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Blogstheme.com WARNING

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I would like to warn readers and WordPress users to NOT download themes from sites that have not developed the themes themselves. I urge news sites to link back to the original theme author’s download to keep things safe and consistent. There are too many sites out there distributing “premium WordPress themes for free” and their intentions are not good.

This particular warning is thanks to an astute reader who pointed out another such site called blogstheme.com. They also provide “premium WordPress themes for free” but have modified the footer to suit themselves. The “WordPress” link in the footer of every theme distributed by that site links back to blogstheme.com and the downloads are not pristine as intended by the designers of the themes. The footers are also tainted with sponsored links that the original authors did not put there. I see a whole bunch of Small Potato’s themes on that site as well as themes from many other designers. Though the theme page lists the original author, the theme download is from blogstheme.com and not from the original authors’ site.

I suggest that WordPress users stay away from themes distributed by blogstheme.com. This is not the first site that has tried to deceive WordPress users and this will not be the last. Please be careful to choose the right source of your WordPress download.

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Comments

  1. Al says:

    All right, thanks a lot for the warning. I have the tendency to look for the ultimate theme, so I could be easily a victim.

  2. David (5 comments.) says:

    It’s a shame that a warning is all we can do. If the themes were not GPL, we could use a bit more pressure to have them remove their links or at least keep the original author’s link intact.

  3. ers35 (1 comments.) says:

    I checked blogstheme.com for myself in an attempt to validate these claims and did not find evidence that they are violating any licenses.

    Of the themes that I checked:

    • All themes that were modified with a link back to blogstheme/advertising had a license that allowed it. An example of this can be seen with the “Envy” theme:

    “This theme comes with two links in the its footer (footer.php) to credit WordPress, and this blog. You may keep or remove them.”

    Even then, blogstheme.com left the author’s url intact and added theirs.

    • Authors that explicitly stated that their license that the theme was not to be modified did not contain a link back to blogstheme

    • Themes on blogstheme were marked as either “Author: blogstheme.com” or “Author: OriginalDesigner”

    I understand that this practice is not looks at highly by the WordPress community, but blogstheme has not done anything “evil” or “sneaky”.

  4. Cody (21 comments.) says:

    That is a downside to free licenses. It’s hard to keep it free if you limit what kind of modifications can be done to your code. Thanks for the warning.

  5. Tyler at Building Camelot (7 comments.) says:

    I’m with Al. I’ve been looking for a new theme for my blog and I don’t want to get screwed. Thanks for the heads up

    –TW

  6. Peter says:

    Thanks for the heads up.
    I would like to bring another such site to attention: wordpresstemplates.name
    They insert their own link in other designers’ free WP themes and then redistribute them. They even encode their link so that it’s not easily removed.

  7. Matt (23 comments.) says:

    I usually pick a good base theme for my main site and then modify it so much that it purely becomes my own bi-creation. As for my own themes, those were developed pretty much from the ground up and I find it kind of rediculous (that I can’t spell that word) that people would steal WordPress themes and litter them with such trash as sponsored links and a reach-around for their own gains. Sites like these should be flamed, and I think that the theme designers should sneak in a little extra code that is not only hard to decipher, but also remains in-tact even after “contamination” so even when these people do steal the themes, their credit is still in-tact.

    Thanks for the heads-up.

  8. Chuck Adkins (11 comments.) says:

    Hmph, As the lone voice of dissent.

    The ONLY thing I saw wrong with one theme, that I downloaded, was the added link. Which could be removed.

    Could it be that the author of this article, is a bit pissed off because someone dared to slay the capitalist monster and is offering pay themes for free?

    Sounds like sour grapes, if you ask me.

  9. Chuck Adkins (11 comments.) says:

    But to be clear, I personally, would never run one of these themes, not only for Safety conserns, but also because of Ethical ones as well.

    I just think before one issues a warning, one should go though and download a good number of themes, looking for said malicious code, before one commits a libel.

    Just a thought.

    -Chuck

  10. Internet Marketing Newbie (1 comments.) says:

    It’s a shame what other people will do to get attention, ‘no? That’s why it’s important for us to be vigilant and be always watchful for unethical people like that. What’s wrong with giving credit to designers of a theme?

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Manuel
    adoborepublic.net

  11. BoltClock (24 comments.) says:

    Hahahaha, just like the Templatesbrowser.com thing. I’ll track this back in my blog post. Thanks for the info!

  12. Lizzie (1 comments.) says:

    Chuck,

    Those themes are already offered for free from the various designers. The problem is that the proper credits were stripped and sponsored links were added in their place. That’s a huge slap to the face to the authors who did the work and offer FREE downloads on their own sites.

    I just think before one issues a warning, one should go though and download a good number of themes, looking for said malicious code, before one commits a libel.

    Did you read anything in this post that mentioned malicious code? Perhaps you should reread it.
    Just a thought.

  13. Justin Tadlock (51 comments.) says:

    I don’t think I’ve been hit by blogstheme.com yet. Maybe my themes aren’t good enough. I have, however, seen an increase of sites directly linking to my download file, theme demo, and hotlinking my theme screenshots. Sometimes, my name gets mentioned somewhere in the post, but it’s almost as if they’re developing these themes themselves.

