Mimbo Pro: A whopping $90

I just found out that the Pro version of Mimbo is apparently available for a whopping $89.99. I’m sure the creator deserves a lot of compensation for all of his efforts: just look at the features list.

Butconsidering that WordPress is a free and openly available CMS, I find it absurd to charge $90 for a theme. Yes, it’s very comprehensive, and the features all sound very attractive. However, the idea that this guy is making money off a free system rubs me the wrong way. I’m very willing to pay for a theme, but really, $90 is way too much. I would definitely consider $40, but I have many concerns. Let’s take a look at the features.

Key Features include…

  • A comprehensive control panel for controlling all aspects of the site, no more editing templates manually!
  • A built-in contact form with control panel options
  • Attractive custom templates for: search results, date archives, sitemap, contact, author archives and category archives
  • Google Analytics and Feedburner and simple advertising options in the control panel
  • A custom script that automatically crops and resizes images – no more creating two or three versions of each image
  • Printer-friendly rendering of single post pages
  • </ul>

Here are my rebuttals:

  • Regarding the comprehensive control panel: how do I know what the control panel will look like? I can’t access the administrative functions from the demo.
  • The contact form has no spam solution. Is one available out of the box, and if not, how easy is it to integrate?
  • They claim to have attractive custom templates: may I see them?
  • I have no interest in advertisements, so it’s unimportant to me.
  • There are already image resizers out there: built-in ones in WP 2.6, plugins, etc.
  • I can already use Lester Chan’s very excellent WP-Print plugin.

Most important is how my blog will look after I completely customize it. When I get a theme, I put a lot of work into the customization. Sometimes the theme isn’t flexible enough or just too different for me to get the desired results. I absolutely refuse to pay for a theme that I can’t try out first, especially if it’s going to run me $90.

All in all, the restrictive demo and the high price are two big reasons that I would never purchase this theme. With all the free ones that are widely available, a little bit of elbow grease will bring you a long way. I don’t have a clue how much other “premium” WordPress (or other CMS) themes cost, but the idea of paying $90 to pretty up a free and widely supported CMS is absolutely crazy to me. A price drop and an administrative demo would probably win me over though.

  • However, the idea that this guy is making money off a free system rubs me the wrong way.

    Developers have been releasing paid tools built on open-source components since there was such a thing – this discussion has been rehashed many times. Expression Engine wouldn't exist without CodeIgniter, but they charge for it justifiably because the GUI is custom and you get good ongoing support. Do you realize how many Rails apps are created and resold as services each year?

    $90 is way too much.

    The going rate for high-quality paid themes with good control panel options has been about $100 single license/$200 multi-license for the last 8 months. This is true of any nearly every premium theme seller, from Adii to Brian Gardner to Solostream.

    That the $90 pricetag on a professionally designed website with forum support and control panel options qualifies as "whopping" is pretty surprising to me. I've spoken to developers who bought the $200 version and built a dozen unique commercial websites with it — netting them tens of thousands for their $200 investment.

    The good news is that for people without $90, there are many themes already available for free. Including the one you're using right now.

    Regarding the comprehensive control panel: how do I know what the control panel will look like? I can’t access the administrative functions from the demo.

    Screenshots of the control panel are on the product page you linked. There are also two videos.

    They claim to have attractive custom templates: may I see them?

    Screenshots of the additional skins are on the product page you linked.

    I have no interest in advertisements, so it’s unimportant to me.

    The ads bar is widgetized. This is explained in the FAQ of the page you linked.

    There are already image resizers out there: built-in ones in WP 2.6, plugins, etc.

    They cannot be called dynamically from outside the post. The WP resizer only resizes images within the post.

    I can already use Lester Chan’s very excellent WP-Print plugin.

    You don't need a plugin if a print.css document is included.

    I absolutely refuse to pay for a theme that I can’t try out first,

    There is a working demo on the product page you linked, and, as I mentioned, screenshots of the admin panel, plus a video. There are also many online reviews of the theme available if you Google it.

    When I get a theme, I put a lot of work into the customization. Sometimes the theme isn’t flexible enough or just too different for me to get the desired results.

    Take a look at the user forums and note how many people have designed radically different sites around the basic Mimbo Pro framework.


