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Obox Removed from WordPress.com Marketplace

In a recent post by Ian Stewart helps clarify some of the issues that were brought up about theme companies like Obox who were providing their themes in both WordPress.com and Envato-based properties.

The result was that Obox has been removed from WordPress.com until further updates are made from the Envato camp:

 Since it looks like this won’t be corrected right away, as of yesterday we’ve removed Obox themes from our WordPress.com Premium Theme Marketplace.

So, as I’ve said this is disappointing. One day — hopefully soon if Envato can correct their licensing problem right away — we’ll have Obox back. That won’t be just a benefit for us, Obox, or Envato. It’ll be a boon to the whole WordPress community.

This is unfortunate as Ian mentions because Obox is a fantastic company caught in the middle of the crossfire.

As of yet there hasn’t been an update on Obox’ side of the story or word about their response since it was first brought up last week – we’ll be looking for an update to their side of the story if they choose to share one. No pressure, of course.

They have shared their side of the story here.

I hope for their sake that it doesn’t severely change and hurt their business and bottom-line but knowing personally how sweet it is to work with WordPress.com and Ian and the WordPress.com Theme Team and the financial boon it’s been, I’m sure that the are counting their costs and working up a strategy in the meantime.

Keep your head up guys and I’m sure things will work out very shortly.

***UPDATE***

David Perel has provided some context, which I sorely missed:

Hi Everyone

Only saw this post now, so apologies for not replying sooner. I’d like to clear things up a bit.

Before we were accepted onto the WordPress.com theme author roster, we had long discussions with both WP.com and Envato to make sure that we were allowed to be on both networks – both in terms of GPL licensing and exclusivity agreements.

Since the WordCamp debacle last week we have setup meetings with both Envato and WP.com to sort out the situation. It really sucks that we are stuck in the middle of this fight despite trying to do the best thing on both sides.

Also, the only similarity between Gigawatt on TF and Gigz on WP is name and the background. Every line of code (CSS, HTML and PHP) has been completely redone in order to suit their respective platforms. The same is being done for our other themes going onto WP.com – complete rewrites to suit each platform ensure a higher quality relative to that platforms requirements… I’m pretty sure we are in a unique group of theme co’s who put that much effort into our products for the benefit of the user.

So it’s not *simply* a case of selling the same theme on both platforms. Fundamentally they are very different.

At the end of the day, it’s not our intention to upset either party. Both TF and WP have been incredibly good to us and our business and staff rely on both. As Japh said in comment #1, it is an unfortunate position we find ourselves in and I really hope that it gets resolved soon.

Hope that clears things up a bit.

~ Dave

The point of all of this is this and let me be very, very clear: It sucks. It simply sucks. I’m sad that stuff like this is happening, and as I shared on Ian’s blog post:

The value that WordPress.com has brought to our product line has been great. I know this will impact them as a business, even if it’s in the short run. Too bad. Running a business is so freakin’ tough to deal with stuff like this…!

And that’s the simple truth. We have bigger fish to fry and being derailed like this helps no one. Appreciate the clarity from @nacin and   @philip_arthur!

***UPDATE #2***

As noted above, Obox has spoken.

On Friday we received an email from WP.com basically stating that, because of the new licensing on Themeforest, we needed to choose where we wanted to sell our themes.

We had just posted our final code changes of Handmade for WordPress.com and were therefore saddened that we had found ourselves in this situation.

Leaving Themeforest is not something we wanted to do for a number of reasons. Chief among them though is that if we left Themeforest we would have to release some of our staff due to lost revenue. As much as I value the principles of GPL and opensource, I have to put my team first – they are like family to Marc and I.

That being said we are determined to get back onto WordPress.com. It’s an honor to be on there and we will do what it takes to get back. I strongly believe that it’s a matter of time before we can get back on and I am looking forward to the moment it happens.

Hopefully, in the ideal world, we will be able to sell our themes across multiple platforms with 100% GPL. In the meanwhile we will continue to put in the maximum effort we also do to make great themes for you, our customers.

Well-said.

  • http://8bit.io Chris Ames

    Man, that is a bummer.

  • http://digisavvy.com Alex

    Obox’s response underscores the fact that this isn’t just a licensing issue. This issue is taking food off peoples’ tables and they’re forced to do what is best for not just themselves, but their families, too.

    • http://8bit.io Chris Ames

      I applaud the obox team for many things. First, their enthusiasm for WordPress is contagious! I loved reading the backstory in their response.

      Also, making a tough decision and choosing to honor the people & families on the team was a classy move. They have integrity!

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