Has envato review process become a hoax ? And what do authors do about it ?

Now before i get started, some insights:

I have been themeforest author for almost 9 years now, had more then 18 themes approved on both my account and my partners account too. However i can’t help noticing that the review process has become sort of a joke here on themeforest, not sure about other marketplaces like codecanyone etc, but this has come to a point where as much as i can tell, judging by other authors comments a lot of them are looking for alternative marketplaces.

For example my own situation:

We had a theme uploaded and it was rejected (soft rejection), after that we fixed all the issues mentioned before ,it was approved for about 3 minutes before reviewer put it on disabled saying it was his mistake, after that we had couple of soft rejections (once he even gave us hard rejection for a theme that has been on soft rejection for about 10 times at that point), and after one of the rejections, where reviewer pointed out some issue that we didn’t even have in our theme ( i mean literally we didn’t even used the plugin he thought was creating an issue ) i pointed out that it was a mistake and we don’t use that plugin, he said and i quote “You’re right, but here’s more issues” and after that 7 months of soft rejections, with over 40 rejections, every time he would have some “issues”, in fact couple of last rejections he would just screenshot things he doesn’t like, and by that i mean he would say i don’t like the size of the button you use here and there etc, and IT HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR 7 MONTHS NOW, always same reviewer with new “issues”. Now tell is this normal ?

After that another theme same thing, soft rejection all the time, and there is no list of things to fix to get approved if you fix for example list of 10 items that reviewer mentions, next time he’ll somehow dig up 10 more? So not only that reviews are incomplete but also this makes time for review same as before, hell it was better before, you would wait 30 days or so, but you would get a definitive review, not these jokes they send authors which in the end make money for them ? And it feels as when there’s no issues with the theme they will go totally subjective and start just taking screenshots of parts they “don’t like”?

I would like to hear more from elite authors about this, we can’t be the only one seeing this sort of parade they are making out this marketplace ?


imo some new reviewers (based on rejection theeads on these forums) seem to be taking their job too seriously and finding reasons to reject anything so it looks like they are doing their job “right”. Unfortunately you will get these people in every job and they only learn with experience but while they learn the ropes, legitimate items will be rejected until they get upto speed.

Open a support ticket and ask for another reviewer to look over the item, explains that length of time and your issues with the current reviewer, it may mean your item going through another wait in the queue but least then you will know if the reviewer was being too subjective on an item


Will they give me a new reviewer, that’s the question, and would it really change anything ?

I remember the review process couple of years back, while it took longer, it was better, they would actually reviewer your item as whole, i have a feeling that the review now is something like this: I have found issues, not gonna check the rest until next upload, and so on, and so on… and you end up uploading your theme 40-50 times.

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I can’t see why not, you have a legitimate case for an additional review as you have had issues and as a “partner” of Envato should be able to ask for an additional review. @KingDog is this possible?

The review queue is less as there are more reviewes (good thing) but the quality may have reduced due to the various experience of the reviewers. It’s possible Envato reduced the workload of the review by telling them not to do a full review, if they find an issue then get it fixed but that’s counter intuitive as you said as it will mean a lot more time spent on one review than the 1/2 hours doing it all “properly” from the start.

Btw one more thing to me make it even more frustrating was a situation couple of months back where a reviewer has rejected our theme 12 minutes after the upload (same reviewer that has been rejecting that same theme for at that point 5 months), honestly can you really do a review in 12 minutes ?

He just copied same generic reasons and got us rejected.

Seen another thread about this, it must be a mistake where they have hit the wrong button? Imo unless the item is really poor, there should be a minimum time set for a review e.g. an hour so the reviewer can properly look over it and test it. There does seem to be some mistakes coming from reviewers lately, I would personally put it down to inexperience but it also could be a change made by Envato to speed up reviews.

