Avoid using Creative Market as a seller

(Sonal Sinha) #1

Last year I came across Creative Market and as a seller it sounded promising to me.

Then i posted 47 of my themes all premium ones there for sale waiting for something good to happen and at least getting traffic from it if not direct sales.

Here is what happened:

  1. September to December 2016 all was fine with creative market with their market place helping us to get 30 sales.

Then all went bad suddenly starting 2017.

I had only 3 sales in January and then 4 sales in February as i write this. 5 of the sales were deemed as fraudulent after the sales happened and then buyer was refunded and my payout deducted.

Also Creative Market says it keeps only 30% so buyer gets 70% is another BS because it also deducts 15% tax i don’t know for what purpose as i am in India and no such tax laws applies to us.

So basically i ended up giving away my themes for free. I have been selling themes from 2013 and any fraud card when inserted raises a warning with the card processor algorithm so its not possible to raise a flag afterwards.

When i reviewed them 1 star in Facebook they asked me to contact them via ticket which i knew won’t help. So i did raise a ticket and here is the reply:

We marked your recents sales as coming from a fraudulent source because it tripped several of our internal flags. When that happens the transaction goes to the support team and we review and take action. In this case we refunded the card used and banned the buyer from the site. They would’ve still been able to download your product. The reason the flow is set up like this is because if we chose to review all transactions (even all suspicious ones) before allowing a download it would both result in a negative experience for the 99.8% of buyers who are legit as well as requiring a large team of human reviewers. I hope this makes sense. It’s a compromise we’ve found that works. The other point is that if you see your goods pirated elsewhere and see Creative Market mentioned we can help. here’s more information:


Please note that we cannot credit you back any earnings from this transaction because the funds came from a fraudulent credit card.
Brooke Sousa
Creative Market Support

If you are a SELLER just like me. AVOID THIS COMPANY And STAY FAR AWAY…

(Leland Fiegel) #2

I’ve had one sale (out of not very many) marked as fraudulent on Creative Market.

Sadly, this is just a part of doing business on the internet. I’d be hesitant to fault Creative Market for this. I know @BinaryMoon, for example, dealt with fraudulent payments quite a bit when selling directly.

And I get with their reasoning behind delivering the file even if a payment may be suspicious. You can’t justify crippling the experience for 99.8% (assuming that number is for real) of customers because the remaining 0.2% are bad apples.

If I recall correctly, that fraudulent payment I mentioned wasn’t marked as such for days after the purchase was made. I assumed it was a chargeback or something. In that case, there’s not much they can do. Credit card companies are very biased toward the consumer when it comes to disputes.

With that said, I don’t even bother adding new themes to Creative Market because there’s so little emphasis on WordPress themes. Looking at their homepage, there’s not a single WordPress theme featured.

It seems like they’re trying to compete more with GraphicRiver than they are ThemeForest. Which is fine, I’m sure it’s working out well for them, but as a (WordPress theme) seller, I would still avoid Creative Market.

Not for the reasons you stated, but because the sales are so low it’s not even worth the time it takes to upload a file.

P.S. Not your fault, but I edited your post to get rid of those OpenGraph box things because they were causing mixed content errors.

(Sonal Sinha) #3

I am using my own store and use several payment gateways like PayPal and FastSpring and 2Checkout.

And my experience has been only 1% refunds till date. So i get a refund request or a dispute once in 2-3 months.

So i would say the fault is with Creative Market algorithm or their payment gateway isn’t that strong enough to check the fraud cards first than allowing them to pay through them and then refunding it from seller account.

I won’t say this as a smart business move and then again defying that when customer complaints about it.

PS: Again something of my personal view but i feel when they charge around 50% they should take the blame as well.

(Ben) #4

It’s a shame you have had this experience. A couple years back I stopped selling themes on my site and only sold on Creative Market. This was fine for a time, but I now use FastSpring on my site.

I’ve had quite a lot of sales through Creative Market however the numbers have dropped quite a bit in the last year or so and I now don’t put much emphasis on it.

Unfortunately because Creative Market are big they are a more attractive target for scammers.

As @leland said - they now focus on fonts and graphics - which make sense since they were purchased by Autodesk - so I don’t find much value in adding new products to their site.

Regarding the 15% - that’s a side effect of them being american. It’s a legal thing that I’ve experienced with other companies. They have a tax section on in the site settings where you should be able to waive this (at least I can since I am in the UK - I assume others can as well) so I do indeed get the 70% split they offer.

(Primoz Cigler) #5

We’ve uploaded couple of the non-exclusive themes we offer at ProteusThemes to Creative Market. I think we had exactly 0 sales so far (couple of months in). And no, they are not some low quality WordPress themes, these are themes that make us $3k+ /mo each from different sources (tf non-exclusive, our own shop, mojo).

(Lowell Montgomery) #6

I believe that if the buyer is in the EU and buys a product online, the shop is still required to charge the “local” VAT for the purchase, these days. Those are the recent EU VAT laws. If you want to sell any kind of product (even digital downloads) into the EU, you are required to charge EU VAT at the rate the country uses and have that VAT go to that country’s tax system. It sucks for online buyers and sellers, but I guess the tax-men felt that they were missing out on too many transactions. Here in Germany, VAT is 19%, which is about average in the E.U., I guess. Each e-commerce system has modules/plugins to handle that. You CAN (normally) set up your system so that sales prices are NOT inclusive of tax… but that might also cut your sales somewhat. (Still you are probably better off charging the VAT on top of the sales price… it may just not be what CM does and you may not have a choice if it’s not your shop).

Regarding the charge-back, I doubt that CM are defrauding you. I think that just sometimes happens. It could also be that the buyer sees something cryptic on their credit card bill and doesn’t remember that they bought a theme online and doesn’t recognize the seller. I almost reported a purchase I’d made as a bad charge, till I figured out what a (very cryptic) transaction actually referred to. (I’ve never bought from CM, so I cannot say what it looks like on the credit card statement, but sometimes people are forgetful about online transactions they have made – I just point that out as another possible explanation for the “fraud” allegation made for the purchase. Not much you could do about it, either way. :-/

(Richard Tabor) #7

Back in 2013, Creative Market brought in an “ok” return - about $2k a month off of just two themes… However, these days I’m seeing a much smaller return, closer to $200-$300 a month. Traffic to the product pages seems to be at a standstill as well.

Ha, I just looked and one of themes, Charmed Pro, is #13 on the popular WordPress themes page. In the 1.5 years it’s been uploaded I’ve made $715 from having it on Creative Market. Not good.

(Ana Segota) #8

Unfortunately we also had a numerous of sales marked as a fraudulent on Creative Market but as a Leland wrote it’s a part of doing business on the internet.
Back at the start, Creative Market was really promising, loved the story behind, it was also more community than corporation, WordPress themes had more place there. Now Creative Market is more for the graphic design. We have our themes there but sales are very, very low. We had more sales for a couple of older HTML templates ;). Overall we noticed a big drop in sales on all the marketplaces like TF and Creative Market.


I sell digital downloads in which creative market takes 30% of my earnings off the top. They have not paid me since January claiming my tax info doesn’t validate with the new system it had in the prior year so nothings changed im still me. Anyways they have refused to pay me based on that alone. Also very fishy they are asking me to report and pay taxes to the IRS on their 30% cut and call it a business expense. I have contacted a lawyer to file a lawsuit.


Were you able to resolve this issue with Creative Market?

(Mahdi Yazdani) #11

Completely dead marketplace with zero traffic at the moment.