The year 2007 might be known for many things, but for the WordPress community, it might be known for one additional thing: the rise in popularity of premium themes. Premium themes are themes which are usually of a high standard of quality, but since you’re paying something for them, it means that they aren’t available to everyone; more than that, paying for the theme usually gets you later upgrades if any should could out, and support when you’re installing them.
At a WordPress Conference in Argentina, its been revealed that WordPress will soon be releasing a WordPress Premium Theme Marketplace, which will allow WordPress Designers to promote their premium themes through a common site — which is in turn promoted throughout the WordPress-o-sphere.
This is something that I’m sure all WordPress Designers will want to keep in mind as the reported revenue share will be –gulp — 50% of the gross revenue per premium WordPress Design. For new designers, this will be an excellent opportunity for free exposure, but for more experienced designers who have made a substantial name for themselves, it may be something they’ll want to mull over; 50% is a lot to hand over, but on the other hand the kind of exposure that you might get through such a marketplace is something that is hard to put a dollar figure on, particularly if it does well (as I’m sure you’ll be able to sort through “most popular” themes).
One issue that still remains to be seen if the premium themes marketplace is strictly for WordPress.com hosted blogs, or, whether or not you’ll be able to download themes for independently hosted blogs. More on all of this as details come from the horse’s mouth in the upcoming days and weeks, I’m sure.
Update: In fact, the Themes Marketplace is only for blogs hosted at WordPress.com; because they will be forced to be GPL-licensed, they will be “free to .org users”. More details at Matt’s site, but I’m reading this to mean that .org users will be able to download these themes gratis. Which, he acknowledges could encourage people to leap to a self-hosted site. If anyone else can figure out these economics let me know.[tip: the inimitable Marshall @ Read/Write/Web]