PDFs - an idea for compromise (Pro accounts)
I've just had an idea that could make lots of people happy!
Give the PDF downloads back to the non-pro membership, but in a non-customisable, advertisement-heavy form.
Should the site then decide to move to a stage where projects generate revenue for members, then it would not be based on clicks, views or ratings, but on the number of times the PDF version of the project is downloaded.
(It takes no effort to click, but it takes effort to join, click and download. Presumably there will be a software tool that prevents multiple downloads by a single individual being counted towards the total - not preventing multiple downloads, since we all lose files occasionally, just making them all count as "1".)
That will stop dross being posted just to get a click, the site will be able to calculate exactly how much revenue has been generated by a project, and the poster can be rewarded appropriately.
There is also the potential to make the PDFs available to non-members for a small PayPal fee - I wouldn't like to fix a price, but something low enough to prevent it being worth re-selling on ebay (I have seen Instructables PDF files offered at 99c), so maybe 50c? 75c?