[wp-hackers] Text ads in themes

Petit petit at petitpub.com
Sun Sep 10 12:28:26 GMT 2006

Matt Mullenweg wrote:
> Podz wrote:
>> I can see that author's want reward for creating a theme - that isn't
>> the problem. But they are getting bloggers to pay for that reward
>> unwittingly. But then spammy crap like Indigo is almost there _just_ for
>> the sponsor cash.
> If people want to run these types of ads on their own site, that's 
> their own business.
> The core of what's bothering me here is themes are being used as a 
> trojan horse to get thousands and thousands of links across unknowing 
> blogs:
> http://technorati.com/search/digitalflowers.com
> Everyone has their own reasons for what they do, and I'm not saying we 
> should attack anyone. The real question is: As a community, is this 
> the type of thing we want to encourage in the future? My gut says no. 
> It's a slippery slope.
> Some interesting suggestions have been brought up thus far:
> * Up front disclosure if it is a "sponsored" theme
> * Themes with ads, plugins with ads, etc should not be promoted on 
> WP.org sites
> (As an aside, I would love to see a way for more theme authors to get 
> paid, and it's something I'm working on.)
After reading through all responses to Matt's question whether 
wordpress.org should  promote  themes with  built in ads.
For wordpress.com, which offers free blog hosting there could be the 
suspicion that WP.COM is secretly promoting some flowering business ;)

I'd  say no!

Themes that are released under the same license as WordPress, should not 
contain the author's sponsor links or any other ads.
Such a theme is free and the reward for the author is the appreciation 
of bloggers using it.
Harsh? I don' think so.
We contribute to the community effort for fun, the possible 15 minutes 
in the lime light and for social reasons.

A link in the footer pointing to the author's site is more relevant, and 
in my opinion a good idea.
I have fond myself looking in the footer of a good theme to see who made 
because I like it and want to test it for my own blog.
If it is there, I don't have to check out the CSS or the html <head> 
section for the origin of the theme.
As for plugins, a link to the author is relevant and useful.

Admittedly these themes are GPL, and the blogger is allowed to change 
the theme.
In the referred case, the ad link is not hidden, but as Podz expresses 
it, "stealth linking",
and will in most cases not be removed. The blogger is in many cases 
unaware of his/her
promotion of some business, that the he/she may not want to promote.

Something like that, I believe should not be part of a GPL'd product.

Let's ask the authors of free themes, plugins or other additions to the 
WordPress platform, not to include such promotional machinery in their 

The authors spend much time in the development of themes and plugins, 
and i is reasonable to want some money out of it, but if they do, they 
are going pro, and there is nothing to stop them from drilling their own 
license and selling their products on a commercial basis.


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