Exchange of Ideas With Envato: No Arrangements

In one of my last articles about “Plugin Journey” I mentioned that I will contact the Envato author team again. Simply to bring attention to what irregularities there are, especially in terms of bulk sales. I think that they are/were not even really aware of it.

From parental leave and operating system updates

It’s crazy how much time can pass. I am currently on parental leave and am not allowed to work much. That’s not really possible anyway, because taking care of my son takes up more and more of my time. My wife is currently working full time. But I already wrote about that.

In addition, I have to say that I was also busy in the last weeks to move to a new hosting provider. This came about because the console showed me that the Ubuntu 16.04 I was running had not received any updates since April. I didn’t want to update the operating system while the server was up and running, so I decided to set up a new server right away and move all the websites. This way I was able to get rid of a lot of old sites right away. I’m still not completely finished (you know: the lack of time!) but it’s getting there.

Well… why am I telling you this? It’s ultimately the excuse (for me) why there have been no regular articles in this category in the past weeks. But instead I was in a lively exchange with the Envato author team. What came out of it, you can read below.

Exchange with Envato

As mentioned before, two weeks ago I was in an exchange with a member of the Envato author team. In my initial email to the team, I had outlined my experience with my agency sale. The whole thing was practically a farce. I don’t want to explain the complete situation again here. Only this: I almost lost several thousand Euros, because some features, which are standard in every online store nowadays, are simply missing at CodeCanyon. Thanks to the persistence of the customer, I was able to sell 200 licenses in one swoop.

First e-mail: Pure frustration.

The response to my email was quite short and just as frustrating as my email to Envato. It was just standard phrases and apologies. I was so frustrated that I didn’t even want to respond. The weekend passed. It became Monday and just before I could get up to answer, another email came from the same employee. He wrote that he had spent the weekend thinking about the whole situation and wanted to get back to me.

Second e-mail: Someone understands me!

The second e-mail was much better. The first thing it contained was a question about whether I still needed help with bulk sales and the agency client. But that could have been asked on Friday, couldn’t it? Anyway, I was happy that suddenly something seemed to happen.

I was then also told that there must be an internal process for such large sales. It was interesting to learn that the fees can be adjusted dynamically. I didn’t ask more specifically, but it’s probably a matter of negotiation.

When I read what I wrote above, I wonder why there is no information about this in the official help documentation? Perhaps the employee who was responsible for me was not aware of it too.

Anyway, I definitely have a contact for such sales now.

Third email: More details

In the second email, the employee asked me what else Envato could do to support authors like me. I had a few ideas that I was happy to share:

  • In my particular case: better support for bulk sales!
  • Another good idea would be to use Envato as a distribution provider. Similar to FastSpring. This way I could integrate a “Buy from Envato” button. The customer wouldn’t leave my site, but Envato would still get the commission.
  • Subscriptions? I think by now there is no way around it. I know that my customers use the plugin for at least three years. Here I would have an additional source of income. And ultimately, this would also be beneficial for Envato.
  • Of course, all this causes some effort on Envato’s part. But what would help me right now would be something like non-exclusivity for long-time authors. Especially maybe for authors in my case whose income is just enough to finance the development.

The answer to that was friendly but ultimately devastating.

  • In response to the first question, I was referred to another employee. So that means there will be no changes to the online store until further notice. I would have to go the “roundabout way” via an employee to sell hundreds of licenses. Isn’t that inconvenient for the customer? I think so. (Right now there is another bulk sale coming up. Let’s see how it works out this way).
  • The answer to the second question was that Envato would like to direct users to its own site. Period. So the idea of Envato as a payment provider is dead. However, it was clear to me of course, because this is a completely different concept.
  • Subscriptions are one of the top priorities. At least that’s what I was told. Subscriptions have been around for years now, though. Little has happened so far and I don’t think much will happen in 2021.
  • To my last idea I got a clear refusal. They didn’t want to treat other authors unfairly, they said. You can think what you want about that now. After all, Envato collects over 50% fees from authors who are just starting out. Isn’t that a unfair too? It is probably a matter of interpretation…

Between the lines

Between the lines I could find out even more. In the first email I even understood that the marketplaces like ThemeForest and CodeCanyon are on the decline. However, it seems that I misunderstood. At first it sounded like the marketplaces were going to die sooner or later anyway. But it was explained to me that (as also described in this forum post) there seems to be a slow downward trend for the “marketplace model”. Comparing the marketplaces to Envato Elements where there are currently significantly more downloads. But it is also obvious: Elements is prominently advertised everywhere (on every page!) at the marketplaces. So it seems as if they rather want to bring the customers to Elements.


Basically, my euphoria was high after the second email. I thought to myself, “Aha! Someone is listening here!”. But in the end, it will be the case that nothing will change (for me). I can understand that Envato is a big company and that some wishes cannot be implemented “just like so”. Nevertheless, it feels like nothing will move and that the management team has already given up on the marketplaces in their minds.

One of my buddies from my mastermind asked the question if the downward trend can be felt across countries. Now I have not (yet) passed the question on to Envato. Maybe I still will. But maybe I won’t. I don’t think I can accomplish much. It feels like fighting windmills. There is no innovation anymore. No news. My impression is that everything will stay the same.

What’s next?

Currently there is another bulk sale coming up. I had to put the customer off for almost a week now, because my contact person didn’t get in touch until days later and probably has to discuss the sale internally first. If all sales take so long I don’t know if this is a good way to go! Let’s see. I will report how it goes on.

Translated with (free version)