Author asking for 5 star rating

Hi everyone,

At the end of 2017 I bought a theme for a webshop on themeforest. Since I have installed the theme it has some major bugs and it’s not working in some browsers.

I contacted their support and the first solutions reply’s where that it was a browser cache issue. It took me several days to convince them that it was a bug and other customers where also talking about it. After this I have written a bad review about the bugs. I also stated in the review that I would change it when the major bugs are solved.

Now I have received multiply times the request to change it to five stars and they ask for my corporation. I don’t like this at all. For me the review is my current opinion of the theme. The webshop broken for a week was for me the reason to write it.

At this moment the bugs aren’t solved but of course I will change the review when my website is working properly.

Have others experienced this before? Do you think is ok for authors to ask for it or do you have the same opinion as me? Please let me know :slight_smile:

I guess this situation has two points of view.

From “legal” point, it’s OK for author to ask to change item’s rating and/or remove negative rating.

However, from “ethical” point, I don’t think it’s a good practice to ask for it for multiple times, especially if the issue remains. If my item was rated bad for some specific bug, I would never attack client with my requests to change his rating until the bug is fully resolved. Only then I would kindly ask (once) client to re-consider his rating if client is happy now.

Being a client, who constantly receives multiple requests to change item rating, I would leave my bad rating forever (by filling it with additional details on how author attacks me with rating change requests), so author can taste his own medicine (unethical behavior). Because it seems like the only way to teach unethical authors about ethical business strategies.


Authors Work really hard to produce the Theme which can build your website in few $$. You should respect authors cause they produced something which meet’s near to your needs.

You are blackmailing author by posting bad review to get something specific done. Cause you want to change the rating after your get something done for your or in theme.

Here is what you should do, ask the author to solve the issue if they do its good if they promise for a time give them time.

If all tries fail then you should only post the review no problem if its bad. But do not write i will change if you do this.

Sorry but I can’t believe you call it blackmailing… I bought a product that is not working and I just wrote what I am experiencing and what the facts are. (Edit: before this I already contacted support and I got reply’s without them reading the issues carefully. Only a “solved” message" but no feedback about the bugs and not solved at all. Even after asking for it a second time I only got "it working’, Sorry for not making this clear in the first post)

After that I received the requests from the author to change it to 5 stars to cooperate with them. My reply to the author was that I will change it when I am experiencing a good product. (I added this to the review after they contacted me for 5 stars) Only then I can reconsider the rating of a product and how I have experiencing the support.

You call it blackmailing but the author requests a better rating than it is in reality and is asking for my corporation in that prior to fixing it. I can’t write a false review to get my product fixed.

I can’t see why it’s blackmailing. A working product is not something extra to demand, but the standard. Bugs can always occur, but it is also a matter of testing and the way support handels. I can also leave the review forever, but if the product is good I want to notify others about it. There’s nothing wrong to give a product another chance when it’s working.

Sorry that I’m keep adding lines to this post but I am trembling from such an accusation.

I would never attack client with my requests to change his rating until the bug is fully resolved. Only then I would kindly ask (once) client to re-consider his rating if client is happy now.

I totally agree Phpmillion, I also offered items (not a Wordpress theme) on a other website. And it’s not fun to receive a bad review but then I am going to work to fix it for them and ask them briefly for a reconsiderd review when the issues are solved.

Is it okay for them to do that? Yes, to an extent.

As a buyer, you have the ability to share your experience with other buyers. This is the purpose of the public review system. If problems are masked with fake five star reviews, the purpose is defeated.

Per the market terms (linked below), the following can be said:

  • It is your right to leave a review as you see fit (as long as it’s not deceptive or misleading).
  • The author is not forbidden from requesting you to change it, but they cannot harass you.
  • The author cannot deny you support because of a negative review if your support is still active.

I did a little tracking down to find your review, and I don’t see anything wrong with it at all, so you’re fine.

If they request that you change the rating, I would personally say something among the lines of “The item is not working properly for me. Please fix the bugs and I will leave feedback accordingly.” If they request it again, the easiest solution is to kindly request that they stop asking you.

Regarding what @webfulcreations said about “blackmail” - I do often see reviews on some items where buyers leave 3-4 stars with a comment such as “Add (insert feature here) and I will update to 5 stars”. That is definitely not okay.

But to have an issue with the item and therefore leave a negative review… there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, in this case, authors should welcome a statement such as “I will update this to 5 stars once you fix it” because many buyers will never bother to go back and change their review once the issues are fixed.

Of course if you feel that an author is behaving inappropriately, is in violation of the Author Terms, or is denying you item support as per the Market Terms, you can open a Help Ticket at the link below and Envato will look into it for you.

Also, just to point out: I don’t work for Envato and this is not any sort of official response, just my opinion as a buyer and author.

I think this is completely the wrong attitude to take. I also think the person who is continually asking for a five star review is in the wrong… but with posts like yours, it’s clear that more than a few authors think it’s ok.

He’s not blackmailing anyone… he’s got an item which (he feels*) isn’t working as it should, and he wants it to work as it should. Why should anybody rate something five stars if it’s not doing what they expect it to do? If the item is working fine but the buyer leaves a low review until the author completes some custom changes or carries out work which isn’t included in the support… then that could be considered blackmail, but that’s not what’s happening here.

Consider you go into a restaurant and your food is cold, but apart from that, you think the place is pretty good. As a result, you leave a four star review. You want to give the restaurant the benefit of the doubt, so you’re happy to go again, and would love to leave them a five star review… but you’d only feel comfortable giving them a 5 if the food is hot this time. That’s basically what is happening here, and I don’t think anybody would consider that blackmail.

This isn’t about a lack of respect for the author or anything to do with the price. Authors can set the price, so if they’re not happy letting their work go for $X then they should increase the price to $Y. This is about a customer buying a product which is defective. Or appears to be defective.

If anybody is guilty of blackmail (although I don’t think anyone is), I’d lean towards it being the author… as this could, or may have already, progressed to the point that the author will not treat the buyer with respect and/or assist them to the fullest… if they don’t leave a five star review.

The ends should never justify the means. Don’t worry about stars, worry about what it is that makes buyers rate anything less than five stars. Confronting a buyer about leaving less than five stars, rather than prioritising the issue at hand, is unlikely to do you any favours. Personally, even if the author fixes the issue… I’d score the author an extra one star for fixing it, and score them down two stars for the complete lack of professionalism, thus leaving them three stars.

*As we all know, there is the potential for user error, which is why I’ve put that the buyer ‘feels the item isn’t working as it should’, rather than ‘the item isn’t working as it should’. But in this case, there’s no evidence to support the possibility that the customer is in the wrong, or is making it up… so in that case, why should they leave five stars if the item has bugs and isn’t working as expected?


I kindly requested them to stop and I have explained why I wrote the review and why i see it as my freedom to write about the bugs I experience. I just received a reply with apologizing for the issues but the message ends again with “So please dear change your rating”

Maybe that I will contact Envato support about it but also thinking to just let it go at this point until there is a new update :slight_smile:

Yes, the OP wants to get something done - fix a bug which is also reported by other users.

We don’t know if you ever bought a faulty item (let it be some script, electronics device, car, whatever), but if you did, and you never asked the seller to fix it (because it looks like blackmailing to you), I think you were taken advantage of. Not only such a behavior hurts you directly (because you get faulty item), but also affects other users in a negative way (because seller starts thinking he can get away with faulty items, so he doesn’t need to care about quality that much).

This is 100% true. As the 100% true is that authors should respect buyers too.

The example - one of my items has all 5 star reviews except one, which is 4 stars because of support. Here’s the story: client rated us 5 stars for support. A few weeks later, he asked us to make him a custom script, which he can use to integrate purchased item into his ordering system. We explained him that such a request is beyond support, but respecting client’s needs, we offered him this: our programmers will do all the custom coding for client, if he renews item support for extra 6 months.

Not only it means he will get extended support, but he will also receive free coding from us. Right after that, client changed his rating to 4 stars.

Guess what? We never complained about this and never asked client to change his rating. If client thinks that item author should create extra script for client at no cost just to get 5 stars rating, it’s his opinion, which we respect.

For now I decided to let it go,

I have written a reply with again the message that I can’t change it at this time because it will mask experienced bugs for others. And i have given the author some suggestions such as access to previous versions to temporary fix it and maybe a stable and beta version of the theme to test changes on the customers own risk.

We need to know what is your “bug”? Sometimes, users want customization for free or they do not understand what is a theme’s bug, what is a content bug (ex: too long menu, too long title…)
I think using 1* rating to get them done is really bad, but if it is a bug, you should ask & wait for them to fix it, then you could finally leave your review

The current bugs i have is that the theme is not working in safari browsers, it shows all content without collums mixed over the page like it’s a word document. Second bug is that all fonts are broken and turn into a new times roman like font and other font size without the option to change it back to open sans (their theme options panel doesn’t save at the moment). I don’t think it’s right to give all the details. It’s not my goal to give the author a bad name here.

The reason that i have written the review is not to get it done. It’s caused by the way support reacted, didn’t read the issues and that i can’t work on my website for over a week. for example if they gave access to a older version i was able to work on the site.

I had created a support ticket with the bugs stated and screenshots. And only got messages with ‘it’s solved’ and without saying anything over other bugs I stated in that ticket for over a week. I asked multiply times kindly what the status was.

I want to notify others that i have those problems. It’s not saying “This theme is bad” I only say in the review what I am experiencing. I talk about the safari bug and that I hope support can fix it.

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Update: I contacted Envato support about the things I noticed in this post. I hope that the things are not as bad as they sound after all. Maybe it’s a site issue or something. I am now waiting for a reply :slight_smile:

I’m sorry for the double post but today I found out something disturbing.

My review is removed, together with many other negative reviews that wrote about bugs in the theme. Now there are only 4 and 5 stars left. +10 - 15 reviews from the past days are gone. Most of them where kindly and only talking about what they experienced.

This is a product with + 10.000 sales. With a author asking for removing my reviews 3 times in a row because I quote “it’s bad”. I feel cheated. I don’t know what they say to Envato support but there was nothing wrong with my review. Why is Envato helping companies to hide the opinion of customers? I would never bought it if I had known this. I would like know if there where major issues with a product if I was looking to buy a theme.




This was my review, I my option nothing wrong about it:

"I have major issues with this theme. The theme is completely broken in safari and I have major font issues for several days now. I am getting messages from support that it’s solved when in reality no bugs are solved. I’m very disappointed at this point. I hope the author can fix this problems.

Update: I received the request from the author to update this review to 5 stars to encourage their work. I change it when the major issues are solved. I can’t write a false review to get a product fixed. Support says that it’s a cache problem when it’s not. Friends are testing the website and have the same problems.

(Please note: I’m rewriting the review because it is removed everywhere, There could be some small changes with the original as I am writing it from my memory. But I am not changing anything to look good or leave things out.

I understand that others say that I have to wait before writing a review. But i did, support kept telling me it’s was my issue without testing on real devices. I didn’t had a working product from the beginning. Together with many others complaining about exactly the same major bugs.

Other customers noticed that whenever a bad review was posted there was posted a 5 star review next “No bugs at all! Never problems! fantastic!” This is always the same person who post this reviews (By updating the review to get it to the top) First I was thinking it wasn’t true but I indeed noticed now that the same account is posting a new 5 star review multiply times a day. We all are still having the issues at this time 2 updates later.

If I want to buy a product I want to know what other customers think about it. Let me as a future customer decide if a review is helpful or not. I want to know what I’m buying with the known issues. Literally every negative review is removed

Wow, that’s a shame on Envato. Did you try contacting Envato support for some more details on this? But if all negative reviews were removed, it sounds terrible and very unethical at least.

Update: I contacted Envato support about the things I noticed in this post. I hope that the things are not as bad as they sound after all. Maybe it’s a site issue or something. I am now waiting for a reply :slight_smile:

I didn’t yet. I want to but I am also a bit scared now to contact Envato now because everything is being deleted. :disappointed_relieved:

I am shocked and I don’t make this stuff up. A other user just complained about possible fake reviews (Ofcourse it also can be a very satisfied customer) calling the username he thinks the reviews are fake from and that specific user just posted a 5 star review again… first new review after someone is talking about it.

The product gets about 4 or 5 reviews a day (positive and negative) and now there are only +/- 14 reviews left from the last 8 days. and only +/- 19 from the last 22 days. That’s a very large amount of reviews gone.

Cvdheuvel: I am responding to your original post. I don’t blame you, I would not like it at all. I am also having problems when I buy themes having the authors respond to problems. One of my pet peeves is the attitude of some of the authors who won’t help you do anything they deem “customization,” including something as simple as making the area for the logo larger in a theme … an almost universal request from my customers.

Author support has always been an issue with me regarding Themeforest, but in the past it was worth some inconvenience in order to have access to themes without having to start from scratch. However, within the last 1 to 1 1/2 years, I run into author problems frequently. To me it’s unacceptable to wait a week or more to have an author contact you. Sometimes I don’t hear from the authors AT ALL. Many times when the authors DO contact me regarding questions and problems, it’s done in a hurried way and you get some crap answer such as “read the instructions” and you can tell they didn’t take it seriously or spend any time researching it, and then you answer and wait another week.

I ALWAYS purchase support. When this was first available I thought, finally, we have an answer to authors who won’t support their themes. It was better for awhile, but now it’s degraded back into the “buyer beware” atmosphere it was before the support policy was enacted. I hate to say it, but sometimes the ONLY leverage you have over authors is to write a bad review on their comments. That is also unacceptable to me … I don’t like doing things like that at all. I just want to be treated fairly once I purchase a theme and support.

I realize that if I get a bad theme or if there are problems and the author won’t fix it you can contact Themeforest and they will give you a refund. That doesn’t solve a thing. The REAL cost behind a theme that doesn’t work is MY TIME. They can’t reimburse me for working for weeks on a website only to run into an unacceptable bug that can’t be solved.

And, yes, there are EXCELLENT authors; ones who respond with good documentation and answer questions and fix problems. I really appreciate them. But all it takes is one BAD author who causes me to waste several weeks of my time to sour the whole experience. I recently actually lost a customer due to something I couldn’t figure out how to fix and had an author who wouldn’t respond to me at all. And, how do you tell, exactly, which authors are the good ones? You can try reading the reviews and the comments, but I have found that doesn’t work either. I’ve purchased themes with glowing reviews about the author just to find I have another one who won’t respond to questions. So, if we can’t write honest reviews, then how is anyone else going to know whether the theme is going to work or not? Top it off with each author having their own “preferred” way of being contacted! It’s hard to decide or find out exactly HOW to contact some authors. One thing that would really help is some type of standardized method for contacting authors where they are held accountable for responding.

I hope that Envato solves these problems soon. I am at a point where I am going to start looking elsewhere for themes. And, I would be happy to spend more on the themes and/or support if it prevents problems down the road.

They can delete this post if they want to.

I agree authors should never ask for ratings esp. in return for support.

Nevertheless I’m afraid there is no guaranteed solution to this problem.

Envato don’t own the items or employ the authors, so all that they can do is to either try to reason with the author, or should that not work then remove their item(s).

I am sure if there is a workable alternative then envato would welcome to hear what could be done?

For what it’s worth (I am not an author) while noone would deny there are better and worse items on the marketplaces, I am sure that there is a very even balance between issues created by buyers as much as by authors.

Little update: I fixed the major issue by my self and help of a fellow customer. I suggested to the author that now the product is working that we can see this as a new start. Maybe i bought the product at a bad time in development. Contacted Envato about the reviews and hoping that it is a website issue or something like that.

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I haven’t finished setting up my website yet, but saw another poster who stated they had 500 internal server errors so far on their site. Not good. Stay honest - if the author wants a 5 star rating, they will fix the code