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A Glass Half Full Approach To The Pipdig Scandal & What To Do Next

Pipdig Scandal

I was in two minds about whether to write this post for one simple reason: I’m in no way techie. Ultimately though, that’s exactly why I’ve decided that I should. The majority of bloggers that I know are in the same boat, we write about lots of interests but coding isn’t one of them. Beauty gurus? I follow plenty, but IT gurus? Only a couple.

When the Pipdig scandal first began seeping onto my timeline I assumed that the drama would blow over pretty quickly. It was only a week or so after that article, when my feed had been completely taken over, that I knew I needed to educate myself.

I bought my Pipdig theme in summer last year as a celebration of going self-hosted after a year of blogging. Some of the bloggers who I most aspire to were with them and I was immensely proud to finally be able to say that I was too. I followed the crowd not only for aesthetic but because even installing one of their themes was frightening enough. Looking into lesser known theme designers wouldn’t have even occurred to me. Even with my hand being held, I was scared of getting it wrong. Blindly, I accepted that Pipdig was a well-known brand and therefore must be reputable. I guess we all know how wrong I was there.

What I Did Next

Instead of paying much attention to the frenzy that was Twitter, I read dummy guides by experts on the matter. I haven’t the foggiest when it comes to coding so I’m afraid I simply had to place my belief in one side. When it became apparent that there were actually plenty of people verifying dishonest behaviour, it became clear.

Despite feeling incredibly overwhelmed by what my next steps should be, I was adamant not to make a hasty decision. I, like many other bloggers, have limited time, resources and knowledge. I’m also of the opinion that considering Pipdigs reputation, they’re unlikely to act in any way that may tarnish it further. While I’m no expert, I felt sure that my blog wasn’t going to vanish into thin air. Although I did take a back up pretty pronto.

Initially, I began to nosey around a few ex-Pipdig themed blogs and noticed that many were switching to 17th Avenue. Part of me genuinely considered following suit, but it just felt very much like deja vu. Whilst I’m sure they’re a reputable company with gorgeous designs, I was reluctant to follow the crowd again for a variety of reasons. Instead, I began browsing Etsy.

I had accepted that I might have to get my hands dirty and was prepared to invest a good few hours, if not days learning how to install and customise. To my complete astonishment, the majority of the themes bragged free installation or very high levels of support. Which leads us to Soph Hearts 2.0. It’s the result of a mere £11 and a morning spent on my laptop.

I’m going to be painfully honest and admit that without a coding expert, I have no way of knowing whether the theme I have now possesses any of its own issues. A few bloggers have switched only to find that the coding of their new theme is largely copied from Pipdig. Basically, I’m just crossing my fingers that I haven’t made the same error. However at an investment of only £11, I was more comfortable taking a risk.

Pipdig Scandal

What You Should Do If You’re Still With Pipdig

First and foremost, avoid panicking. Actually, that’s it.

I definitely don’t have enough knowledge on the matter to provide advise. I know that their themes are expensive and would never tell anyone to just throw one away based on scaremongering. I’m also aware that the allegations are serious. I’d suggest only that you do your research according to reliable sources in order to make an informed decision.

Whilst the panic is understandable, I think it’s safe to say that those who bought a Pipdig theme did so in good faith. Judging someone for still having a theme with them a mere few weeks after the scandal is unfair for a number of reasons. It’s also worth considering that not everyone has a strong presence on Twitter, particularly within the blogging circle. They may not even know what’s been going on so please don’t be too hasty to point fingers.

So How Is It A Blessing?

I really have every sympathy with anyone else who’s been financially hit by the scandal. I was lucky enough to get at least half a years use out of my investment; not as long as I’d hoped, but longer than some. What I’ve learnt from it though is to do my research and not to assume credibility.

I’ve also pleasantly surprised myself at my ability to follow a tutorial and get on with installing and customising a theme myself. I have to be honest and say that my purchase came with plenty of resources. This only serves though, to make me kick myself for investing so much money into Pipdig in the first place. Pay attention to the information provided, many designers offer continued support and also offer step by step tutorials on everything from instillation to how to customise various aspects. Mine walked me through quite extensively, including how to add my Instagram feed to my footer and how to add images to my sidebar categories.

I’ve come out of the situation with a new theme that I love and the knowledge that I can easily handle any future changes. I’m hesitant to recommend the exact provider I used for reasons already covered. However if you’re looking for a new one, I’d definitely recommend heading to Etsy.

