No Sponsored themes on WeblogToolsCollection


We will not promote sponsored themes on WeblogToolsCollection any more. There are a bunch of reasons for this decision much of which has been rehashed in the past. Things have gone downhill since then. I cannot hope to please everyone and I do not apologize or repent for this decision. I believe that this is in the best interest of the community and this is the best way I can serve my readers.

I strongly urge sponsored theme authors to reconsider their means and I laud those who choose to offer their themes to the community without sponsored links.




  1. Thom Allen (3 comments.) says:

    I applaud the decision. WeblogToolsCollection will be better for it.

  2. Dan Johnson says:

    I applaud it as well. These people were making easy money off of your efforts for the community. I’d like to see them booted from the main WordPress theme site as well.

  3. kevin (6 comments.) says:

    Good decision. Something is fishy about people pawning off sponsored themes for a free platform. What would people do if their Gnome theme had a massive splash advertising toothpaste everytime they logged into their Linux desktop?

    Well, they would probably change the splash, but that’s beside the point.

  4. Luis (3 comments.) says:

    I respect your decision, but I have one thing to say. In the past I have seen themes marked as sponsored themes when all they really have is examples of where to put your own links. As long as whoever is checking this themes make sure they are truly sponsored themes I think this is a good idea.



  5. Tom Howard (3 comments.) says:

    I also applaud this decision. I think sponsored themes are a blight on the WordPress community.

    I’ve also wondered how you can legally create a non-GPL theme for WordPress, since themes have to call WordPress API functions that are licensed under GPL. This IMO technically makes all themes GPL derivatives and thus can only be licensed under the GPL.

  6. Steven Hodson (3 comments.) says:

    I can’t type Thank You in big enough letters

  7. BigNerd (4 comments.) says:

    Can Mark get an “Amen”?


    Brotha’s and Sistah’s gather ’round, ’cause there’s a REVIVAL goin’ down!

    Do whatcha gotta do Mark, and feel good doin’ it!

    Let someone else? carry the burden of listing WP designs with ‘sponsored themes’.

    Put a fork in me. I’m done.

  8. Dwayne says:

    Best move ever!!!

  9. James (4 comments.) says:

    I’m glad you made this choice. As a fellow designer, it appalled me to see an encrypted PHP string in a theme’s footer that rendered as sponsored links. Three sponsored links to be precise.

    IMHO, such tactics are unethical and damaging for the user as these sponsored links often have 0 relevance to the site using the design.

    Attribution is one thing, but personally, I’d rather pay for a theme than have sponsored links in the footer.

  10. Aaron (33 comments.) says:

    I’m glad. It really wasn’t fair to plugin authors who aren’t able to have sponsored plugins.

  11. c.urdaneta (1 comments.) says:

    Excellent decision. Well done!!

  12. j. noronha (4 comments.) says:

    Well done! It’ been a huge load of sponsored themes, many of them without any care at the coding, real money baits released through sites that even order themes to third parties specially to put their cheap links on. I hope they are banned from the themes directory as well.

  13. Britgirl (10 comments.) says:

    Good. Definitely a step in the right direction.

  14. BigNerd (4 comments.) says:

    You’re glad because you weren’t affected?
    How would plug-ins offer sponsorships anyway?

  15. Arpit Jacob (8 comments.) says:

    A Good move mate. It was really becoming hard for me to go through all those Theme one by one

  16. Aaron (33 comments.) says:

    Yes, for the most part, although I was planning to release a couple themes soon.

    That is my point. (Without rehashing the plugins vs themes arguments that prior posts spawned.) Sponsored themes make money from outside groups, but plugins don’t really even have the possibility of that kind of income, so those themes don’t really need free advertising. it should be saved for the themes and plugins that rely entirely on the generosity of its users.

  17. cyclingplatypus (2 comments.) says:

    Great news! Thank You!!!

  18. Paul (1 comments.) says:

    Hey, it’s your blog and you make the rules. If the sponsored theme types don’t like it, they can create their own blog.

    I’m glad you made this change. Keep up the great work!

  19. Jaypee (20 comments.) says:

    Good decision! I applaud and support this. I hope that this would be an example that others would follow.

