Popular WordPress theme Astra with over a million customers has been suspended for 5 weeks. The punishment is in response to alleged violations of WordPress prohibitions in opposition to including affiliate hyperlinks into themes.
Astra Theme Removed from WordPress Repository
Following a hyperlink for the official Astra theme WordPress web page exhibits that the theme is just not out there from WordPress.
Using the search operate on WordPress to seek out the Astra theme exhibits zero outcomes. The Astra theme is totally faraway from WordPress.org.
Astra Affiliate Links?
An affiliate hyperlink permits an individual or group to revenue from recommending a product like Astra.
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Astra is a free theme. Yet like many free WordPress plugins and themes additionally they present premium variations that comprise extra functionalities which are acceptable for skilled publishers versus an informal blogger.
Official WordPress Announcement
The official WordPress announcement by TRT Messenger (Theme Review Team Bot) introduced the suspension on August 7, 2020.
The requirement disallowing affiliate hyperlinks was put in place a 12 months and a half in the past. WordPress had discussions on their official Slack channel in addition to on their weblog for a lot of weeks.
According to WordPress, Brainstorm Force had superior warnings.
Official WordPress assertion:
“18 months in the past you began including affiliate hyperlinks in your theme.
…We have this requirement in opposition to this:
Themes should not allowed to have affiliate URLs or hyperlinks.
We added this requirement greater than 18 months in the past, particularly for this type of concern.
We additionally requested different theme authors to take away such hyperlinks from their themes and mentioned this matter, on Slack & the weblog, for a lot of weeks.
We don’t perceive how one can miss one thing like this, and it’s additionally not the primary time now we have to return and inform you one thing is mistaken together with your theme.
Because of this, your theme might be suspended for the subsequent 5 weeks (till September 11th, 2020).”
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Brainstorm Force Astra Theme Response
Brainstorm Force, the publishers of the Astra theme, responded that they don’t add affiliate hyperlinks to the theme itself.
Thus, as a result of there aren’t any affiliate hyperlinks within the theme itself, they asserted that the theme is technically complying with the WordPress guidelines.
Brainstorm Force did concede that the Astra theme used third social gathering plugins to move a referral code.
This is how they defined it:
“We nonetheless admit that we used filters out there in third social gathering plugins the place we solely move our referral code.
But on the similar time, we do NOT add any affiliate hyperlinks or in anyway as per the requirement.
We’re unsure if utilizing the referral filter is in opposition to the requirement. But whether it is, we’re completely satisfied to take away it instantly and submit the brand new model.”
Did Astra Theme Inject Affiliate Links?
Brainstorm Force was clear that they don’t add affiliate code. They stated that they solely added “referral codes” by way of third social gathering plugins.
In their announcement, WordPress linked to code throughout the Astra Theme that seems to point out hyperlinks from the favored LinkShare/Rakuten affiliate community.
Screenshot of Affiliate Links
Another Screenshot of Astra Theme Affiliate Links
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Astra Theme Suspension is Live
The theme suspension is stay. The theme is not out there from the WordPress theme repository for obtain.
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That signifies that over 1 million Astra theme customers won’t be able to replace their theme by way of WordPress for 5 weeks.
Astra introduced that it has launched an replace that removes the affiliate referral codes. They say that this new model complies with WordPress guidelines.
But the replace must be downloaded immediately from Astra or from their GitHub repository.
WordPress has formally suspended the favored Astra theme. Brainstorm Force has requested to have the suspension lifted. Given how WordPress already tried to resolve the difficulty previous to the suspension, it doesn’t seem probably that Astra might be restored till the 5 week suspension is over.
Read the official WordPress Announcement
18 Months Ago You Started Adding Affiliate Links in Your Theme
Examples of Code with Affiliate Links