Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Pay What You Want" Business Model

UPDATED 18 April 2020

From here on in, Ol' Myrt will add what I used to call a "Pay what you want" notice to every blog post, unless it is an announcement from a vendor. I've altered it somewhat to read:

This DearMYRTLE Webinar is presented at no cost. If you find the information useful, consider the "Pay What You Want" business model Ol' Myrt employs. We use the donated funds to pay for our Zoom webinar membership, etc.

Why am I doing this?
Frankly, I don't want to perpetuate the myth that genealogy should be a cost-free endeavor. We should expect to pay for professional services. And I want to play nice with other virtual speakers in the genealogy space.

Years ago, I toyed with the possibility of providing archived versions of my online classes for a fee, but I didn't like the set up and high maintenance scenario including massive weekly snail mailings, refunds for downloads that didn't work, etc. In short, I want to focus on substantive online genealogy education, not product fulfillment.

We've observed the "virtual" classroom scenario is growing in the genealogy space. Some professionals actually prefer the online opportunities, effectively skipping the lost luggage, lost research and development time, and the seemingly ubiquitous overdue flights experienced by many a weary genealogy presenter. 

Someone has to pay the piper. As online classrooms proliferate, we cannot depend on big-name genealogy websites to provide the service without bias or cost. Every member of the community will realize we can't expect something for nothing.

Most of Ol' Myrt's "classes" are panel discussions with real-time feedback from the DearMYRTLE's followers. Cousin Russ makes sure everyone is included. And then there are my "very distant cousins" to consider, but I digress.

I'm going to take a middle of the road approach: 
  • DearMYRTLE's private, genealogy society virtual presentations will continue at the current rate, as these are custom-designed for each society in question.
  • There will be no change in the format or location of DearMYRTLE's calendared, live and archived public webinars and meetings. 
  • DearMYRTLE's public virtual presentations will continue to be available free, with the following change:
What's different? Every DearMYRTLE Webinar and Meeting will include the "Pay what you want" option, where you may specify what you'd like to contribute to the cause. This permits Ol' Myrt and Cousin Russ to:
  • Provide blogger beads, writing contest prizes, and challenge awards without digging into our own pockets.
  • Share complimentary gift card with intensive study group panelists, as a small token of our appreciation.
  • Continue to bring AmbushCAM short-subject interviews at the genealogy conferences we're able to attend. 
  • Undertake professional development.
So it's simple.

If you find the information useful, consider the "Pay What You Want" business model Ol' Myrt employs. We use the donated funds to pay for our Zoom webinar membership, etc.
Check the GeneaWebinars Calendar for exact dates of DearMYRTLE study groups and Hangouts on

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont


  1. DearMYRTLE,

    I know that this has been a struggle for a while. There are many behind the scenes activities that we do to "keep the show on the road". I also like the reasoning behind this change. Not everything is Online, nor is everything for free.

    The Blogger Beads are cool. How many times did any Genea-Blogger get asked, at RootTech2015, what those beads are about. We had our change to tell our story.

    The 3-2-1-Cite Challenge had a prize and I am sure that other prizes are in the works.

    It totally makes sense to me.

    Thank you for the thought process behind this "change" but a great approach.

    Cousin Russ

  2. Well I'm with you on this, though whether you'll make a fortune is doubtful I've been running the LAWS FAMILY REGISTER for 40 years and was a genealogist on my own account for another 10 and my meagre subscription
    rates and research rates were difficult to get - some folk will balk at even paying out pennies - Be easier to get blood out of a stone - C'mon you guys prove me wrong!

  3. I encourage you in your efforts. I wish I could afford what you both are worth in time, energy and dollars. I equate what you do, to what a mother should be paid for the jobs she does ($118,908.) Obviously it is a labor of love. I will donate gladly. I just wish I could pay what you both are truly worth.

  4. How will he mechanics of this work for international participants? I presume that one particular secure payment method has already been selected. I have experienced past difficulties moving money between UK & US before so I just thought I would ask.

    1. Dear Tony,
      To my knowledge, PayPal can handle international payments. There is also the possibility of using a variety of credit cards through PayPal. The exchange rate is automatically calculated.
      Myrt :)