  20. Jonathan (81 comments.) says:


  21. melo villareal (1 comments.) says:

    Good Move… Sponsored WordPress themes are really annoying.. its good that you will no longer feature them..

  22. Ed Sutherland (1 comments.) says:

    As a ‘gatekeeper’ of WordPress themes, Weblog Tools Collection should be applauded for its decision to ban sponsored themes, which had become a plague.

  23. Michael Martine (8 comments.) says:

    I applaud your decision. I hope you don’t feel that links back to the theme designer’s site count as sponsored links. Credit links are different.

  24. jayne d'Arcy (9 comments.) says:

    I have to add my voice to the others that say AMEN, YAY, and THANK YOU! While I don’t care if someone wants to make money from their blog, sponsored themes just rubbed me the wrong way. I’ve also seen very few of these sponsored themes created with the care that non-sponsored themes show. So thanks again.

  25. Baris Unver (17 comments.) says:

    Awesome news. I applaud as well. Thank you for the decision by the way.

    PS: I might not be the sparkle, am I? :)

  26. pablopabla (2 comments.) says:

    Somehow, once the “(sponsored theme)” note was highlighted, I never bothered to check them out anymore. I would gladly give credit and retain the link for the author of the theme should I use the author’s theme but I would not have any affinity to the sponsor and would not be interested to have their links on my blog.

  27. Matt says:

    Great decision! I definitely support you in this!

  28. Mike M. (1 comments.) says:

    I am working on putting together soime sites using WordPress as the publishing platform. I chose WordPress after a lot of research and comparison with other software such as MT and Drupal… The availability and quality of free themes was one of my points of consideration.

    There are a couple of themes I have started to play with that fit my requirements and design criteria. They contain sponsored links. At least one of them is very derivative of prior work by other designers and I am also doing some modification, sdo I am not sure how legally and morally obligated I am to keep those links.

    What I would like to see is a structure that when a designer includes sponsored links, they also include a way to pay to allow those links to be removed. I do not mind paying something reasonable, especially in the case of original work that meets my needs. I have in fact tried to contact the last person working on one of the themes I am considering and have not yet received any response.

    I will probably remove the links, except for the designer credits and links.

    Bottom line: Allow sponsored themes, but require they be clearly labelled as such, give them their own sectrion and require the designer provide a buy out so the links can be removed, as well instructions on how to remove ALL of the links.

  29. John Baker (15 comments.) says:

    Great decision. I could never understand why you promoted them in the first place.

  30. Susan says:

    Kudos, a great decision.

  31. Avrila (8 comments.) says:

    Hooray, no more ad themes! Their existence always bugged me; clear labeling helped a bit but still, annoying to have to hear about them.

  32. dandyna (16 comments.) says:

    Finally! greatest thing to do, man

  33. jez (56 comments.) says:

    wooheeiiii, best decision for 2007 so far!! thanks for taking this step!

  34. Truden (23 comments.) says:

    We can argue about this decision and both sides will be equally wrong.

    Since the sponsored links are helping some of us to keep their blogs running I think that we do not have the right to control their decision.

    WordPress.Mu is open for all theme developers.
    Gust register and post your news(theme, plugin or whatever it is).
    You publish it on your own.

  35. XIII (9 comments.) says:

    Excellent decision!

  36. stabani (5 comments.) says:

    Very Very Good decision. I simply stopped looking at themes with sponsored links since they were mostly spam (crap themes, with different colors, only to spam and countless other sites for pagerank).

  37. Truden (17 comments.) says:

    I’m not trying to be funny and CLEVER.
    It is a serious question:
    How will be treated the “Powered by WordPress” link in the theme footer?

  38. Dave says:

    I agree with your choice, however it does mean that I am going to have to find another blog that lets me know about all the latest themes.

    As much as I hate the sponsored ones for being sponsored, they are often beautiful and useable themes. As such by not reporting them I will miss out on them by checking here. So, I will drop by every few weeks maybe now instead of every day.

