WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg was at WordCamp Argentina yesterday where he announced the forthcoming launch of a new product offering - the WordPress Theme Marketplace.
As liveblogged by Leo Prieto of the popular Spanish blog FayerWayer, Mullenweg told conference attendees: "The idea is that designers will be able to upload themes, we put a price (Automattic takes half), and users can navigate the directory and quickly select, pay and install a template, everything from the same place and without major expertise." (Thank you, Google Translate. And thanks to San Francisco based consultant Antonio Altamirano who Twittered about the announcement.)
The Theme Marketplace will provide an incentive for developers to build high quality WP themes and provide a frame work and distribution channel for those already interested in selling themes. No time frame was announced and the options for the WordPress.org community aren't clear yet.
For buyers this sounds like a great idea, as long as the price point is fair and the variety is wide enough that it's not obvious you bought one of the 20 themes for sale. I'll be curious to see how pricing is handled as there will be a wide range of types of customers interested.
For sellers a 50/50 revenue split is hard to look at at first, but will probably be acceptable in exchange for the prominent placement and automation involved.
The company behind WordPress, Automattic, now has a growing list of ways it makes money and is doing well enough that it reportedly turned down a $200 million acquisition offer recently. None the less, calls to the company for comment went to a voicemail box that said "You've reached Matt, leave me a message." That made me laugh.