Automattic has finally made the step that was awaited by thousands of WordPress Designers like us, they are now accepting premium themes in WordPress.com’s theme market place. This feature was discussed back in 2007 during the infamous “premium theme market” debate and although it took 3 years for this to happen, the move has been well appreciated by the community.
It’s a no surprise that WooThemes along with The Theme Foundry were chosen as the pilots for this project in Automattic. Both the WordPress design agencies came up with neat and clean design, although I personally loved Shelf, ThemeFoundry’s theme more because its got unconventional, tumblog style. On the other hand, Headlines is a generic theme with global appeal, nice design, color schemes options and not to forget a powerful and widely accepted framework. This is what Automattic said in the announcement -
We hope to expand the collection of themes on WordPress.com in a big way in 2011. Look for a significant number of both free and premium themes coming your way this year. And, thank you to our WordPress.com community for helping the Automattic network reach the mark of 500 million unique visitors per month. We couldn’t do it without you! [via - WP Market Place]
With a huge user base and virtually no solid competitor, Automattic is going to be obvious choice for blogging. With the launch of the Premium WordPress Design feature, the current state of premium wordpress theme market will multiply pretty quickly. Unfortunately, neither there is information on kind of features or limitations are kept for the developers of premium themes for WordPress.com network nor any information about the revenue sharing. I’m sure this information will soon be made available to the developers once they open up the market place for rest of the developers to join.
What will be interesting to see is that how exactly market will respond to the new offering, if WordPress.com’s premium themes will be able to utilize the WordPress’ true power then how will if it effect the sales of premium themes that work on stand-alone version and offers more control? I believe that this feature will help Automattic a lot, apart from that it’ll help grow the overall WordPress market as well since premium themes in WordPress.com will be utilizing the power of WordPress CMS and will establish its image as CMS rather than a blogging engine. Of course, “the myth” “WordPress is just a blogging engine” is actually becoming “a myth in itself” as it’s been winning Best CMS Award since couple of years, still in general it is considered less powerful than Joomla & Drupal. With that, do we have any service that offers hosted Drupal or Joomla? I guess, WordPress beats them in that department too ;) I’m sure this step will only convert more web designers into WordPress designers. What are your thoughts about it?