When we agreed to purchase Fundify and CrowdPress, we did so knowing that the transition would be complex. However, we also knew that in order to repair the fractured marketplace that was WordPress crowdfunding, we would need to find a way to unify the offerings and create a customer and support experience that maintained our organization’s high standards.
Knowing that these two themes had several thousand users between them, and wanting to ensure that as little as possible changed for them in the short term, we arranged with Astoundify/BoxyStudio and ThemeForest to have the products transferred to our ThemeForest account so that the product would still be available to those that had purchased it, and would continue to be available to those that wished to purchase it.
We had also planned to grandfather existing customers into our support system so that they could continue receiving at least some level of customer support.
Unfortunately, this transfer process was quite unsophisticated and crude, leaving many customers unaware of the changes, and the rest with more questions than answers. We tried to address these issues on our side as best we could, but because we did not have access to Envato’s customer information (we did request it), we had no way of contacting theme owners other than via public announcements on our blog, social accounts, and the ThemeForest item page.
As a result, our support forums were overrun with acquisition questions and bug reports, many of which were not theme related but plugin related (more on that later). We responded quickly by hiring one of our most active (and helpful) forum members and dedicated him solely to Fundify Support, but this led to another problem.
Why 50% is an Insult
Because ThemeForest commission structure requires that we give them 50% of every transaction (approximately $31), we were losing money every time someone purchased it.
It was not an easy decision for us, but we decided to charge $30/year for support for purchases made on ThemeForest, and also made the theme available on our website for the price of $59. The additional $30 would offset the losses accrued on each ThemeForest sale, while still offering the theme to past purchasers.
Sometime thereafter, we received notification from ThemeForest that they had chosen not to transfer CrowdPress at all, citing complications with the transfer process. This was rather disconcerting for us, as we had received word just weeks prior that they were ready to begin the transfer.
This left us in a precarious position wherein the only option we had for transferring ownership was for BoxyStudio to delete the theme from ThemeForest, which meant that all past buyers would lose access to the theme. This was not the course of action we desired, but Envato did not counter with any agreeable alternative, and as of late last week, the theme has been permanently removed from ThemeForest.
Leaving the ThemeForest
Dissatisfied by the customer experience, commission levels, and status of our relationship with Envato, we also decided to permanently remove the Fundify theme from ThemeForest, and did so on the evening of August 7th, 2014.
As you might guess, the only remaining variable is that of the Fundify Crowdfunding plugin, which previously had been served for free on the WordPress repository and Github. As we stated above, many of the common bug complaints and issues related to Fundify and CrowdPress were the result of plugin code, not theme code, which meant that we would need to devote additional development resources to the plugin.
As an open source plugin, the Fundify Crowdfunding plugin had been receiving the occasional pull request, but nothing to address the bulk of currently existing issues. This is problematic because we are not the only company selling themes using this plugin, which means we’re supporting a free product other people sell product against.
Obviously, this is not sustainable, and since we cannot force theme authors to support the plugin, we have decided to take the following course of action:
1. The Fundify Crowdfunding plugin will no longer be delivered or supported via the WordPress plugin respository.
We have modified the current listing to explain that the plugin has moved and advise users where they can continue to receive updates and support.
2. The Fundify Crowdfunding plugin will no longer be offered via Github.
The reality is that we have not received the community support required to maintain the open source initiative, and as a result, will be taking the code private in order to continue supporting it. This does not mean we are changing the licensing terms, but it does mean that we will not support it for free.
3. The Fundify Crowdfunding plugin is now available via any purchase of Fundify, CrowdPress, or a support license for either.
Users of other themes can still get access to updates and support by purchasing any of these items.
4. Fundify and CrowdPress are currently being integrated into our IgnitionDeck Crowdfunding product, at which time we will sunset the legacy functionality that is currently offered.
As we’ve said before, our goal is to offer a more unified and robust customer experience, which requires that we simplify our current offerings, and create a clear upgrade pathway between products.
The existence of two crowdfunding plugins is not only confusing to our customers, but overly complicated from a development perspective. It does not make sense to split resources between two similar products.
Lastly, we realize that part of what makes Fundify and CrowdPress so attractive is their ability to offer gorgeous designs at a fair price. We’re excited to share that we’re on board with that concept, and as a result, have continued to seek out and acquire new themes, while multiplying our efforts to design and build new ones. We’re heavily invested in design, and have been listening to your requests and feedback very closely. We can’t wait to show you our new concepts!
We’re aware that this transition has been rocky, and that our communication has not alway been the best. In making these changes, we feel that we can begin to fix that. IgnitionDeck is growing far beyond our wildest dreams, largely due to the support we’ve received from the community. We wouldn’t be here without you, so for that, we say thank you.