    Chuck, I have to agree with Lizzie on this one. For those of us that do put together free themes, it’s totally unethical to offer them on your blog. It is “a huge slap to the face to the authors who did the work.”

    “Could it be that the author of this article, is a bit pissed off because someone dared to slay the capitalist monster and is offering pay themes for free?”

    If they are running paid themes for free, that is just as bad. The money for those themes should go to the theme authors.

  14. Chuck Adkins (11 comments.) says:

    Lizzie,

    [EDITED FOR CONTENT, PLEASE BE NICE], just a thought.

    I was referring to the linked article that made reference to another site that had malicious code, and it was inferred that this one had it as well. and I didn’t see any, why I said it.

    If these theme owners were so bothered by it, why not put a copyright on it or something. something to prevent this from happening.

    why I see it, you don’t take steps to prevent it, then don’t bitch.

    -Chuck

  15. Justin Tadlock (51 comments.) says:

    Chuck, you’re a real stand-up guy. Just a thought. Some themes do have copyright notices on them, which does not necessarily prevent this from from happening.

  16. Srik says:

    Chuck,
    before you call others names and insult women, do your research properly, example of what the author of this post is reffering to is this :

    The original theme : http://marine.dezinerfolio.com/ (no debtconsolidation link)

    Blogstheme took that theme and inserted debtconsolidation link :
    http://www.blogstheme.com/test/df_marine.html

    And as the author of this post mentioned, they are linking powered by wordpress also to blogstheme. so next time do your research.

    And what is your http://thepopulistblog.com/ downloading on to my computer? no wonder you are supporting those scum

  17. Daniel (38 comments.) says:

    Chuck, you might like to also be aware that some of us are also actively monitoring sites and theme hackers who deliberately include comment author’s email addresses to show — which is a direct ploy by spammers.

    I also just love that your address here links directly to a .gz file. That’s quite ‘genuine’ of you, Chuck.

  18. zigmat says:

    Booring… Just give to us more themes!

  19. Peety (1 comments.) says:

    Thanks for the warning.

  20. Jenny (28 comments.) says:

    This is getting nuts. Why do they even bother when they know that their gonna get outted later? It’s sad.

  21. David says:

    Interesting that one of the ads on your page about this issue is from AskGraphics.com that offers “free WordPress themes”. I wonder if they be bad too.

  22. Brian Turner (2 comments.) says:

    Thanks for the heads up – to be honest, I’m surprised we’ve not seen more sites like blogstheme coming up. Let’s just hope the site is easily taken down, and doesn’t simply migrate to an Asian server.

  23. Vikingsson (1 comments.) says:

    Pretty sad how corrupt these sites can get. Doesn’t matter what the backyard lawyers say, it isn’t right to distribute work without the original author’s consent. They aren’t doing it to be nice, plain and simple.
    These are the same people that think nothing of scrapping my entire site and posting it as their own content and surrounded by ads. I don’t have themes to steal but try googling for your own content and see where it turns up besides your site and places linked back to you.
    Irony is you’ve given them lots of traffic which is what they are after. Doesn’t matter if they get canned, they turn up elsewhere by the next day.

  24. expresion-x (1 comments.) says:

    This kind of actions could be legal acording to the licence, obviously are not ethical. Hope they dessist and distribute the themes as the original download, not with ads.

  25. Kay (1 comments.) says:

    Any ‘free’ site with a dumb name like “blogstheme.com” must be suspicious. Anyone who’s serious about his/her site would choose a unique name. :-)

  26. Scott Frangos (2 comments.) says:

    Hi All –

    Hey… I have to agree with the general point of this post… BUT… it seems there are those that do not agree — see:
    Desparate Curiostiy Article

    I think sponsored links are just FINE… IF:
    a) They don’t conflict with the design of a theme
    b) They don’t conflict with the message and mission for the blog on which they appear
    c) They are disclosed up front
    d) They are not inserted “sneakily”
    e) The theme author/creator approves of the links and benefits financially from the “sponsorship”

    Problem is, most releases with sponsorship links fail the tests on those last three points.

    – Scott

  27. t0mmmmmmm says:

    as pointed out in #8, the same thing happens at wordpresstemplates.name

  28. Alfredo (2 comments.) says:

    Shame Shame Shame. All because of Backlinks…

  29. Rlyeh (1 comments.) says:

    It’s always better to visit theme, plugin or whatever’s homepage to check for updates, comments, info etc, and for download of course. And to not download from weird pages because of nice CLICK HERE FREE button.

  30. Alistair says:

    Good post, Mark. Wish I’d come across it prior to writing the article for Gigaom about WP-Sphere. At least lots of folks are sounding the alarm bell. (and BTW, the article wasn’t supposed to link to the offending sites; I’ve asked the editors to change it so they get as little love as possible.)

  31. Mark Ghosh (386 comments.) says:

    Thanks for having those links removed Alistair. The only answer to this is end user education and your article will definitely help.

  32. Kris Bailey (1 comments.) says:

    For anyone wanting to decode the footer files of [removed] go here:
    http://www.krisbailey.com/wpth.....he-footers



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