Here’s my plan, and I’m looking for a bit of input.
One thing I’ve noticed about WordPress theme sites is they fall into two categories. The first category is “These are my themes, this is my site and I sell my own.” The second category is “We sell your theme, we take a huge percentage of each sale, and you get the leftovers.”
While these models are fine, I don’t believe they really encourage the type of collaboration designers like myself (and you) often seek. I also believe [tiered structures](http://themeforest.net/make_money/payment_rates “”) are a good way to scam a designer. So, my idea is simple and it will soon be a reality.
I’d like to launch a site that offers an free, open-source theme. This theme will be updated and contributed to by anybody looking to help. Heck,we’ll probably host the thing on GitHub.
Designers/developers will then be free to modify this theme then turn around and sell it on the main site. And before you ask, just let me clarify – you don’t have to sell it on our (the our is us, you and me… not some suit) site. You could go and sell it yourself for all I care, but I’m sure most will realize the value of selling with the people who they are collaborating with. Instead of a crazy 50/50 split, I’m of the state of mind that the designer should pocket most of the money – so I’m thinking more like a flat fee of $7 to $10 with all themes having a standard price somewhere between $35 to $45.
I’m just curious if anybody has any other ideas. What could we do to put the profit in the hands of the designers? What can we do to make sure this is a success? What do we need to avoid and what do we need to do? What should a theme really be priced at? What about this idea sucks, what rocks?
It might be better for you to explain what you mean by “themes”. Are you talking about a framework for other designers to build themes from it?
When people say themes, I think of these: http://themeforest.net/category/wordpress. And while some of these may look “pretty”, do they actually solve the clients problems and fulfill their goals? Probably not.
Frameworks, I guess, are fine. I’ve certainly used them. Such as Starkers and the HTML5 Reset WordPress Theme (it’s really a framework, not a theme). Frameworks give you a starting point and great flexibility. The difference between frameworks and themes are that frameworks don’t scream “I’m a fucking lazy ‘designer’, here you go” to a client. And no, that wasn’t aimed at you.