elegant themes

Do scandalous images sell more WordPress themes?

| June 17, 2013 | 11 Comments

Dear WordPress theme developers,

At illuminea, we do both custom WordPress sites and template-based WordPress sites, depending on the client’s budget.

Please be aware that I send your themes/templates to our clients before purchasing them. We spend a long time looking at the layout, the shortcodes (ugh), and other features before deciding to buy the theme.

Every time I show a theme to a client, I find myself saying “Please please please ignore the images, but the layout might be good on this one”.

What happened to light bulbs and trees and cats? I wouldn’t even mind if you used the most cliched stock photos of all time.

Here are a few of my “favorite” theme images:


Ah yes. Please let this be the woman who will provide top notch support. If the support needed is in the “removing pink paint from your ear” department.



With each new color, does she have to put on a different shirt? Or maybe this theme just makes her angry. Angry, yet colorful. And strong!



Well… this doesn’t quite leave too much to the imagination. That kid to the right must be pretty excited about all this, though!

No offense but..what if my client is an 8 year old? In fact, what if it’s that kid in the last theme’s photo trying to promote his modeling career as “little Einstein”.


Rebecca “normal photos, please” Markowitz

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Category: Themes

About Rebecca Markowitz: Rebecca Markowitz has built over 50 WordPress sites for clients as Web Project Manager and WordPress specialist at illuminea. illuminea is a Jerusalem-based boutique web agency. WPGarage shows my dedicated relationship with WordPress over the years - full of love, laughs, tears, growth and strong drinks. L'chaim! View author profile.

Comments (11)

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  1. Avigail Frij says:

    Yes, I so agree with Rebecca. The racy pictures disrupted the business of choosing a theme to purchase. My client did not choose any of the themes we looked at that used partially clad women. If they were trying to employ this to sell their theme, it certainly backfired. I also learned that people don’t perceive those themes (with racy pictures and videos) as serious business tools. So, I don’t bother to consider any of them anymore.

  2. Ryan says:

    I don’t see anything “scandalous” in those photos. They’re just photos of people covered in paint or hugging each other.

  3. WPMineworks says:

    Its a fine balancing act between advertising and marketing themes. I’m sure those authors can have more appropriate images without losing attention.

  4. mAsT3RpEE says:

    Sex is a multibillion-dollar industry. Most people don’t think, “Gee, I think I’ll grow up and make my way in the sex industry when I grow up.” Every time someone does it somebody else gets paid. Either the testing agencies, condom manufacturers or filthy rich pill manufacturers.

    I don’t think sex sells. It has definitely not been proven. But I know there are hundreds of co-operations pouring billions of dollars into the concept that you should add it to all you products. In my experience, money has a way of making things happen.

    Considering that most web design involves some sort of graphic artist or media consultant, who are led to believe that sexiness and nudity are good things from all the campaigns and mass brainwashing I don’t find it all that surprising that it has now entered the world of wordpress themes which has just now become a thing.

    Call me a conspiracy theorist but I always say,
    “Follow the money 0_0″

  5. PG says:

    Scandalous? By what standards?

  6. Avigail Frij says:

    Standards are underrated. Actually, a lot of people have them. They have to do with what is and is not appropriate in various situations.

  7. Avigail Frij says:

    Sex may be a multibillion-dollar industry. However, it is the family films that make the really big bucks. I believe that if you follow the wholesome family road the money flows to you and not as mAsT3RpEE said, Every time someone does it (the sex route) somebody else gets paid.

  8. Wayne Wymore says:

    Re: I guess we’d feel more comfortable if they were wearing, you know, clothes :)

    Ya think :) ROTFL

    How does having some scantily clad person in your theme possibly relate to whether the theme is a good fit for what the website needs?? Unless maybe you’re trying to sell it to some porn hosting site?

    1) If enough theme developers realize their theme will not even be shown to potential buyers, they may think twice…

    2) Install the theme (if you REALLY like it for some reason) – And load a different pic before you show it to your client.

    All the best,

  9. Avigail Frij says:

    I decided NOT to purchase a couple of themes recently because of the scantily clad people in the demo. I just can’t support people who think that is a good idea. Plenty of other good themes for sale.

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