The Ultimate Wordpress Video Blog Theme

Yummthemes debacle and what we think
Posted on 25 June, 2009 at 13:50 PM There are already 36 Comments

About the Show

Yesterday we saw quite a bit of activity on twitter about a new theme company which was going to take on the likes of Woothemes and Thesis.

There is nothing wrong with that except for the words that they used  and the holes that they left in their system. By simply being a bit smart you could get full access to their secret project, its pricing its discounts its subscription lengths... the whole deal.

We know that we are no bodies in the theme space but we still believe that they made a huuuge mistake, and discuss our thoughts on the matter. In our opinion it's always better to have friends in the industry - making the wrong kind of statement can often damage you more than you think.

Whether it's marketing or not you have to try your best to cover as many bases as possible.

Another pointer is that when you try and generate hype around your product that you must keep everything tucked away for as long as possible, leaving only tiny hints along the way. Exposing everything at once is like popping the balloon.

We think that there are massive lessons to be learnt in what happened yesterday, even we picked up one or two pointers which made us open our eyes.

Yummthemes, we hope you watch this and would love to hear your thoughts.

DISCLAIMER: Even though Woothemes sponsor this show they have no influence on our opinion or how we go about our couch moments.

User Comments

Magnus's Gravatar

Magnus    25 Jun, 2009 13:14:23 PM

You have to give them credit though for successfully marketing themselves with free advertising on Obox ;)

David Perel's Gravatar

David Perel    25 Jun, 2009 13:16:29 PM

While I was doing the show I was wondering if all of this was intentional on their side. You know, flame traffic or something. But I suppose they deserve a link for being rather special.

Adii Rockstar's Gravatar

Adii Rockstar    25 Jun, 2009 13:21:02 PM

@David - Don't believe everything I tell you every time you ask me for advice. I'm selling you short and leading you down the wrong path... :P

That said... I totally agree with you guys here. I don't have an issue with competition at all and have regularly linked to themes by "competitors" if I liked or had thought that my Twitter stream would. Competition is healthy and I think there's quite a bit of community around WP theming, with many of the supposed "big players" being very friendly with each other.

So whilst I was having a little chuckle in Yumm's direction yesterday, it was only because I think they could have done better with their marketing effort. What they've done is to provoke to get free attention (as Magnus has mentioned). And they're totally getting traffic from this, BUT I don't think that the traffic is sustainable in any way.

BTW... I also think that their themes aren't bad either and I've definitely seen premium themes that look a lot shittier. It's just that their marketing campaign is something that I can't really compliment...

Kieran's Gravatar

Kieran    25 Jun, 2009 13:23:02 PM

I appreciate your thoughts on the matter, but I have to disagree with some of them.

First of all, we were not taking shots at Woo or Thesis; for our PPC campaign we used a certain marketing tactic ('Forget WooThemes') to build hype. We were rotating landing page variations to see which converted best, and that one did, so we decided to keep it.

I even posted on twitter saying I had no problems with Woo or Thesis and that I actually owned a copy of Thesis myself. I love Thesis.

Now, before I even got on twitter, I saw a bunch of traffic coming from there and decided to check it out. Turns out Adii and Magnus were mocking us, before we even launch, just because we mentioned their name. It was childish and quite pathetic, but I'm quite happy playing stupid games with them, which I did afterwards. This helped build even more traffic, so it was all good for me. ;)

I'm quite aware everything is visible hence I've not taken the effort to hide them. They're not finished, the pricing is not correct and everything else is no longer relevant as we are re-structuring the company. Most normal people wont go on a mission to dig around my directories, so it's not an issue. Nor are any of the new features and things we're offering along with the themes visible as I've not even wrote the copy or built the new site yet.

So basically, my opinion of the Woo guys has gone down greatly. I called Magnus a douchebag on twitter and I agree with it... Just because Woo and Woo-fanboys think it's funny doesn't mean the whole world does. Trust me, I've had plenty of laughs at this situation with friends.

Calling us out and mocking us before launch is a very childish thing for a 'professional' company to do. Digging around and posting links to unfinished work is even more childish. Surely they have better things to do with their time. It's not even like we provoked them, unless they see "Forget WooThemes", a piece of marketing copy during pre-launch, as a threat. Either way, the way they reacted was pretty pathetic, but still I'm happy with it as it's gave me a nice push in traffic and subscribers. I'm not complaining, and this video is just extra promotion so yeah. Thanks. :P


Rob MacKay's Gravatar

Rob MacKay    25 Jun, 2009 13:26:05 PM

There is a strange thing about the inter-webs being so social in business, probably because you aren't confined to a small area of the world - you have the world who are online... So even though there is competition, its not like you have a set amount of people...

@Yum Always remember CSS Sprites are your friends. :)

Magnus's Gravatar

Magnus    25 Jun, 2009 13:30:48 PM

@Kieran - Our twitter talk might seem as mocking, but in fact it was only a cheeky "stab" back at you for taking a stab at us in your campaign.

I also posted some W3C links to notify you that your templates need some validation work, as that is one of the minimum requirements of a "premium" theme. Might have been a bit of mocking in there, but only lightheartedly trying to help you out.

Tiago Noronha's Gravatar

Tiago Noronha    25 Jun, 2009 13:50:17 PM


Honestly, your campaign reminds me of this old Pepsi ad:

Guess what? It was banned! I wonder why...

Dave Jones's Gravatar

Dave Jones    25 Jun, 2009 13:55:31 PM

Firstly, I have nothing against y***themes but if you're going to compete in the premium Wordpress theme market, which is already saturated, then you better get yourself some Premium themes. Thos themes are okay, about the same quality as a lot of GPL themes - but I wouldn't personally pay $37 for them.

Secondly, what's with the hats and scarfs guys? I mean, it's the middle of summer. Is this a fashion statement or is it something to do with South African weather?

Dave Jones's Gravatar

Dave Jones    25 Jun, 2009 14:17:53 PM

@Tiago. Nice ad :-) Honestly, I don't think they are saying anything bad about Woo Themes or Thesis. Ultimately, it won't be the crap they are saying about their competitors that get's them in trouble. It will be the crap they are making up about themselves (faux awards, false promises, etc..)

If you're gonna carry "very, very big gun" you better put some bloody bullets in it!

meredith's Gravatar

meredith    25 Jun, 2009 14:19:46 PM

@Dave Jones

I think they are heading into Winter. I could be wrong, but SA is in the southern hemisphere. :)

Dave Jones's Gravatar

Dave Jones    25 Jun, 2009 14:27:35 PM

@Meredith - Doh! Thanks for that - I, er, failed geography :p Well at least global warming isn't too much of an issue yet.

Lisa's Gravatar

Lisa    25 Jun, 2009 14:40:40 PM

completely agree - and seeing their response I just cant believe they are so nonchalant about the whole thing. Why have a pop at people "digging around" when they made it entirely possible! It just makes me question everything about them. I'd expect them to know better, frankly. And if this was a deliberate marketing campaign as such - its a prime example of how NOT to do things... They come on so hardcore but I think this debacle let them down. They dont come across as professional at the very least and while they may have a decent amout of short-term interest, I can't see that it's going to do that much good in the long term. At the moment I have no reason to take these guys seriously.

Marc Perel's Gravatar

Marc Perel    25 Jun, 2009 14:54:03 PM

@DJones @Meredith - I think the Hemisphere is in the title... 'South' Africa :P And it is FREEZING here at HQ

@Kieran - Mate I appreciate that it's all in the Marketing, but it's kind of like me telling off my Brother in a speech but then saying "No it's not like that bru, it was only for show". The same with your campaign, maybe not to such an extend as to telling em off. As Dave Jones said, if you say you're bringing a gun, bring a gun, not a pocket knife. If you're going to compete, actually compete and be true to your word.

Besides that, your marketing is based around the fact that it's a secret "TOP SECRET ... Shh ... Something BIG is about to happen", but then you have loopholes in ways to access your work.

Hype Marketing as far as I understand is about Hype... Hype involves keeping things a secret, properly mate. Why lose it all in the fact that your work is there for everyone to see, especially unfinished work, that's way worse... It's misleading, and people will see the 'unfinished' work, not take it the right way and think that that IS what you're putting out and probably not return. There's nothing notifying that the themes are WIP, infact I even figured they were finished projects.

Sorry broke out into a mini-rant there. Basically, your marketing should be inline with what you're actually doing. Not the opposite of what you're do.

kyle steed's Gravatar

kyle steed    25 Jun, 2009 17:45:25 PM

You guys are funny. And yes, no doubt, I believe all your hard work is going to pay off.

By the way - my dinner was excellent.

Chris M's Gravatar

Chris M    25 Jun, 2009 17:52:16 PM

Please don't hate me, but boy oh boy have they done the most incredible job with their marketing campaign. Perhaps not totally ethical, but every single person in "the space", will have been to the site and will be thinking about this.

It's not always about hyping and hiding, then releasing, that's the usual approach and this guy is doing it completely differently and it's working, check out his traffic ;)

Just my opinion.

Adii Rockstar's Gravatar

Adii Rockstar    25 Jun, 2009 18:12:47 PM

@Chris - I don't see that "traffic" you are talking about...

Kieran's Gravatar

Kieran    25 Jun, 2009 18:18:17 PM

You do realise Alexa doesn't update that fast? It can't show a traffic spike from half a day ago... Nor is it accurate in the first place. And I'm not posting any traffic details but we have done pretty nicely off of this. :p

Chris M's Gravatar

Chris M    25 Jun, 2009 18:19:49 PM

@Adii - I think it'll take 12-24 hours to update on Alexa..

Don't stress, Woo > Yumm

Dave Jones's Gravatar

Dave Jones    25 Jun, 2009 18:21:07 PM

Traffic is vanity, conversion rate is sanity.

Kieran's Gravatar

Kieran    25 Jun, 2009 18:22:34 PM

Well our conversion rate for the opt-in is 35% which is pretty good tbh

divinefusion's Gravatar

divinefusion    25 Jun, 2009 18:32:46 PM

Chatting with Marc about this earlier. All laughs aside, its easy to tear someone/something apart. You can show your maturity, as a designer and as a person, by acknowledging your faults/mistakes, asking for advice/suggestions and using them to BUILD vs tear someone else down. In this case (my opinion of course) I see Kieran fumbling to have solid answers, when they are really swiss cheese. There is nothing wrong with hype, I have actually found the OBOX hype quite fun and have participated in it. - But only because I have connected with Marc David, not because of the product. I want to see them succeed, so I support that by RTs and tweets etc. - Its perfectly fine to acknowledge when you haven't considered something and someone called you out on it. Suck it up and learn from it. I realize that I don't know Kierans motives or business plan, I am commenting on what I am reading in his comments. (quote) "They're not finished, the pricing is not correct and everything else is no longer relevant as we are re-structuring the company." This is not what I would call a solid plan and beyond silly in my mind. Its a defensive remark in response to being called out, dissing the person who pointed out a weakness. Why not capitalize on this "weak moment' and saying something like "wow, never considered that, or didn't see that loophole. Thanks for your feedback." Even if you had personal reservations and were ticked, professionally it would have elevated you to maturity. Again, just my thoughts. This is not a debate, just a sea of opinions, thoughts and suggestions. : ) //peace

divinefusion's Gravatar

divinefusion    25 Jun, 2009 18:37:42 PM

RE the traffic: wow, traffic is great, when the user spends TIME looking at your site, linking and BUYING. 3 second sessions are worthless.

Max Stanworth's Gravatar

Max Stanworth    25 Jun, 2009 18:48:32 PM

In a way I agree with Chris M, it got twitter talking and a few of the big theme shops talking, his content was left wide open, another great way of viral marketing, seeing something that others might not see, and then on launch day change it, so you see ordinary themes now, come launch day you see the best premium themes on the market. Which gets every one talking again because they went above expectations.

I would take it as a compliment if I worked at woo, they are acknowledging that they are competitors and people see them as leading the way. Im not sure of the backgrounds of the guys at yumm but I have no problem with people trying to make a name for themselves, even if they arent the best coders / designers at least they have a little bit of go getter attitude and Im sure their passionate about marketing and making themes which is all that counts in my books.