    I do want to thank you for all that you have reported up until now though, it is just a shame that others have force you to take this new direction and in turn that it has removed at least one regular reader from your site :(

    Still waiting for news on that theme competition too…. would be nice to get updates :)

  39. James McKay (1 comments.) says:

    It seems that publicly available themes are required to be covered by the GPL or a compatible licence:

    IANAL but it seems this would mean that you are perfectly free to remove sponsored links if you want to, though depending on the theme author you may need to be prepared to argue your case in court.

  40. Jacob says:

    Out of curiousity, how is it that you condemn sponsored themes, yet sell text links for payday loans and rome hotels on the bottom of your site? Isn’t that doing the same thing your condemning others for?

  41. James (3 comments.) says:

    Excellent choice, Mark!

    Truden, links such as “Powered by WordPress” are not the issue here. If you check Mark’s past musings on the subject, the issue at hand is the free publicity that Weblog Tools Collection has been providing to “free” WordPress themes bundled with either banner or text link advertisements. The “Powered by . . .” links are not advertisements. They are simply a statement of the software, and sometimes the theme, powering your blog.

  42. António (2 comments.) says:

    There’s hundreds of people publishing their themes without getting sponsorships, they are definitely more worthy of your time and our attention.

    Yeah, I am joining the Chorus :-)
    May other repositories for plugins follow up and theme author will soon face the decision between making a quick buck and getting their work spread.

  43. Truden (23 comments.) says:

    @James, I fully agree with you.
    The “powered by” link is not advertisement when is on website, but it is such when is on my web site.
    I keep that link, because it is good to give credits to the people who paid for the software that I’m using.

    The question is: is it wrong to give credit to the people who paid for the theme which I’m using?

    My question will be argued that they sponsor the theme to get traffic and by that to make money.
    Then I’ll ask: With what intention WordPress was created?
    Isn’t it for money?

    One last thing:
    Every theme and plugin is free work not only for the WordPress users but for WordPress itself.
    The plugin and theme developers are giving their free work for WordPress and I think that it is very selfish to ask the developers to work ONLY for WordPress.

  44. Emz (1 comments.) says:

    Thank you oh so oh so much!

  45. Titanas (5 comments.) says:

    It was about time. Kudos man, well done!

  46. Adsneeze (1 comments.) says:

    Links like “Designed by sitelink” it’s acceptable? I wish to mention that if you like you can remove the “sitelink”

  47. Jim (1 comments.) says:

    With (my opinion) 90% or more of the sponsored themes being of what I would call “less than acceptable” quality anyway, I don’t mind this decision a bit.

    If the theme was spectacular, I almost wouldn’t mind it – or if they didn’t insist on having the links in the footer it wouldn’t be so bad.

  48. Ryan Imel (1 comments.) says:

    This is an interesting decision. I know of many (my friends, good people) who do take sponsorships for creating themes. But this is, more often than not, because they are busy (read: very good) designers that would not otherwise be able to justify the time.

    I guess it seems as though certain designers, who are busy designing real web sites on a regular basis, may need that cushion/encouragement to make something for free release. If it’s their full time job, they may have to do it that way. To think that anyone has the right to the work of those designers, no strings attached, is incredibly pompous in my opinion. But, I don’t mean to argue, just voicing a different opinion.

  49. Vivek (1 comments.) says:

    I don’t use sponsored themes and if anyone use you can remove the sponsored links as it comes under GPL, yes technically as WP itself is GPLed so themes are.

  50. atomboy says:

    Well done!
    The proper and correct decision to make.
    There is nothing wrong with people using methods such as this to make some money, but when you put yourself in the category of the commercial classes, then you need to appreciate what it implies: that you have to compete on a commercial footing and not use the unpaid community to foster your schemes.
    I always thought the link back to the theme’s author was totally legitimate, but using it to sell burgers and holidays was somewhat seedy.
    Make a stand against the onslaught of unbridled capitalism!

  51. James Kubecki (1 comments.) says:

    Outstanding decision.

  52. stabani (5 comments.) says:

    I believe Powered by by and are simply legit. What they mean by sponsored themes is when third party persons pay to theme authors to embed links into seemingly free themes available for download.
    Atleast, I think so

  53. drmike (7 comments.) says:

    While I do agree with Jacob up there, the question that pops into my mind is those themes where the designer is the sponsor link.