Well honestly they’re hit that wrong button like it’s a prostitute on a Friday night. :smiley:

But seriously this is something really weird, and if i recall correctly when that happened it was really just couple of really small issues, but then suddenly 12 minutes later, well you get the picture. Anyway I will give another go with upload today, after that i’m contacting the support, i know who’s the reviewer, won’t name it here. But i don’t think he’s reviews are fair, it feels like i made him mad for pointing out his mistakes during the review, and after that he doesn’t frankly do any review anymore.

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I have the same issue as well my I am struggling to submit simple PSD template for 8 months but they are rejecting same with copy paste reply rather than helping author with screenshots or proper guideline. I have got reviews from from forum’s authors and they have not found any issues which are mentioned by reviewer. I am doing this for 10 years and they are raising issues like I am newbie. I have seen many templates approved which are even not have quality like mine. Another thing I have noticed is envato reviewers does not have own items uploaded and how can they review our items??

Now I am frustrated and seems like Themeforest lost their charm and now looks like I need to find another alternative.

I think the main problem is lack of interest from reviewers in actually reviewing the items, we had situation where we would get one issue mentioned, and then after fixing it and uploading it again, there’s new 6-8 issues, now i’m not saying those issues are made up, but instead of partly reviewing the item for 20 times, i think if reviewer spends 1-2 hours they could do a decent review, which would save us time, both them and authors.

Plus i don’t think they don’t have strict guideline, one reviewer will reject the item for something, other won’t, or even worse situations, we had situations where one reviewer would suggest adding/removing something and then next reviewer would ask the opposite from that, so you end up in a loop with just uploading items.

This is happening for a while now. I too have a theme in soft reject for months now and I don’t even bother anymore. Sales gone through the floor, shitty reviews, everything is going down. I lack any motivation to submit again anytime soon.

I think they try to go around the huge review times by simply soft reject themes and then keep them for months like this. People were complaining about 40-50 days reviews so they simply soft reject in a couple of days and then keep you forever like this. No real fix to the review times, just a gimmick to shut our mouths.

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But why is no one talking about it ? Why are authors so mute and passive about it ?
I remember themeforest marketplace like 5-6 years ago, it was joy to work for this marketplace and to produce new products, the reviewers were engaged in the process of getting your product out, now is just postponing the release by constantly soft rejecting the item by simple digging infinitive “issues”, and I don’t see authors talking about it ?

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I think that’s because Envato killed the “middle class” (review times and review quality, products quality, ADP, USA move, Elements). There are the guys from the top and the rest that is thankful for a few sales.

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I agree , seams to me that they are a bit excessive, I got a hard reject with http://themes.webdesign-flash.ro/upt/ even though I agree with the reviewers points of view. This is not the case on codecanyon, I see all kind of bad projects approved.

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correct !!

if anyone know higher authority in forum then mention them here

While the frustration of rejection is understandable, the current approach remains the best solution for a complicated process

In no way am I suggesting that there is not room for improvement, but it is important (for everyone’s sanity and to prevent further confusion), to consider the wider picture, and that not everything negative is always just envato’s responsibility.

In the context of some of the above points:

Consistency between reviewers. I actually agree completely with this point however; I don’t see a solution. Ideally, you would always have the same reviewer for each round of amends made, but this would mean that the reviewer would need to wait for an author to make amends rather than risk taking on more reviews where the same situation could arise. What if it took 1 week? What if it took 1 month? What if an author simply decided not to bother? It would all add up and create an unworkable queue.

Removing/simplifying reviews. Sorry but this is a terrible idea for numerous reasons. For example, the standards implemented on envato are a major part of what sets them apart. Flooding the market with sub-standard items would mean less exposure for quality items, a worse customer experience and greatly reduced home page exposure, the only solution to which would be to create a max volume of items per day which in turn would create even longer delays.

Longer /more committed reviews e.g. 1 hour checks. We don’t know how many submissions happen each month but, in the past, it has been out at 10’s of thousands. Based on 1 hour to do 100 reviews would take 12 working days based on 7.5-hour days. It’s simply not possible.

