Thanks to everyone for your patience while we’ve been working on theses responses to your questions. We really appreciate you folks taking the time to connect with us, and we wanted to make sure we provided considered answers- perhaps not the answers you wanted - but considered ones nonetheless.
Questions to Mr. Collis Ta’eed (@collis ) and Ms. Cyan Ta’eed:
How do you see the future of ThemeForest in the next 3-5 years (taking into account all the past experience and the current state of affairs) Are you planning to hold an IPO in the next 3-5 years?
WordPress as a platform has never been more popular; we know that nearly 30% of all websites utilize it now in some way, and as a result, there remains an ongoing demand from customers for the products our authors sell on ThemeForest. Having said that, this customer segment is evolving and as a marketplace, we will need to be flexible in how we respond to fresh challenges. As many of our authors know, one of the ways we are doing this is through our work on Envato Sites and Envato Hosted, which will cater for a new group of customers who want to derive the full benefit of the skills and experience of our creative community, but by and large have a lower technical capacity to do so.
As for an IPO, there are no current plans for this. The thing that matters to us most is to make a company that makes an impact. That’s the thing we talk about amongst ourselves and we consider all options available to use to ensure this remains front of mind.
Let’s imagine for a moment that you didn’t start your own company and you both still work as the web and graphic designers. So, as the beginning Authors on ThemeForest, please state 3 things that you like on this marketplace and 3 things that you would like to change for the better. Thanks.
We’re proud of the diversity of the products on our marketplaces, the quality of each item that’s available and the passion and engagement that sits at the heart of the creative community in our marketplaces. We can always find things to improve, and as a result, we are conscious of making sure customers have the best experience they can when browsing and purchasing on the marketplace, and that our author community - both existing and new - are part of a review process that is smooth and informative, and helps set them up for success in the future.
Envato Elements Questions:
Eleven months ago in Forbes article3, Xavier Russo describes the Element’s model “subscriber share”, as more honest. We all know that “downloads” are the metric of calculating the profit of Contributors. But the Contributors don’t see the number of downloads of their items. In my opinion, this is somewhat illogical. Will you fix it? (we have been waiting for it for a year) Please name the specific deadlines. Thanks.
We hear you. Author’s currently don’t have a whole lot to indicate the success of their items other than the money that arrives in their bank account each pay-cycle!
By way of explanation, Elements is a very new product. Our major focus over the past 12 months has been keeping the platform Envato Elements up, stable and ensuring healthy subscriber growth relative to the size of the contributor base. That’s a lot more work than you might imagine for a platform that’s growing as rapidly as Envato Elements. Financial systems to ensure authors are paid, deadlines for uploading new content and simply keeping the thing up and running has taken a lot of our resources and been the focus of our time. Unfortunately this has meant some author tooling has fallen by the wayside. We know it’s frustrating and we apologize for that.
We may not necessarily add the number of downloads, but we do expect to add more insights into how items are performing. As well as other metrics and insights to help authors work out their popular items. At the moment, we have no timing around this (and in reality, it’s not on the radar for the next few months), but it is something we are aware of.
Advertising banner of Envato Elements presence on ThemeForest (and other Envato Market sites). Don’t you think this is somewhat unfair to those Envato Authors who are not participants of Envato Elements? (this question was asked by the Elements Contributor, who is not indifferent to the feelings of other Envato Authors).
It’s a good question. And there are a few pieces to it. If the Elements banner is visible to Market customers, aren’t we cannibalising Market sales by having it greet our Market customers?
The answer is yes - but to a significantly lesser extent than a lot of people think.
It’s easy to think of Envato customers as one giant pool of fish. A finite number that can only be allocated to so many places before it depletes. The reality is that the organic traffic that hits Market is comprised of hundreds of different types of fish - segments if you will. Each segment will respond differently to different offerings. Some never find what they’re looking for.
The primary target customer for this Elements banner is one who would visit ThemeForest and find that it is not viable for them to make individual purchases constantly. Is there overlap between that group and those that previously purchased on Market? Of course. But it’s a small one, and it’s a decision that we’ve made because we expect that it will genuinely lead to higher earnings for authors overall.
Almost half a year ago, one of our active subscribers asked a very topical question about a very strange situation with filtering algorithm (link9). We would like to hear your opinion on this matter here. Thanks.
We are comfortable with the current state of our filtering algorithm, as it produces results consistent with customer needs. It’s not perfect, but it’s serving a purpose for now. However, we are always happy to take on feedback that will help us better our platform.
What does Envato plan to do with the total drop in sales?
So talking candidly, here’s what we can report;
We know that WordPress is not necessarily growing like it did in its glory days. We know that some of our authors are seeing drops, others are seeing peaks, and others are still growing. We also know that some authors are feeling a squeeze. Not all, but some.
The reality of the situation is that this squeeze has much less to do with the total number of customers, which are stable, and much more to do with the growing number of authors.
The number of authors eating from the pie has grown faster than the pie itself. As more authors are joining Envato this is increasing the options that customers have and distributing sales across a wider author base. Envato Market has become fiercely competitive, and in some ways that’s quite a good thing.
We acknowledge that this does affect some authors on an individual basis, and we are taking steps to ensure we protect those who are working hard to create fantastic content. We are in the process of introducing an Author Management system to improve quality and integrity across our platforms while offering coaching and guidance. This system will help us ensure we are rewarding those who do the right thing, assist authors to be as successful as they can be (remember; your success is our success) and bring a new level of accountability.
In addition, Elements will have a positive influence on the share of sales between authors. By employing our subscriber share model, authors will be able to continue to prosper while creating their own niche and not be financially penalized by being different and delivering content that they specialize in and are passionate about.
Do you consider the rating algorithm based on sales to be fair? Thus, it turns out that those who went to ThemeForest at the very beginning will always be at the top.
The sorting options provided on ThemeForest (Newest Items, Best Rated, etc) are applied evenly across all items, with no additional weighting given to authors who have been selling on Envato Market for a longer period of time. Our goal is to give customers options that help them to identify products that meet their needs, sorting through a large number of potential options. Different customers will prefer different methods, but top selling items are commonly sought out - this is why we provide a “popular items” page for each category.
Does Envato plan to revise the sales commission in Author’s favor? For example, up to 80% or more, as compensation for the lack of sales.
We’re always considering what our rates are, and we’re certainly not saying they will never change. However, right now we have no immediate plans to alter our rates.
With regards to the mention of compensation for the lack of sales, please refer to our response in Question 2.
Will Envato add information about the number of product views in public access?
We will not add information about the number of product views in public access as this could lead to an abuse of the system, such as gaming for more page views, which will negatively affect authors. Data on page views is already currently available to all authors for their own items, and more detailed Google Analytics data is available to all Elite authors.
Does Envato plan emailing with interesting collections of items by beginner authors? Are there any steps already being taken in this direction?
There are currently no plans to do this. Envato features authors who give customers the best experiences, which helps retain long-term and engaged customers, leading to more sales for authors.
Will Envato implement support for Apple Pay or cryptocurrency?
We are continuing to build our localization strategy to expand our global access and reach. This does include providing more localized payment methods on Envato Market, focusing on locations with a low take-up of credit card and PayPal payment methods (related to their market size).
When will the Authors be given the opportunity to make personalized mailings to their Buyers, with the option of subscribing/unsubscribing?
This is not an option we are looking at enabling and there are two reasons that have been considered:
First, we believe that we should manage the customer relationship, as we supply the platform, facilitate the financial transactions and marketplaces/customer base (of course we couldn’t do that without our authors and your content).
Second, the various Privacy Acts prevent us from sharing contact emails to third parties, by enabling this we would be in a clear violation of our legal obligations to our customers.
With regards to the DMCA, the following information reflects Envato’s position:
In addition to processing a DMCA takedown notice, Envato may freeze part of an Author’s earnings. Release of frozen earnings will occur at our discretion, but we may release funds to the Author after 90 days, where no valid counter-notification has been filed.
Release of frozen funds might also occur where the person issuing the notice retracts the allegations, if we’re compelled to do so by a binding order issued by a relevant judicial authority, or under a relevant agreement settling the dispute.
For more information on our role in the process as the platform provider please see our Content Policy
Thanks for these amazing questions and the time and effort you all took to generate them. We’ll be standing by over the next few days and will follow up if there are any additional questions that come up as a result of our responses.