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WooThemes Closes Affiliate Program


Yup. WooThemes is closing down their affiliate program for some very simply stated reasons:

We’re sorry to say that we are discontinuing our referral program because of lack of traction for the program. Access to signup and log in has been removed for the time being.

Bummer. In a much longer newsletter to existing affiliates, it was clearly stated that not just lack of traction was an issue but also fraud and abuse:

I’m in the unfortunate position to let you know that we will be closing our referral program on Friday, 8 February 2013. In the last couple of months, the costs to maintain the referral program have exceeded the benefit of keeping it around. We have also experienced so much fraud & abuse on the referral program, which means it is currently losing money for us. – Adii said in the affiliate newsletter.

I know about this challenge, like Adii, first-hand as we recently closed down the Standard Theme affiliate program as well.

It was clear to us, as to WooThemes, that the cost of overseeing it, managing the fraudulent cases, as well as seeing the hurt of our strong and existing customers, it was a relative no-brainer.

In fact, one of the best things about our hard decision as a team was the overwhelmingly positive response that we got from our existing affiliate members. Take for example these few responses:

I do hope you guys find a way to bring back the affiliate program in the future, while I may have regularly received affiliate payments, it always did make my day receiving an email notification for an affiliate commission.

Regardless of the program suspension, I will still recommend your products as they have always been of high quality, and that’s what matters most.

– Joseph Mainwaring

I would rather have Standardtheme without an affiliate program than an affiliate program with a dying Standardtheme. I am pretty sure everyone else that uses Standard Theme feels the same way.

– Adam Shields

Wishing you the best. Like Joseph, I really loved the occasional sale I made, especially given how swell the product is, but business is business. And if you’re in a bind, you’ve made the brave move. Go Chris!

– Chris Brogan

All the things the above smart people said, with this additional nugget: I don’t think I’ve sent a single “referral” your way via the affiliate program, but I tell people about Standard all the time.

I’m the worst affiliate ever, in other words, and with no skin in the game I can view these changes with greater serenity than folks who have made a ton of commissions.

That said, do what you have to do to make it safe and okay. Your reputation as a quality platform is a much, much bigger deal, and if the affiliate program is harming that, then reboot or reject as necessary.

– Lawduck

I’ll be recommending Standard even without the affiliate program. The support you guys offer goes way above and beyond the $99 I spent a couple of years ago. It’s allowed a non-geek like me to have a nice looking, functional website. Thanks.

– Belinda Pollard

And the list of support goes on and on.

It sucks being put into a place where any company has to share this type of news but it actually ends up being the best for all parties, customers and business owners.

Good call WooThemes and we wish you the very best!

More WordPress News From Torque:
  • http://cliffseal.com Cliff Seal

    I wonder if something akin to a certified reseller’s license (either paid at once à la Themeforest or monthly) will begin to take the place of these affiliate programs.

  • John

    Wondering, how those hosting companies can survive?

    Recently many theme companies close their affiliate program, thus discourage me (and I believe many other bloggers) to do reviews on those companies’ themes since we’ll gain nothing. So sad.

  • http://rachaelbutts.com Rachael Butts

    As an Affiliated Woo Worker it never made since for me to use the affiliate program. I signed up, but never once referred anyone. Since they have such a great developer package I just chose that route. It seems to works best for me and my clients anyway and it takes the frustration out of my clients having to go purchase the theme anyway. I’m not shedding a tear… :)

  • Jessica H.

    I really don’t see how they are losing money with the affiliate program.

    To me, their conversion rate has been terrible. So closing it down shouldn’t affect their income too much. They are so many other good providers out there that offer high commission payout so why would anyone refer Woothemes from now on.

    • chrismccoy

      they lose money because they are paying out to people who are doing the purchases illegally, so by the time they payout, and the credit card owners see the charge, they do a chargeback, and woo has already paid out, so they have to cover the chargeback themselves.

  • http://seobandwagon.com Kyle Alm

    Great point Rachael, but maybe you should have been trying to sell the dev pack to your competitors 😉

  • Tabalchi

    Too bad, but i must say Magazine3 has been working out great for me, so i found my alternative!

  • http://jack-foreigner.com Jack Foreigner

    Can someone point me to an article or two or three about how, exactly, an affiliate program can be defrauded, especially if it’s being run by a top-notch network like zferral in WooThemes’ case??

    I’m interested in providing one of my own but as an affiliate myself I’ve had to deal with, Dutchboy-at-the-dyke-like, one program closing down after one due to mysteriously charges of fraud…I’d really like to know what all the tricks are that are employed by the scammers so as to not fall victim myself with my own program!!

    Thanks for all advice….

  • http://jack-foreigner.com Jack Foreigner

    Can someone point me to an article or two about how, exactly, an affiliate program can be defrauded, especially if it’s being run by a top-notch network like zferral in WooThemes’ case??

    I’m interested in running an affiliate program of my own but as an affiliate of several programs right now I’m getting a little frustrated seeing one after another close down due to mysterious charges of fraud…I can’t really imagine it, and I’d like to know what all the tricks are that are employed by scammers so as not to fall victim myself with my own program!

    Thanks for all advice….

  • http://www.pixelrage.net Pixelrage

    Woothemes’ affiliate system wasn’t working for the last year of its operation, when they moved the affiliate program to a new CMS. I used to make a steady income off of their affiliate system until it started reporting $0’s (but the same stream of clickthroughs) for months. I pulled all of my links to their site – good riddance, it only burns me to know how many unpaid sales I sent them for months. Perhaps this is why they dropped the program – the backlash…

    • Jack Foreigner

      Ah, interesting…that seems to describe ElegantThemes’ affiliate program for myself and some others.

  • http://teslathemes.com/ Tesla Themes

    I think that web publishers will not have a hard finding another affiliate program to use, with the so many theme providers on the internet, this is very easy.

  • Ali jutt

    Wow, this is what I’m looking for. Thanks for sharing and nice info. I
    have join themeforest affiliate program. Look at my website Allthemeforest.com. Please help me to
    improve my website.
    Is here any other best way to make money this
    like websites?. I have added most WordPress premium themes. Please suggest
    me best way to make money with my website.

    I really appreciate your work!



    Ali Jutt