    I don't usually comment quite so comprehensively on a post, but there seems to be a real lack of understanding or outright misinformation here. If you have qualms or questions about the theme, you can always email me or Ben.

  • Mr. Hoyt,

    Don't take it personally. I'm not saying people don't have the right to compensation for their work. Coding is hard work and I respect people who work in that field the same way I respect anybody else who has to work for a living. You say the discussion has been rehashed many times. I don't lurk on forums or browse the Internet much, so I can't say that I know or have known where people stand on the topic of making money off of open-source technology. My personal opinion is that the creators of an open source technology should also be compensated if anybody is using it for commercial gain. I have no idea what the Expression Engine is or what Rails apps are, so I'm sorry to say that the point is lost on me.

    Price is entirely subjective. I am not particularly wealthy, but even if I were, I don't think I could justify a $100 purchase for a premium theme. However, your rebuttal is geared towards commercial users: people who will somehow make money off of the site. You say you've spoken to developers. Well, I'm just a blogger. I don't seek Internet fame and I don't wish to make a dime off my blog.

    Your response is akin to someone telling a retail sales associate with an annual salary of $20,000 that $90,000 is a very reasonable amount of money to spend on a well-equipped BMW. That kind of person wants a reliable low maintenance vehicle that gets him from point A to point B and gives him the most bang for his buck, not something that will put him into a ten-year self-inflicted slavery. On the other hand, show an investment banker who just made a generous year-end bonus. He will be able to appreciate the workmanship and the high performance that a BMW delivers, as well as the image that comes with the ownership. Most importantly, he has the means.

    So unless I'm trying to make money from my website or I were unusually wealthy, I personally cannot justify purchasing a premium theme. Of course things would be different if it were to be considered part of the cost of doing business. $200 is a drop in the bucket for commercial use.

    I still wouldn't pay for a theme unless I had access to a demo administration panel, ESPECIALLY if I am using it commercially. It's the same reason that I wouldn't purchase a car unless I had taken it for a test drive. Videos don't tell me much in the way of handling. Plus, it's not a hands on experience. In my experience, interfacing with administrative and control panels are an important part of usage, so I make it a habit to find a hands on demo whenever possible. The live demo shows me what the site will look like to visitors, but I don't know how the admin parts will handle. I used to sell websites to local stores and restaurants so that they could build a presence on the Internet. What I learned was this: absolutely NOBODY would want to buy the website service unless they took the administration of it for a test run.

    From a sales and marketing point of view, I would recommend that you make certain points more obvious. Yes, most people know about customizing and whatnot. But if you're trying to make money, that means you need to sell your product. One of my concerns was that it is a cookie cutter theme, and no company wants their site to look like hundreds of others. If it occured to me, I'm sure it will come up in the minds of others. You could look into providing more visible examples of modified sites. The videos should also be more prominent. I don't see why a prospective customer should have to dig around on user forums: it's the job of the company to SELL their product, not for the customer to buy it.

    There is no lack of misunderstanding on my part Mr. Hoyt. The bottom line is that I'm saying that $90 is too much to pay for when it comes to my own usage. I am confident that others with more money or business users would gladly pay. Perhaps if I made six figures I would pay for the privilege of using the theme. As I have mentioned before, a fully interactive hands-on demo of the administration panel and options would certainly seal the deal for me.

    I am not a stingy man, not by a long shot. But even so, I only bet on sure things, and I just couldn't risk wasting $90. As I had previously mentioned, I would gladly pay $40 for a theme for personal use. If I ever found a "premium" theme that was available for free and was able to turn it into something that I was satisfied with, I would gladly donate a chunk of change. I almost donated $10 to some theme I had found, but then I wasn't satisfied with the final product and I moved on to another theme.

    At the end of the day Mr. Hoyt, don't fret about one Angry Young Man's opinion: I don't have many readers anyway =)

  • Guglar

    You're absolutely right, Angry Young Man. I totally agree with your opinions, especially for this part:

    "… I don’t see why a prospective customer should have to dig around on user forums: it’s the job of the company to SELL their product, not for the customer to buy it."

  • Thanks for voicing your opinion Guglar!