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Pro Instructables Accounts Answered

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.

Discussions

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ewilhelm

9 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.

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Bluegrassfan

3 years ago

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.

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smallfrys

8 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).

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MelPhlegsmallfrys

Reply 3 years ago

"...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>

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BrooklyntoniaMelPhleg

Reply 3 years ago

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

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Algagsmallfrys

Reply 7 years ago

How many people in third world countries have regular access to the internet?

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smallfrysAlgag

Reply 7 years ago

http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

Lots.

Good necro btw. Comment notification saved you ftw though.

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MelPhleg

3 years 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.

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Goodhart

6 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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Skymeat

6 years ago

Are pro memberships paid only? Do free members that contribute quality information get paid status?

I just tried writing my first complete instructable and it was a bear. I kept getting messages that a paid membership would make it easier. After publishing and adding to the content of the site will I be able to use other features to make better guides, or do I have to shell out 40$ for a two year membership?

Other sites that I contribute to in a meaningful way (weatherunderground for example) take my time and data and convert that into a paid account.

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ewilhelmSkymeat

Reply 6 years ago

If you Instructable is featured, we send you a free pro membership.

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canucksgirlSkymeat

Reply 6 years ago

There are many Pro Members (including myself), who earned their Pro Membership by publishing "feature worthy" Instructables. So yes, Instructables DOES reward members who contribute their time and effort to this community. It's just not done based on your time surfing the site.

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dzawrotny

6 years ago

My pro membership expired on 4/21/12 and my next automatic payment is not until 4/23/12. I've been a pro auto renewing member since last October. What can be done so I'm not locked out 3 days a month?

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diy_bloke

6 years ago

Though I understand everyones need to make some money and appreciate the time people put into instructables, economic hardship comes to all of us and frankly I do not see enough benefits for the 'Pro' membership:
-Share instructables wit only a few people: why on earth would anybody want to do that, if you take the trouble to share an instructable in the first place. Do Non-pro users get the opportunity to restrict their ibbles from being seen by the Pro-users?
-Patches: Never felt the need to create send or receive those. Not even sure what is meant with it
-Fewer Advertisements: Adblock takes care of that
-Pro User Forum: Would there be some secret 'solve it all' information revealed?
-PDF version: I hardly ever have need for those, though sometimes they are handy. Usually I use the standard options and never had the need to change those
-View al steps on one page: Hmm, that just means more scrolling, not getting any extra info
-No captcha. Never realized I had to use these now. Captcha's are usually a nuisance and if non pro members would have to use those it would probably just keep me from sending private messages
-A Pro badge on my user icon: Yeah that makes it all worth, to rub it in to the others that they are poor slobs that should sit in the back of the buss

Again, I enjoy the website, but I don't think I would pay 24-48 dollars a year to have access to some special features, especially not if I had to go through the hassle of getting a paypal account. Besides, it is us, the users who fill instructables with content.

Also: Much, much of the info in instructables is available elsewhere (though maybe not so organized) and.... speaking of 'fewer advertisements' more and more ibbles are actually advertisemens: some one telling you how to put a commercially available kit together

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butch123

6 years ago

i cant use paypal service, if i want to be a pro member what other options for payment are there?

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bree.jay

7 years ago

All I will say is: the amount of money actually LEARNING how to do/make things from this site is worth the very reasonable amount they are asking for - and I am definitely not rich...

And I have actually never paid for an online service like this - Instructables is the first website I've found to be worth every penny.

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rchhh3

7 years ago

I just signed up for the pro account on my laptop but it will not let me log in on my ipad. Jjust wondering whats up

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Kitemanrchhh3

Reply 7 years ago

Give the system a little while to update its database.

If the problem persists, report it as a Bug.

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ffsmanKiteman

Reply 7 years ago

Uhm.. Hello
can you get me a pdf
https://www.instructables.com/id/Quadrotor/
thanks before

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Batness

7 years ago

New question, sorta related!

I apparently had something akin to a "grandfathered" account here on Instructables. So even though I wasn't a Pro member, I could view all steps, add to favorites, download pdf (other than my own), etc etc.

I was gifted a one year pro membership, which I activated, but now I have the concern that if the membership expires, I'll lose all the abilities I had before.

Will my "extra" features be removed if/when my pro membership expires? I already tried asking the person who sent the pro account code, but it's been over two weeks and I haven't heard back.

Thanks for any assistance!

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Lithium RainBatness

Reply 7 years ago

pssssst: IIRC that was a bug. You, ah, just lost the "bonus" abilities. :D

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BatnessLithium Rain

Reply 7 years ago

WHAT it was a BUG?! I've had that account for YEARS and it's been doing that pretty much since the beginning!

Not that I don't HOPE to renew my Pro account, but I am currently a poor college grad so. :(

Is there any way to find this out for sure?

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eNGame

7 years ago

Is a PRO account available without the PRO badge being attached to the subscribers avatar?
I feel in my case that having a PRO badge would be something akin to buying a $5 Phd in brain surgery from a backstreet vendor in Bangkok.
Thanks.

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Lithium Rain

7 years ago

Haha, yes, do you not know how you became PRO?

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cosmingurau

7 years ago

It's funny that all of the people complaining and standing by their opinions against the PRO account HAVE PRO accounts. It's kind of lame. Sure, you really use this site I guess. I used to love it too... Ah, well... A donation system would have been far more appropriate. BTW, do the hardworking people who actually MAKE the instructables get paid for doing so?

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Lithium Raincosmingurau

Reply 7 years ago

Nobody gets paid anything to make instructables. As for your complaint that "all the people who complain about PRO have PRO!", a few things:

A) That's not true. Lots and lots of anti-PRO people never bought PRO.
B) Some of those who do have PRO got it for free through a contest/featured instructable/gift.
C) People aren't allowed to change their minds?
D) What does that have to do with their argument? I can think it's stupid for a service I use to change, and still adopt the change. There's not necessarily a conflict there.

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kelseymhcosmingurau

Reply 7 years ago

Instructables is a for-profit company (legally, even if not necessarily in fact), incorporated in California. It is illegal for them to solicit or to accept "donations." If it makes you feel better, consider the price of a paid account a "donation." After all, you're giving them money so that they don't shut down permanently.

It's funny to me that you make assertions without any factual knowledge to back them up.

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NostalgicStone

8 years ago

 I have absolutely no issue whatsoever with this "Pro" business. I had a free account for a couple months,and used many of the electronics guides as well as computer guides. This is a truly amazing and unique site that deserves my support 100% 

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JohnJY

8 years ago

 Ewilhelm, 

 Although the idea of creating a Pro account would be an excellent idea to keep Instructables afloat, in a 'nervous' society,(as in, please, for the love of God don't go bankrupt), I do feel that taking away items in normal accounts, is just a bad idea in general. For example, a Pro account gets less adds, patches, even more text options, maybe some other goods and what not, but taking away options is not fun. I miss the freedom to choose to type really small, and other things take from accounts. If I were you, I'd create a way so Pro members can enter a contest non-paying members can't, or have Pro accounts set with cool doodads. Plus, most members would sign up anyway simple to support Instructables, something I plan on doing to. I hope you take my thoughts into consideration. 

Signed,
94       

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lemonieJohnJY

Reply 8 years ago

This should have happened to you last year, has it only just affected you?

L

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JohnJYlemonie

Reply 8 years ago

 No, it's just I didn't realize there was a form about it, I'm slow on the update.  

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JohnJYJohnJY

Reply 8 years ago

 I just heard of this new band coming up, the B...ugs or something.I don't like them, but I think they'll be big. 

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KitemanJohnJY

Reply 8 years ago

94,

This is really a dead topic.

All you are missing is a bit of formatting jiggery-pokery.  You still have full access to all the core content of the site, for free.


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JohnJYKiteman

Reply 8 years ago

Ah, well let me guess, it's either because it's been open for so long, or "trolls"?
Aside from that, I am very happy the site is still open for free, and don't feel to heavily with Pro vs non-paying members, so it doesn't really matter too much, but I still don't like when formatting jiggery-pokery is taken away. Oh, well. Just about time to get a pro membership anyway.

Ok, Kiteman, could you answer my question, how was I able to subscribe to my self?(Sorry for the randomness.)     

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KitemanJohnJY

Reply 8 years ago

It's not exactly a "bug" - it means, well, as far as I can tell there are no positive or negative aspects to subscribing to yourself.

Oh, yes - you know when to expect comments on your work.  When you get an email to tell you that you have published something (like a forum topic or an ible), then you know that all your subscribers have received the same email at the same time, and will be rushing to have a look...


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JohnJYKiteman

Reply 8 years ago

 Yeah, just one problem, I don't have subscribers. The scenario you introduced would work with you, but I have only two subscribes, one of which is me...   

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KitemanJohnJY

Reply 8 years ago

Solution: start producing decent projects that make people want to keep an eye on your output.

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JohnJYKiteman

Reply 8 years ago

 I'm building a work space, and FINAL have decent tools and works, now money is still an issue. 

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JohnJYJohnJY

Reply 8 years ago

 I thought this Instructable was good, a bit short though: Link. 

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JohnJYJohnJY

Reply 8 years ago

 *taken(first sentence.) 
*taken (Third sentence) 
*too(Second to last sentence) 
Ps. An editing option would be great, so I could of fixed those idiotic mistakes...

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lordhazzard

9 years ago

As soon as all the features i currently have get taken away, ill close my account and leave. There are many teenagers on instructables who just cant pay for a membership.There are many other ways of generating money, but this is a truly bad idea.

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Kryptonitelordhazzard

Reply 8 years ago

I'm a teenager and I'm not complaining. To me they're quite trivial things they're taking away and I don't mind it much at all.

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stienman

9 years ago

Sigh...

Well this is terribly disappointing. Reminds me of CDDB - get a lot of community generated content, then start charging for basic features.

Taking away existing, and arguably fundamental, features and putting them behind a for-pay wall is shortsighted at best, and bait-and-switch at worst.

Tell me what mechanism you now provide for people to print out instructables? None! One has to go to each step, print it out with a ton of headers, sidebars, comments, footers, etc. What a waste of time, paper, ink, etc, not to mention that the resulting printout is horribly difficult to use due to the site layout not being suitable for printing (go ahead and try the exercise, then laugh, then weep).

I get it, Instructables is a FOR PROFIT service, but the reality is that the advertising is horrible - and no wonder, you've spent all your time and employees on "Community building" and "Marketing."

The reason for failure?

THESE ARE NOT PROFIT BUILDING TECHNIQUES. Yes, getting eyeballs and contributors is important, but honestly! Adsense? Are you kidding me? That's the best you could come up with for advertising on each instructables page? Maybe a few larger sponsers?

So you now find yourself in the position where you feel the best solution is to penalize your content producers because their content isn't making you enough money to keep your "community managers" and "marketing" professionals in the black.

Fantastic. You fail, we pay.

Instructables has (or had) the power to become game changing on the internet in terms of hobbyists, and it has the content, users, and contributors to back that kind of change. But it appears a path of milking the content producers and users and stagnation has been chosen.

Take a page from Stackoverflow. Make the community self managing, and decrease the expense of the community managers. Hire an advertising specialist (or service) and put real power in their hands to bring good, high quality advertising to the site (including decent placement), rather than putting a single page up and hoping the advertisers come to you. There are a number of techniques you can use to attract not just the big advertisers, but attract and manage thousands of smaller niche advertisers who would target specific instructables, or subsets of instructables. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of good Instructable users who would do nearly all the community management functions needed for free. I know it's hard to let people go in such a tight knit company, but if you truly want instructables to become what it can be, you have to stop hiring people to manage the site when it could well manage itself. Either way, whoever is managing your current advertising is full of fail, or is not truly interested in making your site self-sustaining.

46 million pages views per month.

4 million uniques/mo

25k+ instructables

A diverse, well educated, well paid, gadget, tech friendly, and vibrant community of regulars.

And the person managing your advertising can't bring in the $75k per month your overloaded staff requires?This is the very definition of bungling.

But the path of least resistance, of course, is to turn to the people who made Instructables successful in the first place and say, "Thanks for everything you've already done, now pay up," and hobbling people coming from google from being able to use the content by restricting such a fundamental, necessary feature - being able to print out a clear set of usable instructions to take to the garage.

/facepalm

-Adam

YOU_ARE_DOING_IT_WRONG.gif
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memyselfand1bylerfamily

Reply 9 years ago

As do I. I joined this site because you could find out how to do totally random stuff, print out instructions and then go ahead. And it was free. Start charging and a fair few members may go missing.

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Kitemanmemyselfand1

Reply 9 years ago

  • It's still free to join.
  • It's still free to browse.
  • It's still free to print (you just have to print the web page or spend a few minutes' with the copy-and-paste functions)

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longshotskillzKiteman

Reply 8 years ago

And it's worth $20 bucks to you to skip that? Plus we have to do it one step at a time.