Hire more reviewers. Realistically to make a visible difference would require fairly large numbers of hires. From a business perspective this may not be possible, would have to be paid for from somewhere, and probably only make a certain impact.

Not all reviewers have items for sale. Reviewers are hand-picked experts who are then given further training. Besides when reviewers do have items then more often authors get upset because they have the conspiracy theory that they are rejecting to give themselves greater chance (which by the way they do not).

The value of giving detailed reviews. This is speaking in general – obviously established authors like @pixelsharmony and @SkatDesign may be different. Just by looking in these forums we see rejected items which are a million miles from the standard. Based on these - if a reviewer told them to improve typography, resolve hierarchy etc. what % would realistically be able to action that effectively? If they fail to do so then will this not create more delays and even greater frustration for both reviewers and the author?

There is an elephant in the room here – again without trying to justify envato’s position, nor aiming this at any one case, if some authors took the time and respect to realistically review their items properly before submission and carry out even basic checks like validation, pixelated assets, then the review queue would dramatically reduce and submissions increase. The fact is that for everything anyone can expect envato to do there must be a level of responsibility on authors also

Just to reiterate - I am not trying to justify anything, suggesting that there are no areas where envato could potentially do more, nor think that there will not (regardless of the process) always be cases where things slip through the net.

I am 100% certain that envato would welcome a workable solution to improving the review process, but what would that look like?

FYI - I understand there are also pain points with aspects of elements etc. but wanted to keep this focused on the question at hand around the reviews.


Yes, they will. Happened to me once, after contact support I got a new reviewer that more friendly than before and everything goes smoothly :slight_smile:

your site is running because of author like us maybe we don’t have established yet but we can be the most successful in the future but no one can say that and another one who are already established like @SkatDesign @pixelsharmony but if they find issues then there should be some things

If reviewers are hand-picked and trained then why you need to assign new reviewer? If they don’t have their items there they can’t understand the pain of authors :slight_smile:

if you can’t give detailed reviews then you should close this store because you are not supporting your authors even apple gives the detailed review of app with screenshot if there is anything though you are not bigger than apple.

I can understand you guys are flooded with worst items submitted by newbie authors but still, there are many authors who have potential and they have rejected by inexperienced reviewer without any help. Due to this issue many authors also left the themeforest and also lost customers.

Just by looking in Envato sites we see approved items which are a million miles from the standard and quality for that who is responsible? You are earning money due to authors and if you don’t help then you won’t be able to grow. In forum, more than 10 “established authors” find no issues to theme and your reviewer finds issue with it then there is something wrong :blush:

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Just to clarify:

  1. I do not work for envato and do not earn anything from items which are approved.

  2. the reference to ‘established authors’ was simply to stress that my comments are a general position (it’s impossible to comment on individual cases)

  3. envato is a two-way street - yes authors are at the heart of it but envato brings a great deal to the party too, and many authors would not come close to achieving what they do without envato’s support

Again, I am certain that envato would welcome solutions to the points we mentioned above, but unfortunately criticising reviewers or simply saying it has to be that every item is reviewed without giving a workable way to achieve this simply reinforces the complexity

What i would at least suggest is more engagement in the review process from people who are actually reviewing the products, don’t send authors rejections with 3 issues mentioned, and then on next upload there are 15 new issues, that’s just looks bad and it makes process of getting published into months and months of re-uploading the same product.

All that aside i’m aware there are also a lot of “bad” products being uploaded daily, and i reckon reviewing so many items is very boring at times, but uploading the same product over and over for months due to lack of review quality is no fun either.

You get couple of soft rejections, finally list of issues with just 2-3 issues to fix, usually very small and tiny issues that were fixed in less then an hour, you’re thinking ok, we’re there, and then a new rejection with 18 new issues (this actually happened ) - how?