Abuse or Luck? The Real Story of Astra Theme’s Suspension on WordPress.org

In this video I will explain how the Astra theme was able to avoid a 6 week suspension on WordPress.org for multiple serious violations, which would have cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I’ve been very vocal about this issue from day one, so now that the story has somewhat concluded, it is time to look back and see what really happened.

I will explain why the Astra Theme was suspended from the WordPress.org theme repository and how they took advantage of over a million website owners. I will also show how the theme review team ignored the seriousness of these violations. Almost everything that happened in this situation went in Astra’s favor and minimized their financial and reputational losses.

By my own educated estimates based on the financial data provided by other theme developers in the past, I believe that Astra currently generates revenue of around 1.5 million USD per month from theme sales alone. So keep that number in mind while you watch the video.

It’s a long and crazy story with a couple of convenient twists, so please watch until the end before you jump to any conclusions. If it gets too slow for you, you can increase the playback speed of the video and pause where you have to.

So grab a seat and let’s begin with the story.

What do you think?

If you think that I missed some important information or presented some false information, please leave a comment and I will try to address it. Please take a look at the comments section, there might be some important updates and information from other people.

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  1. Is this a lesson in how “you, too, can get away with misdeeds”?

  2. Excellent summary of what has happened. I have seen this kind of thing more then once.

    The most important thing when you have theme submission requirements is to ensure that there is a level playing field for all authors.

    The Theme Team dropped the ball on this, and let Astra effectively deflect responsibility and consequences….. a masterful job on Astra’s part.

    To initially assess a 6 week penalty and then essentially remove it after it’s public, smacks of favoritisms because of the theme’s position.

    I have seen one author have over 60 themes suspended for 6 months (for multi accounting), and another have 35 themes suspended for three months, and countless other authors suspended for various infractions. I know how they must feel about the repo and how fairness is an opinion rather then an action. But when the repo is the only game in the business that really makes a difference for authors, you shut up and move on.

    I must say my tenure as a lead in the Theme Review lasted only a week, because I saw this kind of thing going on. To be honest I could not stay a lead because of it.

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