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Another "Pro" Idea Answered

I really do not have a problem with the Pro accounts, instructables is a business, and businesses need money to survive. I would however like to suggest an idea borrowed from i-hacked.com. Over at i-hacked, the webmaster allows users to submit a how-to OR pay to become a member. Why not reward the users who make/made instructables what it is. I think instructables should allow users that submit a certain number of "high quality" instructables to become Pro members. These members have contributed as much or more than $3 per month, just by a different means. What do you guys think? -Alfonso



Some kind of content-rebate would be good. L

On what basis? Quantity? Imagine the dross that would be posted!

No, of course not. If it was up to me, it would be based on rating and number of views.

Even view-counts are not a reliable measure of quality - just of an attractive title.

Maybe, Lemonie's idea - refund based on rated projects.

The logic works like this:
The site is nothing without content
Authors don't earn money from their work, the site does (if not enough)
Authors who sign-up for "Pro" effectively pay for the publishing service the site provides to them (a principle which I've not noticed anyone else make reference to)
For large retail businesses rebate-credit is often given for bulk sales / purchases on an economy-of-scale basis.
If one great Instructable earns $1 in advertising revenue it may be worth rebating the author 50c on the basis that they may not have made the great work without that incentive.
If you can value content above 1$ it's not unreasonable to take the position that the author deserves a rebate against their subscription. Having people pay to provide the site with revenue is a bit "off" unless the advertising revenue can be dismissed as "insignificant", but then has Instructables been running a big loss up until now?
Saying that the advertising revenue just doesn't do it anymore, does call for a new business-model. But if that requires paying-members, the site content is equally important (as a form of advertising / public-relations) but aimed at a slightly different market.


I see the logic there.

However, as Alfonso implies, that could badly damage the site's community - projects would be created purely to get views that would count as adverts being seen and revenue generated.

It would / could end up like Metacafe, where videos are posted purely to generate views, not because their content is in any way worthy.

Obviously, I'd prefer the site to have been able to remain free in both directions, but it would be very hard to maintain the overall quality of the projects if they become revenue-generators.

Oh! 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 sould 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.

I just had another thought!

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?

This is a great idea, but direct sales of an 'ible kind of violates the spirit of Creative Commons licensing, especially non-commercial distribution. Content on the site still represents the work and property of the authors (at least, according to the current Terms and Conditions). Monetization via advertising, subscription, and other indirect means work well with the free, open-source nature of instructibles since they are monetizing against the publishing platform and not the content itself. Google wouldn't be able to charge money for PDF copies of pages it crawls, right? If instructables were to sell the 'ibles directly, then we'd all get into a messy situation with revenue sharing between the site and the authors, and no one wants that, now do they? Or they'd have to rewrite the TOS to give them ownership of all submitted content, and no one would submit 'ibles anymore. I think that your idea of a free, stripped down version of the PDF is an excellent solution. Distribution of the content is still free (advertising based) but pro users reap the benefit of an advanced feature set. Or maybe have PDF downloads for free accounts limited to 1/day and unlimited for pro subscribers.

Yes, add a big disclamer that says "if you bought this on Ebay you were ripped-off, see here:" L

The whole site philosophy has become a bit blurry recently. If the site says "post & share your work here, it's fun and enriching. We'll let you do it for free because we can cover our overheads through advertising revenue." that is one thing. If the site says "we're in the red, post & share your work here, it's fun and enriching, but you need to send us a few $" it's a bit different. When you get into paying for things it's only sensible to consider other profit-making techniques. My original comment was "Cents-rebate on Featured Instructables" that is, if the Feature-team think something is worth featuring, they can think it's worth a 50c rebate to the author (against their next subscription). Projects are created in response to competitions and burning questions (a recent spate of bottle rockets?), these must be provoked in order to benefit the site as a whole, so what's wrong with a cash (rebate) incentive? L

I like the idea, but we don't want instructables turning into a "diy marketplace" where people get paid for posting their projects. That would ruin the site.

Cents-rebate on Featured Instructables. L

In his original broaching of the "Pro Accounts" plan, Eric was pretty specific that he did not want to do this. He didn't want these paid accounts to be a "reward", but rather to be of equal cost to every member of the community, new or old, prolific or not. Eric also made it clear that Staff would have to pay for the accounts just like everyone else.

I had not seen the announcement of the Pro Accounts. Still, the users who contribute to the site are the ones bringing in page views, and therefore advertising views/clicks.