Promo Skin for Thesis 2 has been recently released and here I would like to share my experience in purchasing and troubleshooting the problem after installing this skin.
Installation of Promo Skin
The Promo skin had all the required feature like beautiful typography, social media icons, responsive skin and promo bar. After installing and activating the skin, found out that my blog was broken. I was seeing only a blank page with a dark green background. The Promo Skin documentation mentions about the Nav Menu and Promo bar under Promo Skin Display Options. But I could not find out that option in my thesis admin screen. Also under the Skin Editor, Home/Single had only Body HTML container and nothing inside it.
Then I had to post this problem on to the DIYThemes forum for help. There was some quick response but was not helpful in resolving issue. I could not keep loosing my traffic so had to revert to my previous thesis skin.
Little frustrated with this problem, I had to send an email to support asking for a refund. Then received the following email from the support
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org a WordPress login (full admin access) and FTP login details, and we will get the Promo Skin working for you right away.
The sooner you emails us, the sooner we can fix your problem.
I was not comfortable to share user credentials and sent them an email again to start processing the refund. Then received this email from Chirs about the new Refund Policy.
The refund policy for Thesis Skins clearly states:
“If we are unable to get a Skin or Box functioning properly on your site—and if you are within the 30-day deadline—then we will issue you a refund for the purchase.”
In the support thread you opened, it’s clear that you were never able to effectively turn off your caching plugin, as recommended by user pbarron (he notes that your pages still showed that they were cached, even though you had turned off the plugin).
We’ve seen behavior like this before, and it has nothing to do with Thesis or the Skin (it’s due to the persistent nature of that caching plugin). The good news is that we can solve this problem for you in just a few minutes.
Furthermore, in order to issue you a refund, our staff would have to work on your site and conclude that we cannot get the Skin working properly on your server. We have not been able to do this yet, and on top of that, I am *certain* that we can get the Skin working for you.
Please email a WP and FTP login to email@example.com, and we will fix your site right away.
I was little disappointed with this because when I checked their refund policy (not the extended one for skins and not sure how I missed this during purchase), it stated that “Because of this, we offer a “love it or leave it” 30-day money back guarantee on everything we sell.”. But as I write now you would notice that this page has also been updated.
Troubleshooting Promo Skin problem
I decided to troubleshoot the problem by myself by setting up a local instance. After playing around with various skin files I did not find much success. Then tried the promo skin on a fresh WordPress installation and it worked fine. Then edited wp-config.php on my fresh WordPress installation to change the DB source to my blog MySql DB. I was able to replicate the problem and it was to do with MySql data.
I tried to clear the Promo skin related data entries in the wp_options table and tried to re-activate the skin. Compared the different wp_option entries in my blog and the fresh WordPress installation. And tried many more but did not have much luck with this exercise. Then decided to manually insert Promo skin related wp_options data from working DB to the non working DB.
While trying to insert the data for “nina_promo_cross_boxes” received the warning message about “Incorrect string value”. Then compared Collation attribute of option_value in both the DB and found that my blog was set to “latin_swedish_ci” and fresh wordpress DB was set to ut8_general_ci.
Then I manually updated the Collation to utf8_general_ci. Also cleared all the Promo related DB entries from wp_option table. Now on activating the Promo skin again, I could see the Promo Text and Nav Menu under “Promo Skin Content” section.
After doing few customisation, my blog was up and running with the beautiful Promo skin.
I have no doubts that Promo skin is one of the best skin currently available for Thesis 2. But these are the lessons that I have learnt in the last 48 hours on trying the Promo skin.
- Not to try any new skins immediately on a live blog before trying it on a local setup.
- Wait for couple of days after the product release to purchase a product. Check the forums to get the feel of the product and issues reported after purchase.
- Make sure to check refund policy before buying any digital product. And never assume that you will always get refund.
- Try to read between the lines of the Refund policy. For example “Only if you have worked with our support staff to resolve the problem first.” means you should be prepared to give them your credentials.
- Plenty of garbage collected in wp_options table, need to clear them periodically.