Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Seriously Ancestry? I'm not buying this answer

Randy Seaver has posted "Where Did 567 Databases n Go? An Answer" in his blog Genea-Musings this afternoon. He received the following response from Kristie Wells on a public Facebook page:
"Randy, we run regular maintenance on our collections and the databases that were removed were really old, low use records that were in a format that is not currently supported. Much of this data is also available in other collections. 
"We are not able to provide more details, but as you know we add a lot of content each week and regular maintenance has to be done. This one just happened to be a large batch."

 Ol, Myrt here isn't afraid to say I consider this a bad business practice.
  1. Why is "info being duplicated in other Ancestry database" to begin with? Explain. Please, just tell us.
  2. When people make decisions about purchasing a product or service, they want to know what they are getting. Every year when we select our health care insurance package, we check to see what's changed before making a decision to go forward with one plan or another.
  3. "Little used databases" don't cost Ancestry much to maintain and, as an added benefit, keep the number of databases high. That's like Hillsborough County Florida deciding to throw out pre-1800 marriage records because they are outdated and fragile. Thank-heavens someone stepped in, namely Thomas Jay Kemp, the then Special Collections Librarian at the University of South Florida and his trusty band of student indexing volunteers.
  4. Sure, technology marches on. As new methods for presenting content via web on computers or mobile devices, surely a big company like Ancestry has the ability to transfer data to a newer file format when necessary.
  5. What if Ancestry removes the one "little used database" that provides an answer to a member? With 567 databases removed, certainly more than one opportunity is lost.
  6. You've already got a band of frustrated end-users, Ancestry. Why give them more to get upset about?

Me thinks isn't playing fair. If were number two, perhaps they'd "try harder"(1) to be up front with their end users. If contracts expire, just tell us. If new contracts preclude including images, just tell us.

Just tell us.

We can handle it.

(1) Avis (Car Rental company) explains "In the early sixties, Avis launched the slogan "We try harder", positioning ourselves as the world's number two car rental company. Or rather the car rental company that must constantly prove itself to be as good as the No. 1, again and again. This idea has now become the core of our company philosophy, even though Avis has long since become a market leader in Europe." Source:,we_try_harder : accessed 7 Oct 2015.

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

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