Theme for free, which was the first premium WordPress theme released by Adii, one of the people behind the WooThemes project.

So won’t the people that paid money for that particular theme be a bit pissed off that now thousands of blogs might use it?

I asked Adii that question, and had an interesting discussion about the matter in fact. This is his statement regarding releasing The Original Premium News Theme:

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 customisation help etc.). We have also been in touch with all of our users and worked out an acceptable situation internally.

Fair enough, I guess. Personally, I’d be a bit pissed off if I bought a theme because I didn’t want my blog to look like everybody else’s, and then suddenly anyone can download the theme for free, but maybe that’s just me. Also, I don’t know what the “acceptable situation” is, so it all boils down to individual cases.

Still, it is interesting to see another premium news theme suddenly ending up for free download. This raises some questions as to how certain a buyer can be that his premium theme of choice will stay premium in the long run. After all, buying a premium themes (and design in general) is all about getting something that is fairly unique and not too widespread.

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  1. By dinu posted on November 6, 2008 at 6:09 am
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    great news indeed !!!


  2. By Gary posted on November 6, 2008 at 7:27 am
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    This is one user who was never contacted about the change who is a bit unhappy with the news. However, it’s something I can’t do a whole lot about so it doesn’t make sense to spend much time being upset about it.


  3. By redwall_hp posted on November 6, 2008 at 2:05 pm
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    The way I see it, a premium theme isn’t much better than a free theme in terms of uniqueness. Anyone still *can* download it, it will just cost them some money. If you want to look unique, make your own design, or use a premium/free theme as a starting point for a unique design.


  4. By K.L. posted on November 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm
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    Good news for wordpress user
    Bad news for wordpress theme developer

    They are earn the money and then bring industries down.
    I can guess the real main reason why those theme goes free.
    but if that reason, and old theme are goes free .
    who will pruchase premium theme ?

    I think this is not a users’ rights issue, do you think of what the buyer feeling ? all LV bags are free, will it add value to buyers….


  5. By app posted on November 6, 2008 at 8:54 pm
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    Buying a theme just to have your blog not look like anybody else’s is kind of silly. You can accomplish that with a free theme + customizations.

    These 2 sites are using the same theme, yet they really don’t look alike at all, beyond the blue stripes on the sidebar:



  6. By Magnus Jepson posted on November 7, 2008 at 11:52 am
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    Hei Thord,

    I believe that releasing a Original PNT for free after one year doesn’t put the customers in the middle. Things move fast… very fast online. You can think of it as buying a mobile phone. Once you buy it then it is the smartest thing out there, but after several years it has lost over half it’s value and more…

    I’m not saying phone manufacturers are giving away phones for free (as they have production costs), but I’m saying that the value of a theme depreciates just like a car, and if we estimated the value of the theme today, 1 year after it was released, then it would probably have a price near $0 than $70, so that is our reason for putting this up as a free download.


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