Author driven pricing on Themeforest is now active

(Gerasimos) #1

You can now buy PSD templates for $10,000,000

and WordPress themes for $13

These certainly are interesting times we live in :joy:

(Charlie Livingston) #2

Exciting times indeed! Looks like none of the top 50 most popular themes have changed their prices yet, except Avada up $1 from $59 to $60.

I thought that most authors would wait to see what the top guys did before making changes, but seems like quite a few have changed prices already.

I don’t understand Dan (GhostPool) lowering so many of this themes to $13. That means, after Envato’s $12 fee, he’s making less than a buck per sale. And he’s based in London according to his profile!

My hope is that some of the big guys will raise prices to $99 or so, because they have the brand strength to do that.

EDIT: actually maybe some of the prices haven’t updated from the popular list, as looking manually KALLYAS has gone up to $69 and that’s a top 15/20 theme.

(Gerasimos) #3

Well, I think their tactic is: Lower price > More sales > Popular items list > Increase price > Repeat. Not sure how buyers will react on the long-term though seeing, let’s say 50%, of the popular items under $20. I’m really curious to see what the popular items list will look like next week.

(Leland Fiegel) #4

This is what I was thinking too.

It’s a gamble though, and could totally backfire. Hopefully their themes are well-developed and well-documented so they don’t get inundated with support requests.

(Charlie Livingston) #5

I don’t think that will work as a tactic. It isn’t as simple as lower prices = more sales. In fact, from what I’ve seen selling our own themes on our site, lower prices can deter buyers because it implies a lesser quality product. If you’re comparing two themes, one’s priced at $49 and one at $30, you’re going to assume that there’s a reason one is priced higher than the other.

Also, selling themes at $19 (or whatever) isn’t really sustainable. Say you release a new theme and start selling it at $19 to boost sales, manage to get into the more popular list, now you have to raise your prices. OK, but at the same time there will be new authors in your category launching new themes, having seen what you’ve done, for $19. At some point buyers have to pay prices that are sustainable for the authors or the whole system collapses.

(Leland Fiegel) #6

Couldn’t agree more.

I’d imagine the $13 theme sellers will rethink their strategy pretty soon.

(Gary Bairead) #7

Perhaps one way to prevent authors gaming the ‘most popular’ list would be to base it on the amount of revenue a theme makes, instead of using the number of sales as the determining factor.

(Leland Fiegel) #8

Yeah, I mean the popular list could’ve (theoretically) always been gamed. It’s a common (not saying it’s ethical, to be clear) strategy with any sort of best seller lists (books, apps, etc.). But basing it off of gross sales instead of volume puts everyone on a level playing field, and just makes way more sense now that prices can be wildly different.

I’d be surprised if they don’t make this change soon, if they haven’t already.

(Miroslav Glavić) #9

with all due respect, all of you (including me) are sort of biased.

The average non-geek, non-techie, non-whatever else is not to pay $59.

Most people are beyond cheap.

I tell my clients to buy the plugin/theme themselves. Here is link, buy it. Send me the .zip file you get. A theme that is $39…most clients will tell me that is a rip off, so $59 and up…

I think the most I paid for a theme for one of my own sites was $129 (it included a year worth of updates).

(Adam Mulholland) #10

I have been searching around to read different thoughts on the pricing model. I don’t sell anything on Envato, but I buy a lot of stuff and Envato needs a lot of me’s. My first thought of this is “great, the sellers have more control”. Then I started checking to see what my usual developers were doing and it was moving prices up. None went down. As a buyer on this platform I am looking at great items that fill my need but are within reason of price.

I am going to write a blog post to cover some of this. I want to see some thoughts on both sellers and buyers sides. I personally think this might push piracy, or at least see a slow down in sales. I know I had to rethink a purchase I was going to make about 24 hours ago. There are many plugins on CodeCanyon for example that are solid for $20, but at $25 I will keep looking. Not because I am cheap, but because I expect more at certain price points and this doesn’t apply to everything. I am speaking about one plugin.

I might be one of the few that does not equate price to quality. Especially when I know there is a review process that each item has to go through. I bought 2 licenses of Avada and I think it’s worth the price, but there are other $59 themes that aren’t even in the same ballpark. This is where reviews become more important. I plan on starting to review items to help manage quality over price.

I believe in the seller making money from their work. What concerns me is the over pricing without other alternatives. I have to see that play out so we’ll see. I am just trying to take it all in.

(Ben) #11

That may be true - but I think client education can help (and will have to if everyone on ThemeForest raises prices).

If you were to explain that you can make a theme from scratch for them, and that would cost them 2 weeks * your hourly rate - or they could spend $200 and have everything ready this week - I think the choice is clear.

Disclaimer - I dislike the race to the bottom - it’s not sustainable (or even fair on the developer). My cheapest theme is $79 and my most expensive is $129 - and I sell enough to live comfortably.

(Ben) #12

So a change in price of $5 is enough to put you off buying something? That’s a shame.

