Thursday, November 29, 2012

First Look at Newspapers.com

DearREADERS,
Despite a straight-forward name like Newspapers.com, announced a few minutes ago by its parent organization Ancestry.com, several questions come to mind about this new US newspapers website. Most significantly, why would Ancestry spin off a newspaper collection when "newspapers" are a significant part of Ancestry.com's World Deluxe and other membership plans at Ancestry.com? Probable answer: More paying subscribers ($75US annual) and a different "doorway" for folks to find an Ancestry.com property.

Ol' Myrt pays for an $299 annual subscription at the "World" level, which includes both a US Newspaper and UK Newspaper collection.




Source  of screen shot above:
http://www.ancestry.com/subscribe/products/?p=world_deluxe


Access to only the US Newspaper collection at Ancestry.com would run $12.95 monthly or $155.40 annually. So Ancestry values its US Newspaper collection at nearly half the value of it's "World" access. 


Source  of screen shot above: http://www.ancestry.com/subscribe/products/?p=us_news&spotId=4&sub=32768

It would appear from the landing page description at the new Newspapers.com website that the collection is US newspapers, covering the 1700s-2000s (see screen shot below), and it is roughly the same as the description of the US Newspaper Collection at Ancestry.com (per screen shot above).


QUESTIONS REMAIN
Does this mean Ancestry is spinning out its US newspaper collection to the Newspapers.com website? Why would a "World" Ancestry.com subscriber pay an additional $79US for annual access to Newspapers.com? Why wouldn't a US Newspapers Collection subscriber at Ancestry.com jump ship in favor of a similar subscription at Newspapers.com. (Maybe because one could not then link a newspaper article to an ancestor's profile in an Ancestry.com Member Tree.)

ARE US NEWSPAPERS AT ANCESTRY.COM AND NEWSPAPERS.COM THE SAME THING?
It would appear so, though I'd like a line item comparison of the Ancestry.com newspaper collection titles with those at Newspapers.com. Me thinks the 1,000 titles listed at Ancestry.com may include 200 "web" searches, if this listing from the catalog is any indication. (See below.)



SUGGESTIONS
Scenario 1: If the newspapers collections are indeed the same, Ancestry.com should provide free access to its World and US Newspaper Collection subscribers at their new web property Newspapers.com. This affords us a different "skin" or "interface" with which to find ancestors. However, if the search algorithms are the same at both sites, it won't matter, but access would be nice for comparison purposes.

Scenario 2: If Ancestry.com wishes to promote Newspapers.com and will eventually funnel all additions to newspaper collections there, as it appears primed to do, and if Ancestry doesn't add to it's Ancestry.com US Newspaper collection, then our Ancestry.com subscriptions should be reduced by the cost of the annual Newspapers.com subscriptions so that we may subscribe there.

SIDE COMMENTS
I think it's all about the number of paid subscribers. If Ancestry.com can spin off parts and require membership, then it is the "owner" of more subscriber sites, even though many of those subscribers are duplicates. Why not just KISS and make it Ancestry.com period?

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
DearMYRTLE,
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