Array is moving back onto ThemeForest

Mike McAlister posted a year-in-review for this theme shop, Array. Lots of interesting bits there on his first year after leaving ThemeForest to found his own shop. It looks like he’s now moving back onto ThemeForest (non-exclusive). And he’s dropped his prices back from $69 to $49.

It seems like Array isn’t doing that bad – they claim “thousands” of new customers in the last year. Certainly that’d be cause for celebration in my world. :slight_smile: But it sounds like they’re just looking for extra reach, and maybe diversifying as well. It’d be interesting to know more about what traffic channels are converting for them on Array. I know that’s something I worry about from time to time.

Also, don’t miss the comments. Mike makes a couple of replies that address freemium models, pricing for your niche, and more.

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I love insights like this!

I was curious about how Creative Market was for selling WordPress themes, and this kinda confirmed my beliefs that it wasn’t all that. It’s a great marketplace for all sorts of creative items, but the focus clearly isn’t WordPress. I suppose it can’t hurt to have it listed there, even with meager sales numbers.

This brings us back to the classic WP Chat discussion: you’re starting a theme business. Should you sell on ThemeForest?

I ragged on TF pretty hard on that thread, but even before reading Mike’s article, I have recently started to change my mind. Even with the 50% starting share (for exclusive items), think of how much it would cost to advertise and get the same reach as ThemeForest. It almost seems like a bargain now.

I think for a theme shop launch today, emulating Array’s strategy of TF exclusive -> independent -> TF unexclusive is probably the most effective way to go.

Hey guys, thanks for the share! As Nate mentioned, check out the comments for a little more insight into our decision. It seems as though some folks have taken this news the wrong way, and assume that we’re being forced back onto ThemeForest or that we’re cutting back on Array, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. I anticipated that some would read it this way, and that’s fine. Welcome to the internet! :wink: Array is still our focus, but we’ll also have some of our themes available on ThemeForest for increased exposure, simple as that.

There have been some notable changes at ThemeForest, and even more coming up soon that influenced our decision to put select themes on there going forward. One of the things is the renewable support option. ThemeForest purchases won’t have unlimited support or downloads for much longer, it will require a renewable subscription of sorts. This is long overdue but will be warmly welcomed by those who have felt the hit of unlimited support.

ThemeForest is always going to be a huge marketplace with huge marketplace implications, there’s no way around that, but I think each author can decide how they want to leverage it to work best for them. Unfortunately, there is no magic solution that will work for everyone, it just takes a lot of time and experimentation. This time around, we’re using it more strategically, and I’ll be happy to share those results when I’m able to quantify them.

Congrats on the success so far, @mikemcalister.

I totally understand the move to TF, at the end of the day, everyone can tell you to raise your prices and charge more but you need distribution & sales to push things along.

Like your experiences with waiting for theme approval in other markets, it’s the same if not worse on .org, unfortunately. Waiting months to get approvals and to push new updates for themes is something that makes jumping to another distro channel very attractive.

I’m interested in seeing how you manage the support on both fronts and also seeing (if) where you push paid channels towards – TF or home base.

One day I’ll get you on the show to talk about it. wink wink

I missed this thread 10 days ago, but had some things to add. I read Mike’s post and I was also a bit surprised by the move. Like Nate said, thousands of customers would probably lead to a few bottles of champagne being opened in my house. At the same time, I admit I do not (yet) know the inner workings of running a theme shop, so I’m in no position to judge.

I’m about to set up my own site and put a lot more effort into creating WordPress themes. The fact that I keep hearing it takes lots of time for a theme to get approved on .org is making me doubt a little my initial plan. I removed some of my older themes from ThemeForest and was actually thinking of cutting the cord once I gain some traction elsewhere, but Mike’s move and some articles I read recently might make me update and polish my existing themes instead.

Building an audience is no easy task and even with a few thousand eyes on your products, those eyes can quickly turn to someone else’s product. ThemeForest is a flawed, yet valuable ecosystem for anyone in this business. As longs as you develop themes you’re proud of, that are built with both users and developers in mind, you should be ok. Right? Right? Well… that’s in an ideal world. In the real world, a lot of those themes barely generate a ripple in the ThemeForest pond, while themes with seminars built around them generate the big waves (sorry, I couldn’t help it). It’s a shame, but I haven’t lost all hope yet.

In the end, everyone’s business goals and even personal goals are different. For what we know, Mike might go all in on the whole craft beer thing. Or was it just Pippin who was into that? :smile:

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Yep, it really depends on how you want to leverage ThemeForest. If you can position yourself so you’re not dependent on it, rather have it be supplemental income, you’ll be on the right path. There are also other considerations aside from day-to-day sales such as brand exposure, market reach, etc.

Pippin is more of a brewer than I am, but I have definitely brewed a few beers of my own! My wife and I are actually opening a coffee shop in the near future, maybe that should be my exit strategy. :wink:

This was covered by @pollyplummer over at WP Tavern.

An interesting anecdote from @mikemcalister is in the comments.

Although I can’t go into this in too much detail, we are actually not operating at the typical non-exclusive author rates, as most would rightfully assume. We’ve worked out a mutually beneficial agreement with Envato that gives us a little more room for experimentation and bandwidth for providing quality support.

Normally Envato’s author fee for non-exclusive authors is 55%. Interesting that they’re willing to comprimise to bring a quality author back to the marketplace, even on a non-exclusive basis.

Apparently a lot of authors have special negotiated rates. It’d be interesting to know how many, who, and what the rates are. But who knows.

It’s nice to hear the non-exclusive rate is now 55% regardless of income. When I was looking into them a year and a half ago it started at 33% and capped at 50% once you earned enough. It looks like the max take of exclusive authors is higher too, topping out at 87.5%. That certainly changes the equation quite a bit. I lose ~15% of my revenue to affiliates running my own shop and I suspect a lot of people would easily blow ~25% of revenue on marketing.

I’m not sure how often this happens with other authors, actually. I’m sure there are several instances, but I would imagine not a ton. I can say that it wasn’t something that just happened overnight, rather required much consideration and discussion between myself and the folks at Envato to work it out. Since it comes at a cost to them, you can imagine they would want to be pretty selective of these situations.

If I had to guess, I would say my long-standing track record on the marketplace helped my cause. I’ve been lurking around ThemeForest since the early days, as early as 2008 when it was still called FlashDen. The times (and rates) have changed!

@leland and @NateWr, if you checked you need to be clear that ThemeForest now has confusing “buyer fee” and “author free”…

For example, for the price $100, buyer fee is $20… Then, $100-$20 = $80…
Then, author fee for non exclusive author is 55% x $80 = $44…
So, net author earning is $80-$44 = $36

The “real” non-exclusive rate is normally about 36% ! :smile:

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Thanks for pointing that out @agusmu. I read up a bit on the announcements for the Buyer’s Fee switch on Envato, and it seems pretty thin on explanations. It seems like it’s just a way for them to pretend they payout higher rates, taking 20% off the top and advertising their commission rate on the rest of it. That 36% is suspiciously close to the previous 35%. :smile: