Customization - not!

Needless to say, after 9 years and thousands of items purchased through Envato’s many sites, I’m a big fan. But the one thing I have never been a fan of is the utter disdain some theme developers have for supporting the people who purchase their themes. Theme design is rapidly becoming a commodity sport. However, support is the one reason I keep coming back to certain designers over and over again.

One of the biggest failures is the use of the word “customization” to preclude help on an issue. Some theme designers think that any change to their theme, beyond how it is offered, is a customization. By this logic, changing out their logo for mine is a customization - so would simply changing text or punctuation. This is ridiculous.

One of the more consistent issues I have to ask every theme developer to do is to remove dates from their posts, pages and widgets. One would think that in today’s evergreen content marketing environment, that this would be understood - not even close! Yet most every time I ask them to do this, they cry “customization”. Deleting something from your theme is a customization now? Hardly. Adding an element is a customization. Deleting one is simply support.

Working with existing core elements like dates is a configuration issue. Requesting a new and different functionality is a customization. This shouldn’t be hard for adults to understand.

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I agree with them. If you wish to change something that requires modification of source code and not related to bug fixing, it is customization.

Everything is a source code modification. That logic doesn’t hold water. And support is more than fixing bugs - which should be fixed regardless of whether or not you have support.

(Genuine) Bug fixes and version updates are included for free forever as long as the item is on the marketplace.

I think the reason behind the support policy being worded as it is, would be to prevent further confusion and prevent the potential for exploitation.

In the majority of cases author support will most likely help with minor changes like removing text BUT the finite rule about any customisation being outside support still needs to be there because what constitutes a simple change will vary from buyer to buyer, author to author, or theme to theme.

It is near on impossible to determine precisely let alone create a consistent benchmark across millions of files - hence more confusion, more frustration for both buyers and authors and why the policies are how they are.

Now you’re going too far afield. There is no confusion - unless people want it… Existing elements require configuration. New elements require a customized solution. Pretty simple.

Not really - simplified would be to say that as buyers we agreed to terms that said customisations are outside scope. The issue is that the term “customisation” is subjective which causes confusion.

This would be the same if envato took an “existing or new” approach - making some edits can be considerably different in terms of work.

Forms are a good example - Say there is an “existing form” but a buyer wants to add new fields… that’s not as easy as deleting some text or changing an image.

Beyond this - if an author offered even basic changes then I guarantee that the number of requests would fly up. What happens with themes that sell hundreds if not thousands of copies a month - if even 20% of their buyers ask for changes the work load would be unrealistic. The same problem exists for “one-man-band” authors even if they only sell smaller numbers of themes don’t have the resource or time to do this.

Personally (as a buyer) I think that we get exceptional deals here on items and that:

  1. There should be an assumed level of knowledge if buying a website template beyond which any buyer is willing to invest in professional help

  2. Ive never heard of another marketplace which would guarantee changes to a product (no matter how small) for free ongoing.

  3. Buyers already get a get offer having 6 months support for free (again never seen another marketplace with this official assurance), adding to already high author expectation will only serve to drive them away, lowering the quality and quantity that makes envato so successful and actually harming buyer rather than helping them.

My point is that different requests, themes, authors etc all require unique consideration and it is simply not possible to define guidelines that easily.

Yes really. Envato’s policy does say that “customization” falls outside the scope of support.

Forms are a poor example since most are handled by a plugin that can be customized by the user. And those plugins offer such support.

What happens is that they sell. The creative model scales. I don’t understand what your point is here.

As for your list:

  1. You know what you do when you assume things Charlie.
  2. I don’t care about other marketplaces, I care about this one. Also, it’s why support runs out and you have to buy an extension - which would cover these configurations for as long as you paid for support. Why is this an issue?
  3. You made my point.

Yes it is and I have done so above: “Working with existing core elements like dates is a configuration issue. Requesting a new and different functionality is a customization.”

Some may, some don’t. It’s not hard to distinguish between the two.