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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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  • Reply Lisa

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I still have my Pipdig theme because I just can’t find one I like, despite spending over ten hours trawling. I’m so sad about this whole issue because for me getting a Pipdig theme felt like I’d made it as a real blogger, you know? I will be changing just as soon as I can find one I like (yours is gorgeous BTW) but as I know how long it took me to set up my theme in the first place, it’s not something I want to rush into. I don’t have time to install a free one, I only want to have to do the job once. Great post, Soph, sorry for the ramble! Lisa x

    April 8, 2019 at 6:12 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      You’re so welcome, I’m glad you like it! I was sad about it too and so shocked as well to be honest. Honestly, take your time, it’s a big decision- I hope you find one you love soon!x

      April 8, 2019 at 9:50 pm
  • Reply Katie Dolan

    I think it’s nice that we now all have different themes and not everyone’s blogs look the same. I was like you and got so confused over all the coding/techy lingo but ended up browsing Etsy and have found a template I’m really happy with! Fingers crossed they’re all ok!

    Katie | XX

    April 8, 2019 at 9:20 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I totally agree. I’m so glad you found one you love from Etsy too- I’m so glad I looked there, they have so much choice and most of them look super supportive too x

      April 8, 2019 at 10:06 pm
  • Reply Eena

    Ahhh, the infamous pipdig scandal! Nancy informed me about the whole thing and I was initially adamant about changing my layout and about the whole thing but after a few days of thinking about the whole thing, I switched my site back to an older theme I had purchased and spent my entire day off fixing it up! Kinda bummed about the whole situation but regardless if you blog for income or as a hobby, it’s always best to have a theme/host that’s reliable and doesn’t like to add shady codes into their php! Oh well! Your new layout looks fab 🙂

    Eena ☼ cabin twenty-four

    April 9, 2019 at 4:07 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Indeed! I actually really like the older theme and your site looks really good- I completely agree that reliability is super important but I’m glad you took your time with the decision! x

      April 9, 2019 at 9:13 pm
  • Reply Rebecca

    Thanks for sharing this post, Soph, I will definitely check out Etsy. They have some amazing stuff on there for much lower prices. I’m particularly gutted as I have only gained around two months of usage of my theme. A lot of my friends read my blog for the first ever time and complimented me on how professional it looked, so I was really pleased with it. Onto the next one though, as you say, the best thing to do is not to panic!

    Rebecca |

    April 9, 2019 at 7:59 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Of course! Oh that’s such a shame, I’m so sorry that you spent all that money for only two months. I agree, I hope you find a new theme you love just as much! x

      April 9, 2019 at 9:14 pm
  • Reply Cate

    i hate this whole pipdig situation – for some reason when I moved from blogger to wordpress and I was on the hunt for a new theme ( I had pipdig on blogger!) I didn’t want to have the same of everybody else and this saved me.

    I love coding and html but I am no expert and themes always seem to be problematic when I upload them. Apart from this, I really loved pipdig themes but I also always loved to find prettier ones. Not to mention, I’d love to learn creating them !!

    Cate // 35mminstyle

    April 9, 2019 at 10:30 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      I do as well! Oh that’s a stroke of luck isn’t it?! I’d love to learn more about the tech side of things too! x

      April 9, 2019 at 9:29 pm
  • Reply Liz

    I haven’t heard of this scandal,it is such a shame that people were negatively affected… I find my themes on Etsy, there are a bunch of beautiful and well-designed templates for websites.

    Lots of love ♥ January Girl

    April 9, 2019 at 10:58 am
  • Reply Ashley

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. I was reading bits of info on Twitter and had no idea what was happening! I’m lucky I have my brother who is more tech specialist than me to help. It can be so confusing with all the problems we bloggers encounter.


    April 9, 2019 at 12:33 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      You’re so welcome. Oh thats so handy for you- I wish I had someone techie to help me- the people around me help as much as they can but they’re no experts either! x

      April 9, 2019 at 9:23 pm
  • Reply Chloe Chats

    I have been following a little about this whole pipdig scandal, I guess lucky for me I have never used their themes but I still wanted to find out what was going on as like you say, they were a loved brand for themes and very reputable and others can easily be the same. I have done a coding course myself so I could see for myself that some of their codes were not right, glad you have found a new theme that you love on Etsy! I don’t know why but I never thought of looking on Etsy for one!

    Chloe xx

    April 9, 2019 at 8:29 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Ooh it’s so interesting that you’ve done a coding course- what a handy skill to have! Thank you, I hadn’t until recently either but I’m so glad I did!x

      April 9, 2019 at 9:18 pm
  • Reply Mercy

    Good to be aware about what happened to Pipdig. Nice on you to be on top of everything and try to learn the tech side. I also moved from Blogger to WordPress though I haven’t used Pipdig.

    April 10, 2019 at 3:50 am
  • Reply Amita

    This is such an informative post! I was lucky because I was about to buy a pipdig theme but changed my mind because I didn’t like them that much. But I really do feel bad for the people that did, especially since a lot of them didn’t get much use out of it. Such a shame for Pipdig to do what they’ve done xx

    April 10, 2019 at 10:32 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      I’m glad you think so! That is lucky- I’m glad you didn’t end up investing, I completely agree x

      April 13, 2019 at 9:07 pm
  • Reply Samantha

    This is a very informative and interesting post. I spent some time reading up on this whole saga, the infamous Wordfence article as well as Pipdig’s responses. I must admit, I was hosted by Pipdig and have used their themes since I switched to self-hosting my blog three months after I started. I’ve since been informed by Pipdig that they no longer offer hosting but I’ll remain covered by the company they were using as a 3rd party host anyway so in theory nothing changes to my service.

    To be honest, I’ve been watching the “big bloggers” who use Pipdig to see if they switch. It’s difficult as some of this comes down to ethics too but for now, I’m staying put with Pipdig. I’ve had loads of dealings with Phil over the years and although there are always reasons and two sides to a story from what I’ve read (as a non-coder) some of the code was put in place for specific reasons of which I have little understanding so I can’t sit in judgment of the whys and wherefores..

    This will all blow over and let’s see where we go after that. I know my blog is safe as Pipdig won’t do anything further to damage its good name. I’ve updated my P3 plugin which has removed the affected code so I’m happy to continue as I am for now. x

    Samantha |

    April 10, 2019 at 11:04 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      I’m so glad you think so. I’ve been watching the big bloggers too and a couple who I really aspire to are still with them. I don’t blame you for sticking with with them to be honest, especially after only revamping your blog recently and how lovely it looks x

      April 13, 2019 at 9:15 pm
  • Reply Bexa

    I love your new theme, Soph! It’s gorgeous! I was on a blogging break when the whole pipdig drama kicked off so have only just been catching up. Now I’m struggling to find a new theme I like, it’s very frustrating, argghhh. I never thought of Etsy though so thanks for the suggestion, I am going to take a look. Also, thanks for sharing your thoughts, it’s really helpful to read a post on it all as I feel like I’ve been out of the loop for so long. Lovely photos as always <3 xx

    Bexa |

    April 10, 2019 at 12:49 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Thank you so much! It’s pretty overwhelming isn’t it, but I hope you find Etsy as inspiring as I did! I’m glad you found it helpful lovely x

      April 13, 2019 at 9:19 pm
  • Reply Melina Elisa

    I actually love this them…maybe more than the pipdig one. Not that the pipdig one wasn’t beautiful, but it’s just more unique? Seeing the same layout over and over again was definitely a bit exhausting. I will say that I did consider more than once on investing in a pipdig theme, but because of the cost I thought about it a lot. I found loads of themes that I might switch to that was not pipdig for the main reason I told you. While I wanted a super clean and beautiful theme, but not the one everyone else had.
    I’m sorry to hear you had to go through this, but I’m happy to hear that you figured it out! Like I said before, it all looks lovely xxx

    Melina |

    April 10, 2019 at 5:31 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Aw thank you so much! I bet you’re extra glad now that you didn’t invest in one! Thank you, that really means a lot x

      April 13, 2019 at 9:38 pm
  • Reply Tiffany

    Personally, I’ve never used anything from pipdig. I only heard about the pipdig scandal through a coder/develop that I followed for years because of her fanlisitng script Jem, I think personally I just got lucky because I do have some coding and tech skills, not a lot but enough to understand why this was such a big deal. I think that it’s really good that you mentioned that people shouldn’t panic, but if someone can’t afford a new theme I think the wordpress theme repository is a good way to go. Since in order to have a theme there they have to be inspected and passed by wordpress’ team.

    I feel really bad for you and anyone else who was deceived by this because it’s so messed up. I can’t imagine that very many people download their theme and then look at all the coding to make sure there is nothing malicious there. This theme you currently have is so nice, I actually prefer it to any of the pipdig themes 🙂

    April 11, 2019 at 5:19 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      Oh that’s such useful information, thank you! No, I agree, the majority of the bloggers I know (including me) wouldn’t even know how. Oh thank you so much, I’m rally glad you like it x

      April 13, 2019 at 9:45 pm
  • Reply sonia // daring coco

    I only happened to find out about this a week later via Twitter and someone’s reply to another. Without that I would have no idea myself. I too was hoping it would blow over and I also have zero knowledge on the subject of coding too. I’ve been panicking over this disaster because I haven’t found any themes I am happy with nor want to spend the kind of money they’re asking for. It’s been so hard trying to find something. Pipdig also had plugins which I brought and use and rely on and again, can’t find anything or anyone who has anything similar which is so frustrating. There’s still time and everyone is saying not to rush because others are having issues with themes not working properly (mostly because they have trouble installing it to begin with). I did just discover 17th Ave this morning and found maybe one or two I could consider but I’m still unsure. I’ll have a look at your etsy find now. Fingers crossed.


    April 11, 2019 at 6:55 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      I only found out via Twitter too! I panicked initially too but try your best not to, as long as you’ve done a back up you’ll be absolutely fine for now. I hope you find a replacement you love when it comes to it! x

      April 14, 2019 at 9:38 am
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