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96 Comments

  • Reply Margarida Vasconcelos

    I’ve no idea about the issue. It seems it turned out okay, well done you. Thanks for the tip.

    April 7, 2019 at 10:58 am
  • Reply Kim

    I like your new theme, it’s a simple clean design and displays perfectly on my mobile browser. When the Pipdig ‘scandal’ went down I was actually going to purchase a theme for them that day! So I was relieved when I saw Jem’s post. I’ve followed her for many years and she’s helped me after my blog got hacked before, so I trusted her judgement. But I understand it’s not always that easy to trust someone you don’t know. I’m hoping we’ll start to see more unique looking designs as a result. 🙂

    April 7, 2019 at 11:20 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you so much! Oh wow that was amazing timing for you then – really lucky you didn’t go through with it just a little earlier! I think we will you know! x

      April 7, 2019 at 8:54 pm
  • Reply Sophie Wentworth

    Great post! I only got mine the week between Christmas and New Year so I’m definitely in the camp feeling cheated out of my money. And I’m yet to find an alternative with a similar layout to the one I had which is only rubbing further salt in my wounds. So many people recommended Pipdig to me when I was looking, the blind faith some people still have is astounding. I agree that I didn’t think sites were about to start disappearing but the fact that they were using their customers sites to attack others really didn’t sit well with me and I wanted to distance myself asap. Your new theme looks lovely though! Onwards and upwards, hopefully we can all learn something from this x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    April 7, 2019 at 11:49 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you! Oh I completely understand why you’d be a little more put out then! Have you looked into getting a refund? I’ve heard bits and bobs about people trying to but I’m not sure how successful they’ve been. I agree, I think the biggest issue isn’t safety but the moral standpoint and not wanting to be implicated in something so underhand. Thank you so much! Good luck with finding another theme you love! x

      April 7, 2019 at 9:01 pm
  • Reply Gillian

    Such a well thought-out post, and a refreshing way to look at the positives instead of focusing on the negatives. Also, those your photos are gorgeous, such a pretty look 😍 loving your new site, and £11 is a bargain!

    – Gillian x
    http://www.gillianfinn.com

    April 7, 2019 at 12:01 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you! I’m so glad you like the new theme and I agree- much more affordable than my last! x

      April 7, 2019 at 9:04 pm
  • Reply Carly

    I’d looked at Pipdig themes loads over the last year and I’m so glad I never made the jump. The accusations are a little scary and it’s sad that such a reputable company would do that. I’m glad there’s been a happy ending for you though and have learnt how to do something you couldn’t do before.

    April 7, 2019 at 12:20 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Oh I’m so glad you didn’t too for your sake! I agree, it’s so worrying that we were all oblivious for so long. Thank you, me too!x

      April 7, 2019 at 9:09 pm
  • Reply Rhianna

    I got mine from Etsy too! I just can’t believe this whole thing with Pipdig. Call me naive, but I always like to think people’s intentions are good – however, there’s just no explaining for the malicious code Pipdig installed, and how they made their customers unwitting partners in their crimes! So wrong, and such a breach of trust.
    However, I’m really liking my new theme, and it was about £11 too!

    Rhianna X
    http://www.tsundokugirl.com

    April 7, 2019 at 12:31 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      No I completely agree, it’s terrible that they’re still denying that they’ve done anything wrong too! I love your new theme and it sounds like a bargain too!x

      April 7, 2019 at 9:13 pm
  • Reply Sarah Dickinson

    Hey Sophie,

    I too was a Pipdig convert and so had to change my theme when it became obvious it would be harmful & detrimental to my blog to keep it. I only spent $6 on the actual theme and then £10 for installation/deletion/removal so all in all I got away pretty lightly. I am bummed about the amount i spent on my old theme but also pleased i had to change because i was looking for a new theme anyway!
    I am pleased you got a new one too and i really like the look of it.
    Best of luck with it all. X
    Sarah x

    April 7, 2019 at 1:38 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Hi Sarah! It’s great that it came at an okay time when you were looking for a new theme anyway, pretty good timing for you really! Thank you, I’m glad you like it! x

