Sponsored WordPress Theme Scam

If you visit many of the bigger webmaster forums these days then you will quickly notice that sponsorship of WordPress themes is an extremely popular option amongst those looking to promote their sites.

In return for a one off payment the buyer is allowed to place a ‘Sponsored by:’ link in the footer of the theme.


With the more popular WordPress themes being advertised on the main sites this means the potential downloads and uses of the template can be huge.

Therefore, for anywhere between $10-100, a site owner can have a link pointing to their site from maybe hundreds of bloggers, depending upon the popularity of the theme.

This is an extremely attractive proposition.

However, scammers find it equally enticing too.

One of the most common scams in operation is to take an existing theme that another designer has spent hours creating and then make some minor modifications, such as changing colours, slightly modifying the style sheet, etc.

The scammer then passes the theme off as their own and promptly sells a few links for a couple of hundred dollars.

Ultimately, the original designer may find out.

Putting the legal possibilities to one side, it is likely they would demand these purchased links be removed at the very least.

The best defence against this scam is to do your homework.

Check the seller out – he may have feedback scores and/or trader ratings.

Additionally, there may be identifiers in the theme which can be searched for in the search engines.

This may highlight if the theme is in use elsewhere prior to the sale.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. […] way is that they sell links that are included in the […]

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