WordPress Removed Astra Theme for violating prohibitions. Theme with over one million users was found adding affiliate links in their themes. Now it shows in WordPress “theme not available”.

The below image shows the result when the theme is searched in WordPress.
Image Source – searchenginejournal

Astra Link?

This is the kind of affiliate link that allows an individual or an organization to get profit by recommending their products. It is free on WordPress whereas, like other plugins, it also has a premium version that has extra features.

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WordPress Stated

“18 months ago you started adding affiliate links in your theme.

…We have this requirement against this:
Themes are not allowed to have affiliate URLs or links.

We added this requirement more than 18 months ago, specifically for this kind of issue.

We also asked other theme authors to remove such links from their themes and discussed this topic, on Slack & the blog, for many weeks.

We don’t understand how you can miss something like this, and it’s also not the first time we have to come and tell you something is wrong with your theme.

Because of this, your theme will be suspended for the next 5 weeks (until September 11th, 2020).”

Source – searchenginejournal

Brainstorm Responded on it

“We however admit that we used filters available in third party plugins where we only pass our referral code.

But at the same time, we do NOT add any affiliate links or whatsoever as per the requirement.

We’re not sure if using the referral filter is against the requirement. But if it is, we’re happy to remove it immediately and submit the new version.”

Did Astra Added Affiliate Links?

According to Brainstorm, they added “referral coded” with the help of third-party plugins, whereas WordPress searched the code within Astra which shows links.

Below are the screenshots of the affiliate links added.

Screenshots of Affiliate Links
Image Source – searchenginejournal

Screenshots of Affiliate Links
Image Source – searchenginejournal

Suspension is Live

The theme is no longer available on WordPress which means users will not be able to download or update it from WordPress for 5 weeks. However, Astra said that they have updated by removing all links and following all WordPress policies. This update is available at Astra or Github.

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