Its been around the web forever and it isn’t anything new. But “installing” them on a sponsored theme that is being downloaded at large for free is a relatively recent twist. [A “sponsored” theme is a theme with embedded advertising, hence the inbound links.]
Since Matt decided to remove sponsored themes from WordPress.net this last week you would have thought it would be a topic of a somewhat different nature but apparently there is someone who believes that now is the time to go to the forum and begin a promotion for inbound links in sponsored themes! Incredibly (dripping with sarcasm), for this moment, there appears to be a design outfit behind what is currently a low-level campaign.
This person begins their promotion with this: “There is a way to get inbound links to your [Blog, I suppose] for little or nothing. I first read about this on a random blog. The idea is to find a web designer that is selling footer sponsorship links at the bottom of open source themes that they have designed for WordPress/joomla/drupal or other Opensource software. These links are generally about 35.00 to 65.00 each and there are about 3 links at the bottom of each theme.”
This is followed with a story about sites where these themes are warehoused and downloaded. Besides the bs that they first read about it on a random blog they have added this small ditty;