Pro Instructables Accounts
The pro account feature set is still slightly in flux, but it will give you access to some of our existing features and some new ones:
Private Instructables - share an Instructable with only a small group of people
Patches - create and send patches to other users
Fewer Advertisements - No contextual (Google) ads, or ads from indirect networks
Pro Users forum
PDF versions of Instructables, including more customizable options
View all steps on one page
No captcha for Private Messages
Pro badge on user icon
We have not finalized the pricing, but it will be reasonable, and you will be able to join for periods of one month, one year, or two years. Initially, we'll only accept payment via PayPal. Every user who has registered prior to the release of pro accounts will receive at least 3 free months of access to the existing features we are turning pro. During this period, we hope to convince you that the features are useful enough to pay for.
Why we're doing this:
Instructables provides a tremendous amount of value to everyone who uses it. Our authors benefit from having a superior documentation tool and an already established and sizable audience; our members benefit from our active community management; and our audience (those who do not currently have accounts) benefit from inspiring, entertaining, and useful content. In consideration of Instructables' value, you currently look at and occasionally buy products from our advertisers. Supporting content with advertising is a wonderful system, but it isn't covering all of our costs, so we're asking you to subscribe to support us and the DIY community.
One of the things I've endeavored to create at Instructables is an egalitarian meritocracy. Anyone can post an Instructable and anyone can comment on an Instructable, not just editors and approved writers; we don't highlight our admin accounts or often use them to moderate comments because it's important that the community as a whole enforces the "be nice" policy. In that spirit, we won't be giving away free pro accounts. I, and everyone else who works here, will buy pro accounts for ourselves. This may seem like just an exercise, but with it I hope to make the important point that we value Instructables and we want to support it. Having been an Instructables member for a long period of time, or having the greatest number of pageviews will not entitle you to a pro account. Just like anyone can post an Instructable, anyone can become a pro member, and the price is the same for everyone.
If a pro account isn't for you, we'll always offer a free account. The free account maintains the site's core functionality, and is extremely usable: You can follow an Instructable's directions, post pictures of your results in the comments or another Instructable, and enter all of our contests and challenges. We've tried to carefully balance providing free access to the content -- so we can provide a large audience to our authors -- against making some of the more bandwidth-intensive value-adding features available only to pro members. As an author, you'll always retain full access to your own projects, including PDF versions.
I often tell people that Instructables is an online magazine. In reality it's so much more than a magazine, but as an active member of the community you already know that. I hope you'll subscribe.