Sneaky WP Theme Tactics – Padd Solutions Review

Came across some sneakyness in a Padd Solutions free theme today – Hidden Links!

I had installed the Lanthanumness theme, which looked nice and was relatively easy to work with. I had tested this theme on one of my sites and ran it thru the TAC plugin and saw no problems. So I installed it on Will wear your ads. I didn’t think to look at the footer links.

Tara worked with this theme all week and was getting ready to launch it. She goes to put it on Facebook and got this:
FB clearly shows the hidden link title text

I tested myself. Same thing.

Seriously? Showing info to someone elses site? Low. Lower than low. Scumbag like even.

At first I thought maybe someone hacked the site, or a previous owner had the site. Nope. Instead, I found hidden links.

As you can see in the first image – theme looks normal. Links the same color as the background equal hidden links.

no highlight hidden links

Ooops! There it is! Hidden links, highlighted.

hidden links

This is lower than scumbag low. Scumbags have more class! Man up and make sure the links show at the very least. To hide them like this can get the site that is using them in trouble by getting banned. And to have them show in a Facebook description? Despicable.

This is what Google says about hidden links:

I suppose I should have looked closer. My bad, there. Some of the themes on their site have the hidden links – but not all. A case of bad programming, maybe but I’m not entirely sure of that and I wouldn’t forgive them either. It’s not easy to find the offending code. You can see in the footer where the call is referenced and if you remove that line of code your theme breaks. I can generally find offensive code and I couldn’t with this theme.

For instance:

footer reference

Then you get this:

site broken

The links that are generated on the Paddsolutions theme:

spammy links html code

(I would personally never use a theme with this kind of link in the footer – unless it was an adult site.)

Are not hardcoded anywhere in the code. I believe there is a phone home mechanism going on here and the links are generated on the Padd Solutions server. Have I mentioned this is skeezy? The spammy links are bad enough but they’re so worried about getting credit (which I do understand, by the way), that they’ll sink this low?

The Padd Solutions description states:

We provide premium quality free WordPress themes

Uh, folks? Premium theme developers do not pull this kind of nonsense in their themes.

A couple of other complaints about their practices: