Themes At War

themewarslogoAdii of WooThemes mentioned a site I never heard of yesterday on Twitter called ThemeWars. The idea behind the site is that any blogger can submit an entry into their weekly design war. The war is a contest which decides what type of theme will be designed. Once that’s established, the top two designs as voted by the community will be sold in their theme store. The winning designer receives a percentage cut of their theme. Winning designers also become permanently invited to produce themes for ThemeWars in which they can continue to share in the profits. One important thing worth noting right off the bat is that all of the themes sold through the store are GPL.

I thought this was a great idea until Carl of RocketGenius mentioned the fact that both designs which are part of the theme war are sold on the site. Once I realized this fact, the coolness factor quickly disappeared. It seems to me that the only thing I’m voting for is in deciding which theme author will receive a cut of the profits which in my opinion is dumb. I’d like for there to be an actual theme war where the vote actually means something. Only winners should be able to get into the store while also sharing in the profits. The loser gets to go home and try again. However, theme wars makes more money selling both designs regardless of the voting which I guess explains why the votes mean nothing.

The themes that are available in their store right now scream out StudioPress to me. Not exact matches but enough similarities to make me think StudioPress.

I think ThemeWars had a good thing going but because of the voting and what it stands for, I think the entire site is ruined. However, if you’re a designer, this site definitely has some perks aimed at you. But in the end, designers have to ask themselves, why not just release it myself and pocket every cent? I will say one thing though, the header graphic on is unique and creative. Especially the placement of the RSS icon.


5 responses to “Themes At War”

  1. The themes aren’t just similar to StudioPress themes, both of the themes up for vote even feature the exact same video screenshot in the designs. Look at them and then look at this:

    The video is the exact same one. They lifted it, obviously they didn’t just randomly select the same video from YouTube, etc.

    Which is fine, it’s all good as far as licensing concerns… gotta love the GPL. They aren’t doing anything wrong from that perspective.

    BUT if you are going to have some of “Theme Wars” at least have good looking themes up to vote. Bland isn’t going to cut it, nor build excitement.

  2. Doesn’t look like much of a theme war if they’re just making minor modifications to existing themes. If it is a war, then they’ve lost miserably to Brian Gardner. The originals look a lot better than the modified versions.

  3. I was initially excited about Theme Wars and thought it was a pretty cool idea, but after Carl pointed out that all the themes were sold anyway, turns out the voting is pretty much pointless.

    @Dan Cole, I think you’re right. Looking at the FAQ it says, “No. Unfortunately, we aren’t offering any resale agreements at this time,” which seems to imply that the themes aren’t GPL.

  4. Thanks guys for pointing that out, I’ve edited the post to reflect that information. Not only can you not resell the themes, but you can only use the theme on multiple domains if you purchase the developers license which is another restriction.


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