Thursday, 20 March 2008

Commercial genealogy leader presentations at BYU

The Ancestry Insider blog has a worthwhile post summarizing presentations by two leaders of US commercial genealogy database companies at the recent Brigham Young University Computerized Family History Conference.

I'll return to Paul Allen's presentation (that's Paul the lesser of World Vital Records) in an upcoming posting.

Tim Sullivan revealed that TGN (owner of Ancestry) advances genealogy "by spending lots of money", investing "over $100 million a year providing services and growing the number of people involved in genealogy." The company will spend "over $40 million in 2008 around the world trying to get more people involved in genealogy." That's four times the company annual expenditure on "acquiring, imaging and indexing content."

A comment posted on Ancestry Insider slams TGN for "too little focus on what the customer wants, and the prime focus on what the marketing staff wants to sell them instead."

It would be interesting to know how this expenditure on promotion compares with that in comparable web-based companies. Ancestry's advertising underwrites the costs of magazines, give-aways, and TV programs like the Canadian version of "Who Do You Think You Are?" That's not to mention the demonstration rooms at conferences and sponsorship of shows. Someone pays for those and it isn't a fairy godmother. We'd all like to see more money spent on providing more resources, and more accurate transcriptions. One way, some would say the only way, to achieve that is to grow the size of the market.

No comments: