Sean Davis announced a new free theme on the Easy Digital Downloads blog, called Vendd. Vendd is designed to bring a number of EDD’s “more hidden features to light.”
In addition to releasing Vendd for free, EDD is also making their five other themes — previously commercial options — free as well.
They believe that by having a suite of free themes they will greatly increase exposure for paid add-ons. It’s my understanding that commercial theme sales were 1% or less of overall revenues for Easy Digital Downloads, so making them free has pretty much nothing but upside.
WooThemes has made a similar move with their free Storefront theme, and it seems to have been quite successful for them so far, as Storefront is one of the most popular themes in the WordPress repository.
Vendd and other EDD themes may make their way to the WordPress repository as well, as it’s such a significant source for exposure; but they are still debating whether to submit them there due to some of the challenges of that ecosystem.