  54. Battle Diabetes (1 comments.) says:

    WOOHOO thx for this decision. I was getting burnt out coming here and seeing the low quality (spam?) themes that many looked alike.

  55. AndrewE (1 comments.) says:

    Bravo! The response here shows just how pissed off everyone was with sponosored themes, let’s hope other sites follow suit and this is the beginning of the end to sponosored WordPress themes!

  56. Mahmood Al-Yousif (1 comments.) says:

    hear hear!

  57. Jenny (24 comments.) says:

    Ditto on Mahmood.

  58. Neil (1 comments.) says:

    The best thing for the community. I’m sure the sponsored themes can find another outlet that is more appropriate.

  59. scud (3 comments.) says:

    I think it’s a great idea, I hadn’t really had any interaction with it since I use my own theme I created on my site. But after taking a look around online I started to notice more and more and was a bit shocked at what people had done.

    Give a link back to a theme author, but screw being ‘forced’ to have some kind of link back to a sponsor.

  60. Jay says:

    good thing you’re force fed to us in the WP dashboard
    otherwise who’d visit you so you can sell your text link ads and have 8-9 ads on your site!

  61. Lisa Sabin-Wilson (8 comments.) says:

    This is excellent news – particularly followed by Matt’s announcement that sponsored themes will be taken off the offical WP Theme site, which I can only guess was a decision prompted by your post here. Kudos and thank you!

  62. Terri (1 comments.) says:

    I have always removed any sponsor links. The theme is going on my own domain and I will not link to anything I don’t want to. I think your decision is great. It should be up to the blog owner what links they want on their site.

  63. gidibao (10 comments.) says:

    I applaud it as well! Good decision ;-)

  64. milo317 (3 comments.) says:

    Finally the first one…now please the official WP too.

  65. Julia (1 comments.) says:

    Thank you, thank you. I enjoy looking at all the non-sponsored themes but turn away as soon as possible from the sponsored. Thank you for creating a more enjoyable experience.

  66. Ingrid (1 comments.) says:

    Thanks you for this decision. I hate sponsored themes. Keep up the good work.

  67. Correz.a (1 comments.) says:

    I’m glad for the change. Sponsored links are often little more than shameless advertising. I suspect some are a short distance from adware/spyware anyway. I’ve seen theme authors attempt to quote “strong-arm legal disclaimers” to discourage people from modifying the themes to remove the sponsored links. While I fully support copyrights and itellectual property. Wouldn’t it seem obvious that these sponsored links must be undesireable if you have to threaten people with legal action to prevent them from removing said links?

  68. Nate says:

    Great to hear! Sponsored themes are a joke to begin with anyway.

  69. Andreas (19 comments.) says:

    Good move! This means that you will need to look carefully in the themes and review each submission, as some themes may have the links that are well hidden. But it is worth the effort.

    I don’t regret keeping my themes free from sponsored links, even though I feel sorry that I can’t provide the same amount of free support that I could when I still had sponsored links in the themes. But as you wrote: It is impossible to make everyone happy, and atleast I’m doing my best to provide usable designs. :)

  70. phpNeophyte says:

    Amen!!! Right on, sponsored link themes are like holding amateurs hostage and provide nothing of value to the WordPress community! Kudos!!

  71. Jennifer (1 comments.) says:

    I am also in the applaud line up. I love reading about the new themes, so your site is on my reader to stay. I think the idea of no sponsored ones makes it even more appealing.

  72. Paul Enderson (2 comments.) says:

    Well done guys! :) Let’s hope that this is the beginning of the return to a truly benevolent product, with the recent spate of greed being replaced by generosity once again.

  73. Randy W. Sandberg (1 comments.) says:

    Awesome news! Keep up the GREAT work!

  74. Dana (1 comments.) says:

    Good news. I applaud your decision!

  75. Dav (1 comments.) says:

    I love this decision… will do gud to wordpress community overall :)

  76. Kevin (2 comments.) says:

    Thank you – I think this is a good move.

  77. Bernie Steakouse says:

    Doesn’t this seem just a little hypocritical, considering all the adverts and sponsored links on this page for example?

