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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Why Genealogy Websites Cannot be Free #georgiapioneers #genealogy


Why Genealogy Websites Cannot be Free

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Recently, after boosting an ad on FB, an unlikely subscriber posted  "I think that genealogy websites should be free. "

The idea that genealogy should be free is absurb.  As one who has traced families for over fifty years, I have to tell you that acquiring information is not free.  The expense of the acquisition of microfilm, microfilm equipment, photo copies, software programs, internet costs,  travel and research gobbles up savings, vacations and family time. 
In years past, after a full work somewhere else every day, I would spent all of my extra time gathering information. The results were rewarding, because many issues of the family histories were resolved, however, my filing cabinets were packed full of old wills, estates and the like.  I tried to solve the problem by publishing as many books as possible to preserve the data.  Publishing is also costly. There is no profit in it for the genealogists and there is no way of recovering the cost of acquiring all of the data.  That is why genealogists expound that research is a "labor of love" (added by me -- and a lot of money!).

When the internet came along, I found another method of publishing the data, but again, at a great cost.  Nothing is free in this world.   No one came along and donated a bunch of money to help me put this project on the internet. 

Although I would love to offer my genealogy data for free, in addition to the unrecoverable cost of years of research, it simply costs too much to maintain a safe and active website.  The internet has its security issues.  Hacking is common.  As the internet providers work to main website security, this is another growing cost to the genealogy website.  As of now, acquiring an SSL certificate for all websites is the standard.  No doubt you have noticed the new addition of https.  However, this new change did not come cheap either, especially for labor costs in changing every page.  Georgia Pioneers manually changed some 700,000 pages.   Meanwhile, as Google required the SSL certificate, the position of Georgia Pioneers dropped lower in its ranking.

The social media boom attracted small-business entrepreneurs.  And its organic reach has been helpful in many respects.  However, as companies grow too large, the door opens to greed and theft. The recent Facebook scandal resulted in extremely poor organic reach for our Georgia Pioneers pages.  This means that in order to have articles delivered to a database which took years to construct, more advertising money goes to FB.   That is their purpose, isn't it?

Thus, my answer to the complaint.  "It ain't gonna happen, lady!"

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