12 October 2009

Genealogy webinars .. how much to pay?

Back in January 2008 I blogged on "What's good value for a genealogy conference" - http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/2008/01/whats-good-value-in-genealogy.html. At that time the cost per session at a conference was in the range of $8-16 per session - that's Canadian dollars. That ignores the opportunity cost - having a choice between parallel sessions - after all, you do only get to hear one presentation at a time - unless the walls between rooms are too thin!

So what should you pay to attend a webinar? Just so we're clear, paraphrasing the Wikipedia definition, a webinar is a type of web conference, typically one-way from the speaker to the audience, with limited audience interaction. It can be collaborative and include polling and question & answer sessions to allow participation between the audience and the presenter.

Would you pay $49.99 US for a webinar? That's the registration fee for a one hour webinar being offerred by Family Tree Magazine , the US version - www.familytreemagazine.com/, for a session at 7 p.m. EDT, October 21st on "Researching Your US Ancestors' Births, Marriages and Deaths Online."

Family Tree Magazine offers five previous webinars as recordings for the discounted price of $29.99 US. Naturally you don't get to ask questions or participate in any other real-time feedback.

Much more afford-ably, Ancestry is advertising a webinar "Best Strategies for Searching Ancestry.com", starting at 8 p.m EDT Wednesday, October 14, 2009. It's free, but you do need to register in advance.

You can undoubtedly expect a healthy dose of Ancestry spin along with the free education. Some people are seething mad at Ancestry`s new format of search. They prefer the old search forms, threaten to end their subscriptions if they are removed and asking that the old forms be returned as the default. I hope the moderator and presenters acknowledge these dissatisfied customers. I find the new search performs well, but you do need to modify your previous search strategies.

Ancestry have an archive of 10 past webinars, all free. Connect to these Ancestry offerings at http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Webinars.aspx

To be fair to Family Tree Magazine, they do offer a free monthly podcast. I could only access the September edition. Like the magazine it`s highly US-oriented.

Also on Family Tree Magazine, it is running a poll to find the top 40 blogs, and Anglo-Celtic Connections is nominated! It's in the highly competitive news blog category. With high-profile competition like: Olive Tree Genealogy, Megan's Roots World, GeneaNet Genealogy, About: Genealogy, Eastman's Online Genealogy Newslettter, DearMyrtle and The Ancestry Insider I doubt I`m jeopardizing a position in the top four by being critical of the cost of their webinars!

If you do want to vote you can do so, early and often, at http://www.familytreemagazine.com/article/40BestVoting

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