WordPress theme previously given for free disappeared from my list

In January of this year, Envato/Themeforest was giving away the GreenMart theme. We had downloaded the theme and used it on the site. Now, after seeing that there is an update needed for the theme, we tried to use the Envato Market plugin to update, as well as to go through the actual Themeforest Downloads list, but we cannot find the above-mentioned theme. I know that the theme hasn’t been removed from Themeforest as I can see it here: https://themeforest.net/item/greenmart-organic-food-woocommerce-wordpress-theme/20754270

So my question is, since I’ve associated this free January giveaway with my account, why can’t I update it anymore?

Free items don’t come with support or updates so wouldn’t be in your downloads list

If you want the update then you will need to buy a full copy

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Is that the case even if the original version of the theme suddenly breaks, say perhaps due to the built-in WPBakery Page Builder suddenly breaking? Because that’s the reason we need to update. The theme worked fine until the built-in WPBakery Page Builder broke, which can only be addressed if the theme is updated. We don’t need future updates, but just to get it to work like it used to when it was given away, which it currently doesn’t.

You could try buying just the plugin BUT there is a good chance that theme may not function with the new version without updating that also.

Unfortunately the free files come “as is” and wouldn’t provide updates regardless of the issue

That is indeed very unfortunate, considering that once we had found the theme being given away for free, we did not include a budget for the theme for the project in which the theme was implemented. Now that the project is complete and the theme does not work, it creates unnecessary issues for us and in a sense forces us to purchase the theme just to get it to work again, which seems a little suspicious and it resembles a bit of ransomware.

We purchase themes / plugins from Envato quite often, so we are willing to purchase assets when it is discussed internally and thus included in a project’s budget. However, when Envato initially offers them for free, one would expect that they would work as intended long-term, rather than placing us in a situation where they initially work, then after the project is complete, they don’t, thus making us 1 - lose money, as we are now essentially forced to buy unbudgeted assets to perform damage control and 2 - lose reputation. As you can see, this is very unpleasant.

I understand that you probably cannot do much about this, but it is something for Envato to consider going forward.

Thank you.

Launch a free theme everyone loves, get a ton of users, wait for bugs and then monetize :joy::joy:

No really, while we all like free beer, you were actually provided a product at no cost for regular use with genuine intentions. You do not have to compensate the author with money in this case for as long as it works.

But surely you were aware that at some point you’d run out of free beer! It’s inevitabile.

This can be summarized as the well known phenomenon, so factor it into your budget :point_right:t5: “There is no such thing as a free lunch”. Maintenance has costs.

In the spirit of continuing the beer analogy, the way I see it is not so much “running out of beer at some point”, but more along the lines of “here’s a pint of free beer, enjoy it - but halfway through drinking it, I’ll whack the glass out of your hand”.

Maintenance does indeed have its costs, but this is not a maintenance matter. All I want is for the theme to work the same way as when it was provided pro bono, because it worked quite well at that time. I’m not a fan of planned obsolescence, as it usually implies a more malevolent agenda.

As for factoring it into a budget - we tend to do that in literally every situation other than this one. Like I alluded to previously - when the need for such a budget is discussed (because generally speaking, themes do cost money), then it is factored in. But when I tell people “a theme is being given away for free that applies to our context, therefore we don’t need a budget for it”, and then, long after the project is done, I have to say “oh nevermind, now we have to-reopen this project, because as it turns out, we DO need a budget for it” - that looks really bad.

For what it’s worth | am not sure it is fair to suggest that there is any form of underhand thought behind the free files.

Envato make it very clear that support and updates are not included.

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I do tend to lean towards what you are saying in the sense that there was most likely no underhand involved here - but at the same time there is no way to be certain that there wasn’t. Perhaps this has nothing do to with the theme itself and more with its dependencies, more specifically, the visual editor. Perhaps its own update broke the theme, in which case, I’d cast the blame towards the visual editor developers. Either way, this is not a situation/issue that should just come up on its own.

While I may come across as full of entitlement, that is not my intent. All that I’m trying to say here is that if I have made commitments and plans based on a piece of software that initially works great for months, then suddenly stops working by no involvement of mine, then I get to suffer certain consequences, even though I should not, as the gift that I had received had actually been a ticking time bomb.

Unfortunately WordPress runs regular updates to provide the best possible experience for it’s users

The theme and plugin devs both on envato and elsewhere are only acting in the interests of their customers by updating their items. It’s unavoidable.

I am sure there would be many more upset people if they didn’t make the changes needed to maintain functionality with new versions of WP.

But that’s your own fault, isn’t it? Perhaps your expectations are unrealistic.

It is a simple concept: Making free software is not free. The first pillar of free software is not free beer, it’s respecting time other people put into what you take for granted.

Next time consider being extremely wary of “free beer” which is not really free and can easily bite you and bite you hard.

On the other hand, this can’t cost you more than $60. You still have the upper hand. It could have been much worse. The author could have closed shop not being able to sustain all these freebies, just food for thought!

I agree with what you’re saying, @Charlie. I just think that these systems should have some backwards compatibility, as to not cause incidents like this.

I don’t know @Typps - I would think expecting things not to randomly break is pretty realistic. But I may be wrong. And I definitely try not to take for granted the time people put into something that I use, though the other side of that coin is that giving free beer to someone can have real life implications - what if the beer is contaminated, for example, which causes poisoning? Will the gifter not be held responsible? Surely an extreme example, but it does get my point across.

Ultimately though, I do agree with your point as well, as it is indeed a good lesson that I have learned: “free beer” is not always free, and I should be wary of it. And you’re right, the theme is affordable enough, and I’ll likely buy it anyway (because hey, what can I really do now?) Like I mentioned above, I’ve bought a good number of themes and plugins from Themeforest - so it’s not a matter of being stingy, but a matter of losing reputation (which will end up costing me a lot more) to those who I have promised a free, long-term functioning theme. I’ve claimed one thing (i.e. that this theme will last for at least a few years), and now I have to go back and say “well, not really - oh by the way, sorry that your website has not been fully operational for the last week, that must have been stressful and reflected badly on your business. Looking forward to working together again! :grin: :+1:

But you’re right, it is my fault. I should have known that free beer was more like “free” beer.

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