Affiliates - Unofficial PSA: You can no longer send traffic via paid ads

Envato has done it again. We recently received a Policy Violation from Envato’s affiliates team regarding a policy violation. We were confused since the clauses they were referring to didn’t exist on their official policy:

Here’s what they mentioned in the email with a made up rule that doesn’t exist in their official affiliate policies.

Linking directly to ThemeForest or any of our marketplaces or items from your Paid Ads on Google, Bing or any search engines. This would be a violation of our PPC policy.

Upon further enquiry, they admitted it’s a new rule. How disgraceful and disrespectful to send a policy violation warning for a policy they never mentioned or no one agreed upon! How about you publish it and notify all affiliates upfront - several months in advance.

We all know how terrible the affiliate system is to begin with it only counting a referral if a user has never ever visited any of the Envato marketplaces - which is very rare. But this is a deal breaker. The lack of respect, and changing of policy without publishing or notifying is a serious disservice to Authors as well as affiliates.

Further, it doesn’t matter if you’re sending the paid traffic to your own item:

The problem, is if your PPC ads link to anywhere on our sites. It doesn’t matter if you’re linking to our homepage, your item page, your author profile or a collection. All of these are prohibited. You simply cannot buy ads for our marketplaces

tl;dr: You cannot send paid traffic via ads to Envato market anymore - doesn’t matter if it’s your own item.

Hi Themesphere,

I’m Will Herring and I recently started managing the Envato Affiliate Program. I want to quickly address three things:

  • The Messaging of Our Comms
  • Why Direct Linking Is Bad For Authors/Affiliates
  • Who can direct link to Envato Market

The Messaging of Our Comms
You are correct, the direct linking clause is not yet in our terms. You should’ve been informed that the comms was a “heads up” about an impending change so that you could get started updating your ads. The change should’ve gone live several weeks ago with our new affiliate program features (more on that later), but was delayed because of development and testing of these new features.

I apologise for the lack of clarity in the email you received, but will provide it now. The direct linking policy will be live in the upcoming weeks and everyone who is currently in violation is receiving a “heads up”. Once the policy is in place, there will be consequences for direct linking due to its negative impact on author’s ability to market their items cheaply and effectively.

Why Direct Linking Is Bad For Authors/Affiliates
Google search results only shows one ad per domain. If 50 authors/affiliates are bidding on the keyword phrase “best wordpress themes” and all are linking to a page on, only 1 author/affiliate will be shown. This means all ads directing to the same domain are bidding against each other for the right to be shown. The eventual result of this is higher prices for all authors/affiliates and less traffic to the marketplaces.

This new linking behavior we’re introducing to our terms makes it possible for multiple Envato authors to be displayed for relevant paid search results and it can make it cheaper to do so. This is something many of our best selling authors have been doing for sometime. One example can be seen in the image below.


Who can direct link to Envato Market
Envato can. We’ve recently added a team of world class paid advertisers who alongside our other marketing teams are driving traffic and helping authors earn more. Our paid ads team is also creating and split testing ads that will be shared with authors/affiliates along with other learnings that you can use to drive more traffic to your items. We’ll be sharing these creatives and learnings in the near future.

I hope this has provided clarity on why we made this decision, when it will be going live, and helped you to see that Envato is still committed to seeing our community earnings grow.

Again, apologies for the miscommunication.

This change is really bad. It has killed all my paid marketing efforts as well. The other little attempts I’ve made have been 3 times more expensive with little results. I got an email a while back saying this is not allowed. My question now is: If I can send 1000 users/day using paid campaigns to my own landing page why am I using Envato? Organic traffic is terrible here after you leave the home page and the first two pages of the category. You’ve taken away the only other effective tool that was easily available for authors who don’t have popular websites and/or social accounts.

If I can send traffic to my own website/landing page then Envato becomes more and more useless. You are slowly cannibalising yourself. Another nail in the coffin. Sigh!

So what is with direct linking via paid ads now? Is it allowed or not? Whre can I see it in Envato Affiliate Program?