09 January 2012

23andMe plans service changes for genealogy

23andMe co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki says "I sincerely apologize" to genetic genealogists who have protested company plans to change terms of service.

For quite a while 23andMe took genetic genealogy as an afterthought, second fiddle to the health targeted service that motivated the company's formation. The company was for a while the most affordable option for autosomal DNA analysis, and likely quite surprised at the interest from the genealogy community. Now genealogy is seemingly a substantial enough part of the company clientele to be meaningful to their bottom line, one that don't want to alienate.

You can read the blog posting here. The good news is "Over the next six months 23andMe is putting substantial resources into Ancestry." Also "We will be engaging with leaders from the ancestry community to do our best to create products that meet your needs. CeCe Moore will be leading this initiative with us and we will look to engage many more of you."

The not so good news is that, unlike FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe seems set on requiring a continuing subscription in order to benefit from matches with data from newly analysed customers. I hope the company closely examines the market, and considers whether it should further distinguish its health service, which surely gobbles up a lot of its resources, from its ancestry service. 23andMe should consider the free/subscription service model of lostcousins.com where, normally, only subscription paying customers can initiate a contact to a "cousin".

No comments: