This morning I received an article in my inbox from WP Tavern entitled “Automattic Wins Cybersquatting Case Against Chris Pearson”. The reason why I think it important to even mention this bit of news is because the Thesis Theme Framework was the first premium WordPress Theme I bought in my early days of WordPress. I started using the theme long before the battle ensued between Chris Pearson and Matt Mullenweg, but today I went back and read some articles about it that were written in July of 2010. On July 14, 2010, Matt and Chris took part in an interview with Andrew Warner of Mixergy, as well as a “discussion” on Twitter. Refreshing my memory on the history between the two men puts much in perspective about current events regarding Automattic and Thesis.
But I’m not here to discuss the feelings that exist between Matt and Chris, or Automattic and Thesis. I’m here to ask the question “What will happen to all those Thesis Customers AND their clients who depend on the Thesis Theme and DIY Themes in general?”. Of course I do realize that Chris Pearson, who used to be such a big deal in the Premium WordPress Theme world, diminished in popularity, influence, and otherwise, probably as a result of stepping on WordPress’/Automattic’s toes. But still. There probably are people who continued to use the framework and the forums to this very day. What will happen to them?
Why do I say this? Because, the following is mentioned at the bottom of the WordPress Tavern article:
On June 16th, Automattic struck back by filing a petition for cancellation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In their petition, Automattic argues that the three trademarks owned by Pearson, DIYTHEMES, THESIS THEME, and THESIS, should be cancelled.
For ANYONE out there who is still using the Thesis Theme or DIY Themes in some way, drop it! I’m not saying this for political reasons, or because you should support WordPress and Matt and abandon Chris. I’m saying this for practical reasons. Most probably the whole thing will suddenly disappear into thin air, and then you’ll be hung out to dry. I know it will cost you dearly in both money and time, but it is an inevitability.
I personally experienced a strange coincidence regarding Thesis. VERY recently I decided to completely revamp the look of all my websites. I was using Thesis (and forgetting about it) on interglobalmedianetwork.com and this site, but decided to start over from scratch. That was part of my re-branding strategy of my business. I removed Thesis from both sites, and as I have mentioned in other posts, am currently using the Genesis Framework on both. I had been having problems with what I am sure was old straggling code mixed with new WordPress Core updates. This probably was in large part due to the theme I was using. This can happen with any theme, btw. This taught me that it’s important every once in a while to do a complete “refresh” of one’s website. No matter what anyone tells you about how WordPress Core updates should take care of any straggling issues on your site, that’s not true. It’s not possible for a Core update to take care of EVERYTHING. Sometimes legacy elements are kept because they were being used somewhere on the site. That was the case with me. So I did a fresh WordPress (re)install, and began rebuilding. If you haven’t done that in a long time, you should. Just make sure that you create a backup of any content you want to keep, first.
I took away a couple of things from this debacle between WordPress and Thesis:
- Don’t anger your “parent”. 2. Remain humble.
I’m not saying that one should simply roll over and play dead, but in the world of business, it’s important to be able to play intelligently with others while maintaining your own integrity. It’s a neat trick, I’ll tell you!
The important question that remains to be answered is “What about the Thesis customer?”. For example, Chris never let us know about any of this drama as far as I know. I never received any email updates regarding the future of Thesis and DIY Themes. That responsibility definitely lies on his head.
And btw, you HAVE TO read all the historical “related articles” I included below as well as the WordPress Tavern article that was published today. I still can’t get over it all.
Would WordPress Sue The Maker Of Thesis, A Leading WordPress Theme? – with Chris Pearson and Matt Mullenweg: Andrew Warner, July 14, 2010. Mixergy
Syn-thesis 1 and Chris Pearson: Matt Mullenweg, July 14, 2010, MA.TT
WordPress And Thesis Go To Battle. Mullenweg May Sue: Brad McCarty, July 14, 2010, TNW
Chris Pearson VS Matt Mullenweg: BradVin, July 15, 2010, Themergency