WordPress suspends Astra theme and eliminated repository which affects 1 Million User

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 towards including affiliate hyperlinks into themes. Following a hyperlink for the official Astra theme WordPress web page reveals that the theme is just not obtainable from WordPress. Using the search operate on WordPress to search out the Astra theme reveals zero outcomes. The Astra theme is totally faraway from WordPress.org.

A search for the Astra theme in the WordPress theme repository does not return any results. Only an unrelated topic with a similar name appears.

What is Astra Affiliate Links?

An affiliate hyperlink permits an individual or group to revenue from recommending a product like Astra. Astra is a free theme. Yet like many free WordPress plugins and themes in addition they present premium variations that comprise further functionalities which are acceptable for skilled publishers versus an informal blogger.

What was Official WordPress Announcement

The official WordPress ad by TRT Messenger (Theme Review Team Bot) announced the suspension on August 7, 2020. The obligation to ban affiliate links was put in place a year and a half ago. WordPress has been having discussions on its official Slack channel as well as on its blog for many weeks.

According to WordPress, Brainstorm Force had advanced warnings.

WordPress official statement:

“18 months ago he started adding affiliate links on his topic.

… We have this demand against this:
Topics are not allowed to have URLs or affiliate links.

We added this requirement over 18 months ago, specifically for this type of issue.

We also ask other topic authors to remove these links from their topics, and we’ve been discussing this topic, on Slack and the blog, for many weeks.

We don’t understand how you can miss something like this, and neither is it the first time that we have to come and tell you that something is wrong with your topic.

For this reason, your topic will be suspended for the next 5 weeks (until September 11, 2020) ”.

Courtesy: Search Engine Journal

Astra Theme Response on their above official statement:

This is how they defined it:

“WE NEVERTHELESS ADMIT THAT WE USED FILTERS OBTAINABLE IN THIRD SOCIAL GATHERING PLUGINS THE PLACE WE SOLELY GO OUR REFERRAL CODE.

BUT ON THE SIMILAR TIME, WE DO NOT ADD ANY AFFILIATE HYPERLINKS OR IN ANY RESPECT AS PER THE REQUIREMENT.

WE’RE UNDECIDED IF UTILIZING THE REFERRAL FILTER IS TOWARDS THE REQUIREMENT. BUT WHETHER IT IS, WE’RE BLISSFUL TO TAKE AWAY IT INSTANTLY AND SUBMIT THE BRAND NEW MODEL.”

Courtesyey: SEARCH ENGINE JOURNAL

Did Astra Theme Inject Affiliate Links?

Brainstorm Force the developer community was clear that they don’t add affiliate code. They mentioned that they solely added “referral codes” by way of third social gathering plugins.

In their announcement, WordPress linked to code inside the Astra Theme that seems to indicate hyperlinks from the favored LinkShare/Rakuten affiliate community.

Screenshot of Affiliate Links

Astra Theme Suspension is Live

The suspension of the theme is live. The Astra theme is no longer available for download in the WordPress theme repository. It means more than 1 million users of the Astra theme will not be able to update their theme through WordPress for five weeks. Astra announced that it has released an update that removes affiliate referral codes. They say this new version conforms to WordPress rules.

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