  78. Tom Howard (3 comments.) says:

    @Bernie Steakhouse

    No, it’s not hypocritical. Hypocritical would be if you liked WLTC and started reading it regularly, then an ad for which WLTC gets paid suddenly appears on your site.

  79. Bernie Steakouse says:

    I just thought when I read this, “but what about your sponsors?”.

    I guess I don’t really understand why it’s considered OK to raise funds by “sponsored site” for WordPress, but not “sponsored themes” for WordPress.

    Surely both examples are a means of funding your input and effort put into the WordPress Community. Both seem OK to me.

  80. Adam (1 comments.) says:

    THANK YOU!!!

  81. Carol (1 comments.) says:

    Thank you very much for taking this decision.
    Sponsored themes are so annoying.

  82. Navjot Singh says:

    Considering strong effects from the community, I have converted 3 of my sponsored themes to fully ad-free. :)

  83. Marcel (2 comments.) says:

    Don’t worry Sponsored Theme owners, you will soon be able to list your Sponsored Themes on

  84. Sassy (1 comments.) says:

    Don’t you get it? It’s his site. He’s not imposing the links on other people with a so-called free theme when in fact it’s not free because it means playing host to those blasted links.

  85. James (4 comments.) says:

    The is an enormous difference between ethical and unethical monetization efforts. The author of this blog is fully within his legal and ethical rights to monetize his site in the fashion that he has as this site is not subject to the same licensing conditions that a theme is subject to. Furthermore, you as a user have the right to look elsewhere for the information provided here. This is fundamentally different than a theme design which is unique. Learning legal and ethical monetization methods is the key to designers earning a living through their design efforts. Perhaps it’s not as lucrative as releasing sponsored theme, but then again, it can be. What is more important is knowing that you are giving the end-user a choice and you are not engaging in unethical practices or violating any laws. Bottom line: Educating yourself is the key.

  86. Bernie Steakouse says:

    You can chose to visit this site if you think it’s the best, or maybe you could chose to visit another site with no adverts.

    You could chose to download a sponsored theme if you thought it was the best, or maybe you could chose to use another theme with no adverts.

    Always the end users choice, they’re not forced either way.

    As I say, I don’t personally object to either, although I doubt I’d ever use a sponsored theme myself.

    c’est la vie.

  87. Kahil (5 comments.) says:

    great decision. I personally am not a fan of sponsored themes and plugins. I don’t like the idea of forcing that stuff on others if they want to use it.

  88. Sreejith (1 comments.) says:

    Now thats a Good news ! I hated sponsored themes.

    GPL ! GPL ! GPL !

  89. ferret says:

    typical, rich and successful taking income away from the poor and unknown

  90. bodacious says:

    Something I NEVER thought I would again!! ETHICS in BUSINESS!! Finally, a website that doesn’t allow the “bundled-up” themes riddled with tons of hidden adware just lurking beneath the surface waiting for some unsuspecting schmuck(aka:me)to download their theme!! None of the businesses that accept these “themes” have got the room to waste on the truly necessarry disclaimers to “cover their butts” in society today=so full of litigation and lawsuits!!
    I APPLAUD YOU ALSO and MAY I ADD: YOU HAVE NO REASON TO EVEN THINK YOU SHOULD APOLOGIZE FOR DOING SOMETHING ETHICAL and HONORABLE! So rare in business today that a person doesn’t even know when they are doing the right thing anymore!?! So sad!!

  91. Jehzeel Laurente (3 comments.) says:

    This is definitely a great move. :)

  92. Spunky Jones (3 comments.) says:

    I have sponsored WordPress themes in the past. However, the sitewide links for the designer and sponsors are widely abused. It is more of a ploy to get backlinks than contribute to the community.

    That is why my recent sponsored theme has one credit link that is on the main page. No more sitewide credit links that Google has issues with.

    I allow people to remove the footer credit if they would write a blog post about the WP theme to promote it.

    I believe that sponsored themes are fading fast and that people will have to allow the users to remove the links in the footer.


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  38. […] not alone. Mark Ghosh on Weblog Tools Collection declared that he would no longer feature sponsored WordPress Themes on Weblog Tools Collection, one […]

  39. […] a crack-down on sponsored wordpress themes is beginning. At the forefront is Mark Ghosh of weblog tools, and Matt Mullenweg himself. Matt said: […]

  40. […] a crack-down on sponsored wordpress themes is beginning. At the forefront is Mark Ghosh of weblog tools, and Matt Mullenweg himself. Matt said: Before WordCamp all sponsored themes should be removed […]

  41. […] everything about blogging, especially with WordPress. Go ahead, subscribe to our feed!My previous sponsored theme post followed by Matt’s support has generated a lot of buzz in the WordPress and blogging […]

  42. […] mossa di Mullenweg avviene dopo che anche su Weblogs Tools Collection, Mark Ghosh aveva preso la stessa decisione. La discussione su questo fenomeno è stata lunga e per diverso […]

  43. […] baietii de la WordPress Theme Viewer au inceput sa faca curatenie, eliminand din al lor director temele sponsorizate. primii care au facut aceasta mutare au fost cei de la WeblogToolsCollection […]

  44. […] Relacionado: No Sponsored themes on WeblogToolsCollection […]

  45. […] themes were now being removed from the Theme Viewer which came right after the announcement by Weblog Tools Collection that they will no longer be promoting sponsored themes on their website . I wasn’t surprised. […]

  46. […] Rant, blogging and wordpress Mark Ghosh over at Weblog Tools Collection recently announced that he would refuse to promote themes with sponsorship links in the footer (or elsewhere). He runs […]

  47. […] I was then emailed this story about Weblog Tools Collection removing all sponsored themes from their site. […]

  48. […] Mark Ghosh (2007-07-10). No Sponsored themes on WeblogToolsCollection. Retrieved on […]

  49. […] from the WordPress development community itself, namely Matt Mullenweg, who was one of those who took a stand against theme sponsorship. The people behind the WP theme viewer have also gone as far as ban users […]

  50. […] siendo alrededor de un 60% de las almacenadas. Todo empezó cuando en Weblog Tools Collection decidieron no volver a promover ningún theme […]

  51. […] that it really matters too much to me, Matt Mullenweg, the founding developer of WordPress made an announcement a few days ago. Basically he will no longer allow sponsored themes on […]

  52. […] from WeblogToolsCollection (disclosure: I am one of the WLTC contributors). His recent decision to ban sponsored WordPress themes was met with mixed criticism, and was even discussed here in a case study by Bes. In a post […]

  53. […] a glory, censorship, on single ruler… Yes, Sponsored Themes are finally removed from “Elitist WordPress Community” leaving me, a low life bug begging for someone to pay me $45 for Custom WordPress Theme. I […]

  54. […] of talk about whether Themes.Wordpress should allow theme sponsor or not. Now it’s confirm theme sponsor links are not allow anymore in themes.wordpress! Just kidding, it’s just on weblog tools, but they […]

  55. […] sponsored themes on the wordpress themeviewer, then there was this movement from him to bycott all sponsored themes of any kind at all, that was when i stopped making wordpress themes for […]

  56. […] general opinion amongst those taking part in the discussion – such as Mark Ghosh and Matt Mullenweg- is that sponsored themes are a bad thing and should be removed. Free themes, […]

  57. […] week those crappy sponsored themes were “dismissed” from Weblog tools and Matt (head off WordPress) applaud it and talked about that “sponsored themes SHOULD be […]

  58. […] essa prática um tanto desleal. Mark Ghosh, do Weblog Tools Collection, anunciou recentemente que não publicará mais temas patrocinados em seu blog. Para quem não conhece, o WTC é uma excelente vitrine para descobrir novos temas e plugins, […]

  59. […] du finner på Det sa han etter at Weblog tools collections Mark Gosh sa at de ikke lenger vil presentere slike themes […]

  60. […] Sponsorship is much different than the “theme sponsorship” of old.  No more spammy links in the footer.  That’s not […]

  61. […] a discussion on the WordPress ideas forum and a post on their blog, the WordPress founders announced that the official WordPress theme directory at […]

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