Obviously you cant judge a book by its cover since they havent actually finished yet.

Then again that could all be wrong.

Is bad hype good hype? Perez Hilton was getting flamed on twitter for making a video about one of the black eyed peas punching him in the face, people on twitter even made a unfollow campaign against him, guess what he actually got more followers.

Any way good to hear what peoples opinions are on this sort of stuff.

Dave Jones's Gravatar

Dave Jones    25 Jun, 2009 18:52:19 PM

I applaud the comments from DivineFusion - well said!

@Max - what you don't know is that obox actually have shares in yumm. It's a secret ploy by them to boost profits ;) ;)

Craig Farrall's Gravatar

Craig Farrall    26 Jun, 2009 10:27:09 AM

I will try and give in my opinions, but I haven't been on twitter much lately, and I have missed all of this, which I am abit gutted about at the moment, because I must be the only person who doesn't know :P

I haven't seen the other pages with there themes or pricing plans, but I have to agree with @Max abit on this one, it is a good strategy in one sense, because everyone is talking about them, and if they do decide to change it, as that is just there for now, but will be completely different, then I think that is kinda a good move, hitting above people expectations.

I think @Adii is such a good entrepreneur and has a great business at woothemes, but I don't think his comment of 'I don't see that "traffic" you are talking about... ' is very fair, obviously there traffic isn't going to match up to woothemes, c'mon yumm haven't even opened there website for people to visit yet, let alone be in the business for as long as woothemes have, maybe in a years time we can compare, but comparing yumm against woo statistics wise isn't even a point to be honest.

Anyway thats my thoughts, but as I said I missed half of this, so I could be missing the point completely.

Keep up the good work guys :)

Rob MacKay's Gravatar

Rob MacKay    26 Jun, 2009 12:14:58 PM

@everyone who thinks its a good strategy...

Traffic is all lovely, but when 90% of the traffic is going there because they want to look at the "new cocks on the block" - because they feel like they are being pathetic and stupid in the way they do things, its not good for business.

Think about it, you have 1000's of hits from people who are coming to laugh at your cock up because they laughed at your excuses on other places.

Business is for professionals, when you sell a product that you want to "be the big gun" with - you need to show some big guns, not have the site security of a retard so everyone can see how much you obviously "know" about business.

I don't buy templates myself, and I don't have a subscription to WooThemes etc and probably never will have. But in saying that, I wouldn't trust these guys to look after my sandwiches never mind sell me a theme.

That's what all this has accumulated to - a laughing stock. That's what all the traffic is about. I wish them well, I hope they make their fortune, but right now they have come across as a morons. They now have a business where most of the people think they are idiots - great...

Kieran's Gravatar

Kieran    26 Jun, 2009 13:59:25 PM

Do you think just because Woo staff & followers found it funny, that the whole internet does? Honestly, the people who know about this little scuffle is about 2% of my audience. I've had plenty of positive emails from people who have opted-in asking for info, JV's, seeing how they can help etc.

The name drop was intentional and it worked well. Not everyone follows the same opinion as you Rob.

Rob MacKay's Gravatar

Rob MacKay    26 Jun, 2009 14:21:03 PM

Actually I think everyone with a brain would do. Its called logical reason. Do these guys come across as professional? Well lets just see, they make big claims, which yea I'm not bothered about I suppose - but then they let the rest of their content get "seen" and is obviously not meant to be seen, neither is it supposedly 100% complete. So basically what you are left with is a company who are all talk.

They say they are gonna shoot loads of money at me and with the same stroke of their mighty wrath "crush" their competitors.

Now I'm being told it was all a marketing ploy and naa its not really going to be like that, Oh and yea all the stuff you managed to see isn't finished yet... then how the heck did I get to see it? Surely simply securing the folders with a little .htaccess would have been a good idea? Even not having it in the same place live?

Its just bizzar how you can sit there and logically reason that people not following this can think of you as anything less than unprofessional?

People are going to come to you for websites, you cant even secure your own secret launches? You make wildly huge claims, whether they are tongue in cheek or not - which I know from my own northern English humour does not translate across the net - its just a shambles! There is no polish to it, and you just loose a heck of a lot of credibility because of it.

