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Pro Instructables Accounts

As you know, the recession has has hit many industries hard; it's even changing the way the internet functions. While we hoped to provide an excellent service for free under an ad-supported model, it's becoming obvious we'll have to do something different to help our community survive this economic downturn. So, in the next few weeks, we'll be launching 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
Access to secondary images sizes on an Instructable's step All images are available for free
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.

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ewilhelm (author) 7 years ago
A few of the comments here have been nonconstructive, so I've opted not to respond directly. However, they do contain some factual errors, and I'd like to correct a few of the most egregious.

The Instructables team works very hard -- despite being underpaid -- because they love what they do and they love the site. A title is a bare summary of each person's contribution to the site; everyone on our team is highly skilled and passionate, and everyone on the team has sold advertising or a contest for the site.

We also have a direct sales team that we share with Popular Science Magazine (and website). Among other things, they sold the Craftsman, Converse, Apple, and Norton campaigns recently or currently running on Instructables. They work extremely hard, and are quite talented, but the sales environment -- and frankly the macro-economic environment in general -- is tough right now. For an outside example, pick up a copy of Wired magazine today and compare its thickness with an issue 6 months ago.

Google Adsense can be hit or miss, but it does a better job of monetizing pageviews not directly sold by us than most other programs available. You'll note that even sales powerhouses, such as the New York Times, run Adsense. Finally, I know of many sites that are approximately our size in terms of traffic and headcount that are profitable on Adsense alone -- Wikihow being the most relevant example.

Building Pro accounts was not easier than doing sales calls to advertisers or advertising agencies. Because I am analytically minded (and I prefer to spend time kitesurfing rather than hitting my head against hard objects), we have always built the features and tools that I think will bring in the largest amount of revenue for the least amount of work or development time. The site didn't have pro accounts from inception because previously the easier revenue was through advertising. That has since changed. Were I starting Instructables right now, it would launch with pro accounts and advertising opportunities together, because to start a business based exclusively on advertising in the current climate would be madness.

Instructables provides a huge amount of value: we have a super-cool documentation engine, a great community, and we help authors get their projects in front of a huge audience. Making changes to a site is always hard; we carefully weighed all of our options, and chose those that would be least disruptive to the community. Besides, what else of value can you get for less than $2/month?

I love Instructables and the creative values it stands for, and am simply taking the challenging but necessary steps to keep it a vibrant, productive, sustainable community.

I'm not in the PRO category but have had an account for a few years. I guess I was grandfathered to download, because I have been downloading until this week. I had to change my password again (Instructables no longer recognized it - for the second time). Now I can no longer download. Sure, I can create an Instructable, and I did, but after nine iterations and a couple of hundred dollars, I felt $40 dollars is not enough for my efforts, so I never posted it I have built them for several people who would have built it for themselves if it had been posted on Instructables.com. I built them for the cost of the materials, no profit. It reminds me of the Apple does business. They charge you $99 per year for the privilege to create apps, then take part of your money to sell it on their site, and only on their site. I feel like some of the other people. If I pay, I don't want to see ANY advertisements. I NEVER, NEVER read the ads nor do I buy from them.

smallfrys6 years ago
I'd be fine if it actually were $2/month vs. $2/month if you pay for 2 years at once. "In this economic climate" (to repeat ewilhelm's post), how can we pay for 2 years outright for a service we don't know will still be around tomorrow? For that matter, there are many people that can't afford that much outright (students, low/fixed-income people) in the U.S., let alone in third-world countries. Why not have a $2/month plan that's month-to-month? Perhaps only have one of the 2 main features that most people want (PDF or all-on-one-page).

"...there are many people that can't afford that much outright (students, low/fixed-income people) in the U.S.,...

I'm one of those low/fixed income ppl, & can't afford paying out the asking price. DIY is for the idea of saving money, being frugal, etc,especially for those that <have to> be frugal, not spending more money.

Other than that issue, I love this site, but am very disappointed w/the pay for an account in order to have the ability to download pdfs, when it was free B4.

As was said up top, "recession." Recession means, guess what, not only pay for what was free before, but also ppl get laid off, get paid less, get reduced hours, go on welfare, food-stamps, low/fixed state-given income, or even go homeless. All with a lot less money to spend.

All I can do is shake my head with the catch 22 of it all. <sigh>

Create a feature-worthy instructable and earn 3 months pro free.

Algag smallfrys5 years ago
How many people in third world countries have regular access to the internet?
diy_bloke Algag4 years ago
many. You'd be surprised
smallfrys Algag5 years ago
http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

Lots.

Good necro btw. Comment notification saved you ftw though.
MelPhleg1 year ago

How bout you pay for the amount you actually use, cuz I certainly don't use this site every day, nor every week. A lot of times not even for months.

Or how bout, go the way that NaNoWriMo has, ask for donations, or others to sponsor the site.

Or even for the free account, only allow so many download pdfs a week, month, whatever.

Goodhart4 years ago
Because I am unable to post directly to the recent post in "Pro Instructables Accounts" I wanted to reply here. I DO hope that I have not inadvertently made any comments that anything imply like what you are describing. I LOVE instructables, and despite many changes, realize the stress that your team is under with all you have to do and accomplish with so few resources. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate EVERYTHING you all do. Thank you for all you do.
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