Sami Keijonen, founder of Foxnet Themes, is not happy with his theme sales, which total $1400 since early 2013. His Kultalusikka theme is the sales leader, with just 15 purchases. Keijonen has one theme for sale on WordPress.com, which was added in March of this year and has so far netted him $147.64.
In a recent post that frankly details his disappointment with the sales, Keijonen announced a new theme experiment wherein he will be releasing some of his commercial themes on github, starting with his latest Mina Olen theme. This is the same theme that is available for sale on WordPress.com for $75 and on Foxnet for 39.00€.
Mina Olen is based on Justin Tadlock’s Hybrid Core. All of its options can be found in WordPress’ customizer. The theme includes support for many major plugins in order to provide additional functionality, including bbPress, Easy Digital Downloads, Custom Content Portfolio, Testimonials, Custom Header Extended, and more.
Keijonen emphasizes that he is still referring to the theme as a commercial product, because he will not be offering support or automatic updates for free. Since it’s just an experiment, he retains the option to make the Github repo private at any time in the future.
Keijonen is watching the results of the experiment to see if it affects the popularity of his theme, as well as the sales for support. He’s hoping that if people can test drive the theme before they make a decision, they will be more inclined to purchase support. “I can show off my code, it’s pretty solid,” he said. “That way I can build more trust.”
Having the theme’s code publicly available on Github will enable developers to contribute improvements to it. Mina Olen is one of his go-to themes that allows him to create custom child themes in no time, such as the jewelry site he recently launched. He’s hoping that people will be able to more easily use it in their projects, especially those who build on top of the Theme Hybrid framework.
The live demo for the theme shows all of the post formats in action, along with the many layouts and color schemes. If you want to participate in the experiment, you can download the Mina Olen WordPress theme for free from Github. Does access to the theme for free make you more inclined to pay for support or more likely to purchase another theme in Foxnet collection?