I think I agree with what the guys in the vid said - you need to rewind, take the critique that is being offered with good will (which it is btw). Let people see you aren't a load of miss guided fools and let them see the human fun-loving guys side who can throw up their hands and correct a mistake.

You have an opportunity to set it right now, you could pick it all up right here and start off on a much stronger foot - or you can be:

"You heard of that Yum themes place?"

"Oh the guys who screwed up their launch and said they were gonna crush WooThemes? hah yea..."

The only reason I care enough to respond is because I would like to see people do well, take it or leave it - which so far I suspect you leaving it, you cocked up - best to admit it and have a laugh.

Good luck to you!

Kieran's Gravatar

Kieran    26 Jun, 2009 14:30:58 PM

Well the fact is, we didn't cock anything up.

The aim was to build a list. That's it. Build some hype, and a list using PPC.

The goal has been successful and still is successful as our conversion rate has not dropped at all. Traffic is still flowing from my PPC campaign.

I didn't think it would escalate to Woo taking it personally and mocking us (cmon - what professional company does that?) but I'm not regretting it as it's just made everyone in the Woo-space aware of us.

Anyway, I'm done here. We should reach our 1000 subscriber limit within the next day or two and then ya'll can stop complaining. In the meantime I'm working on a new landing page - if it will make you all happier, I wont mention WooThemes in it. :p

Rob MacKay's Gravatar

Rob MacKay    26 Jun, 2009 14:50:53 PM

@kieran - Well that's awesome dude seriously - and I hope it not only brings you success but also satisfaction and enjoyment because that's the main reason we do these things :)

Its not really complaining tbh - I don't care what you said about Woo, I respect their success but I'm not a fan boy lol... Plus these SA's need knocking down a peg or two ;-)

New landing page :D great!

But truly - good luck with it!

Magnus's Gravatar

Magnus    26 Jun, 2009 14:52:00 PM

@Kieran - You say we aren't professional from light heartedly mocking you on twitter, when you mock us in your campaign... and then continue to mock us back on twitter...

So wouldn't you say that we are all unprofessional then?

Or are you maybe just laying it on a bit thick when you say we are unprofessional?

Magnus's Gravatar

Magnus    26 Jun, 2009 14:55:40 PM

Would you get upset if we started a campaign now were we use a slogan like: Forget Yumm Themes and their non-validating "premium" themes...

Don't take it to seriously dude... but don't go around calling us unprofessionals and douche bags... not cool :)

Jenna's Gravatar

Jenna    26 Jun, 2009 14:57:54 PM

I'm sorry to seem a dumbass but can someone please quote the bit where Yumm claim they're gonna crush WooThemes? All I've seen is "Thesis? WooThemes? Naw" but surely that's not what all this fuss is about?

Yeah okay, they need to sort their security out but AFAIK the majority of the target market (template buyers) aren't generally the type to test out various URLs to see if they work. I mean, I work in this industry and even I don't go snooping around URLs unprovoked. But maybe I'm wrong?

All this is acheiving is giving them more exposure, who cares if they intended for this to happen or not. They're on to a winner here if they can come up with the goods. Unfortunately, I'm not so sure they can but good luck to them and high five for managing to cause such an amusing uproar over what appears to be... well... nothing.

Kieran's Gravatar

Kieran    26 Jun, 2009 15:00:21 PM

yeah jenna, thats what the fuss is about lol. hardly mocking them.

Dave Jones's Gravatar

Dave Jones    26 Jun, 2009 15:30:55 PM

You know what Jenna you're absolutely right, and I said in my previous comment it's not what they said about the competition (which is basically nothing) it's what they said about themselves!

Personally, I'm not a fan of "premium" themes, but some of their creators have added a lot to the Wordpress community as a whole. I don't see these guys adding anything to the community, though I stand to be corrected on that one in due course.

This debacle has given me some amusement but I think it's for the best if we all just move on now, wish them all the best and leave them to their endeavour.

Marc Perel's Gravatar

Marc Perel    26 Jun, 2009 15:49:56 PM

Okay everyone, I think it's time to close this chapter, it's been real, but we're closing the comments for now.

Thanks for the participation y'all.