      April 7, 2019 at 9:17 pm
  • Reply Charlotte

    This is such a well written post. I spent ages over the last few days browsing the internet trying to find a new theme! It’s such a shame that so many people have been hit financially by this. Luckily I did get 2 years use out of my pipdig theme but it’s still frustrating. I’d never judge anyone for still having a pipdig theme though because we’re all in different situations 😃 Your blog looks amazing, I love the new look 💕

    April 7, 2019 at 1:57 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Aw thats lovely to hear. It’s great that you got 2 years out of it but I agree- it’s never nice to have the choice taken away from you is it? Thank you, I’m so glad you like it! x

      April 7, 2019 at 8:50 pm
  • Reply Emma

    Fab post Soph! It makes it that bit more real that so many of us are in the same situation, and like you said only a few are coding gurus! I’m going to head to Etsy and see what they have got. So did you install the new theme yourself?

    Emma | http://www.lifeofemmax.co.uk

    April 7, 2019 at 2:04 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you! They have some lovely themes so hopefully you’ll find at least one you like! Yes I did, honestly the process was no more difficult than Pipdig’s instillation process, I think there’s just a lot of fear of the unknown (which I’m definitely guilty of too) x

      April 7, 2019 at 9:39 pm
  • Reply Geraldine

    I have still yet to do my research as to what I plan on going with next, as I also had a theme from Pipdig. There are seriously so many themes to explore!

    April 7, 2019 at 2:35 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Honestly don’t rush it- it’s an important decision and time consuming too. Good luck with finding one you love! x

      April 7, 2019 at 8:47 pm
  • Reply Melissa

    I think this is really sensible advice for anyone to follow. Also your new theme looks great 🙂

    April 7, 2019 at 2:40 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I’m glad you think so! Thank you so much! x

      April 7, 2019 at 8:42 pm
  • Reply Irena BookDustMagic

    I’ve heard about this Pipdig scandal on Twitter, and tbh still don’t know everything what was going on, but I am glad to hear you found the solution and your new theme.

    April 7, 2019 at 3:39 pm
  • Reply Alice

    It’s so odd because when the Pipdig situation first arose and it became apparent that it was serious and not just scaremongering, I thought this is the WORST thing that could happen for me and my blog. I, like you, am in no way “techie” in any shape or form. Pipdig did my entire installation for me as well as swapped my hosting over last year so I was highly grateful for their service and thought it well worth the money even for their helpful service if not the theme I loved so much. I was sure I wouldn’t find another theme that was a little bit quirky like mine, I’ve always wanted my blog to have more of an edge to it due to my style being like that but all I could find for so long was the same looking designs. Funnily enough I came across one and just fell in love! I installed it all myself and once I’d customised it (as much as I possibly could – that’s one thing I do miss about my Pipdig theme – the amount of stuff you could easily change!), I couldn’t believe how much more I loved it than my old one. It’s now quirky but also much more professional looking than my old one and I’ve had SO many compliments on it!
    Alice Xx

    April 7, 2019 at 4:33 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      It sounds like we’ve had really similar experiences! Your new theme does look absolutely amazing and I’m so glad you love it and that you can say that you installed and customised it all yourself! x

      April 7, 2019 at 10:07 pm
  • Reply Natonya

    Hey Soph thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve been seeing the pipdig chaos a over my Twitter😮 I’m still on the free version on WordPress but I’ve been trying to save up money for self hosting my blog and buying a fancy pipdig theme for a few months. I can’t believe this is happening, not sure if the claims are completely legit but like you I’m just going to avoid pipdig at all cost and choose something else. Will definitely check out Etsy for lifestyle themes.

    Natonya | https://justnatonya.wordpress.com

    April 7, 2019 at 6:17 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I have as well- I can’t get away from it haha! Good luck in saving to go self-hosted, it’s definitely a great thing to do and it’s pretty lucky you hadn’t yet invested in them! x

      April 7, 2019 at 8:40 pm
  • Reply Steff

    I’ve been wondering what’s been going on with Pipdig, and I’m still a bit unsure if I’m honest. I’m not one of the affected people but I have read that blogs could have been lost and that is terrifying! We all know how much hard work goes into a post so that’s a big no-no!
    I’m glad you found a new theme for a small amount of money, your blog looks amazing! My first thought was how clean and minimalist it looks! Good shout! Xx

    steffsjourney.com

    April 7, 2019 at 7:52 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      It’s definitely pretty confusing for those of us who aren’t techies. Thank you so much, it’s really lovely to hear that you like it! x

      April 7, 2019 at 8:35 pm
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