Cheap prices hurt the overall WordPress ecosystem. Having cheap themes and plugins means clients think they can get everything cheap including the people they hire to setup their sites.

(Adam Mulholland) #13

That’s what you took out of my comment? Let me clarify my point. A $20 plugin wasn’t actually worth $25 because it only does half of what it says it will. So at $25 with zero change, it doesn’t deserve to be in my portfolio of plugins. The author got to charge more, that’s simply the case. So either I wrote my point poorly or you had your eye on something else. I will assume I wrote poorly.

Just in case: $5 is not a big deal. It’s the point…

Competition keeps the overall ecosystem in check. There really isn’t much more to say on that. It’s been fairly consistent for the past 15 years.

(Gary Bairead) #14

Most popular plugins and themes are already available for free on file sharing sites offering “nulled themes”.

If increasing prices results in fewer sales, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For example, I’d rather sell 50 themes at $100 than 100 themes at $50 - it means reduced support costs. While gross income would be $5k in both scenarios, there would be a higher net profit at the $100 price point. Based on my own personal experience, it’s people who want ‘cheap’ products who also tend to submit the most support requests too.

WordPress products are generally still underpriced relative to the value they provide. There are a large number of “WordPress implementors” who make a living by purchasing a $59 theme or $29 layout plugin, then use those cheap tools to create client sites that they sell for hundreds or thousands.

At the other side of that process is a number of Elite authors on Envato who have been forced to restart doing client work (or have part-time positions elsewhere) due to them struggling to make a decent standard of living in todays market.

One recent trend on TF has been themes designed for construction companies. I think a profitable construction company should pay more than $60 for a theme that helps create its online home, as one example. Author driven pricing removes that artificial price ceiling, which I think is a good thing.

(Ben) #15

If a plugin doesn’t do half of what it says it will do then it’s probably not worth $20 even - since it’s not solving the problem it says it solves. Totally agreed with that. However you said the plugin was solid - which I read as meaning it’s good.

(Ben) #16


That’s my experience too

(Miroslav Glavić) #17


I am not for what you called it? Race to the bottom?, I am not for theme/plugin authors creating theme/plugin and thinking they are hot shit thus charging $400 for a theme.

I support competition. Higher Price ≠ better quality. Just like Lower Price ≠ shitty theme/plugin.

I looked at your themes (you posted link to your themeshop somewhere else not in this thread) and they are not bad. I am not going to pay $650 for any of your themes, no matter how much you offer me, except if you offer me a coffee, I will put in $100 more on what I pay.

Most people just care that their website works, they don’t care how and do it for the least amount of money.

(Miroslav Glavić) #18

by the way, the whole race to the bottom…I don’t want to say bullshit but something meaning that.

You have an .uk site so I will assume you are in the UK.

The standard of living in the UK, specially in London. Canada and USA are higher.

The standard in let’s say India and Pakistan tend to be lower. Things are more expensive in UK, Canada, USA and so forth.

You can easily get a theme for $200-$300 from scratch if you hire someone in India or Pakistan.

A theme from scratch…if someone hires someone in the UK, Canada, USA would have the word THOUSAND in the invoice.

I can hire someone in from Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria or Ukraine and be a lot cheaper. it doesn’t mean it’s a race to the bottom.

Just because I pay someone from Serbia or Ukraine $200 for a theme from scratch, it doesn’t mean it s lower quality theme from a new theme if I hired somebody in the UK.

Disclaimer, I have hired people from the UK, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine. I live in Canada. I hired them because the content of the sites I hired to help me with were if the languages in those countries. UK was just because I knew the guy.

(Gary Bairead) #19

There will always be people who only want the cheapest product available in any market, but there are also people who will pay more for an iPhone despite other lower-cost phones having similar or better specs (battery life, physical memory etc).

If themes become interchangeable commodities, then what will ultimately separate them will be factors other than the theme code itself - the purchasing and setup experience, the quality of support, an ecosystem of third-party developers & add-ons around the product, branding and marketing etc.

An example of this is the hosting market. Why would somebody pick Godaddy over Bluehost? One reason might be Godaddys new onboarding experience - this differentiates them, they’re not just competing on price. They’re not competing on hosting infrastructure either tbh, Godaddy still only uses PHP5.5 atm.

If one company only provides support and documentation in English, another company could charge more so that it could provide support in multiple languages.

If theme authors are in this for the long haul, they need to be able to compete on things other than price. If price is the main determining factor in a persons decision to purchase a theme, then it would probably lead to a race to the bottom.

If author driven pricing leads to a wider spectrum, that’s healthy. There’s a lot that authors could learn from looking at other markets. Instead of just focusing on how the theme market looks now, they should also think about how it might look 5, 10, or 15 years from now.

(Zackary Allnutt) #20

It’s not a matter of hey we can raise the prices and arbitrarily do so. The original prices were forced and out of our control. Now we get to price how we would price and how many other price off themeforest.