Ad Astra Per Aspera
Last week, the popular Astra theme was suspended from the theme directory for five weeks because it was “violating prohibitions on affiliate links.” Search Engine Journal talked to the theme review team and Brainstorm Force (the owners of Astra) about the suspension. 😕
Although Astra was removed from the WordPress directory, a few days later (on August 10th) it was back but not listed anywhere in the popular theme lists. Alexandru Cosmin, the Themes Team Lead, stated on Twitter that they “found a hacky way to get them off the Popular list (for 5 weeks).” Alexandru points to a newly opened Trac ticket to “Add delist option to theme directory” and noted at the time that “if this patch is ready by then, we’ll use it on Astra too.”
Sujay Pawar, CEO and Co-Founder of Brainstorm Force, issued a public apology letter but didn’t include any new information or propose any course of action.
There is a new discussion taking place now about what should happen when a theme in the directory doesn’t “follow the guidelines,” no doubt instigated by Astra’s situation.