Fold3 – Genealogy for Profit Website & Ancestry.com SUBSCRPTIONS

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

OP-ED PIECE

This is Stanczyk’s first opinion piece. I hope it inspires comments and opinions in you my fine Internet Technorati. It would be nice if FOLD3 or ANCESTRY reads this article and comments/responds. If you do not want to read opinion then you are done for the day, loyal reader.

Fold3 used to be Footnote.com.  Stanczyk had used Footnote while it was Footnote. We appreciated the Historical documents and especially liked:

  • Naturalizations
  • City Directories
  • Newspapers

These were valuable resources on top of all the historical/genealogical material they had accumulated from the National Archives (NARA). I liked how they integrated users and their material and how users could ‘Annotate’ Historical documents and link them to their own documents which could be uploaded to Footnote. This was helpful for Genealogy and for History too.

So when Ancestry.com bought Footnote, we had a cautious optimism and hope that this research material would be folded into Ancestry.com’s own valuable databases.

Here’s what happened …

Ancestry.com renamed Footnote.com to Fold3. Ok that was lame and really not useful for newbies. What is Fold3? It lacks broad meaning and is a poor branding.

They decided to focus on the military research material??? OK most of the NARA databases were military in nature (Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, etc.). Perhaps this heroic focus would be a good thing. But what about the other things?

Ancestry.com then proceeded to announce that they jettison City Directories and Historical Newspapers. Ok but that was a MAJOR reason to pay for Footnote/Fold3.

You now have to look under ‘Other‘ when browsing their collections. There you will still find Naturalizations and Passport Applications. Are these remaining … permanently? What else will be lost?

Ancestry.com now is a front-end search engine for some of Fold3′s databases. I do not like this. You pay for Ancestry. You buy their ‘DELUXE’ package to get access to everything and here are data that you cannot access without paying for??? Ancestry we already paid for EVERYTHING. Either give us access to the Fold3 (you own it) data in your search engines or remove this data!

Stanczyk used to index for Ancestry.com, but not any more. Ancestry has muddied the waters about what is Ancestry and what is included in DELUXE. It used to be everything. Now there seems to be a new class of data that is NOT a part of EVERYTHING. Why buy Footnote and NOT include it in Ancestry? Is it to “milk” two subscriptions from your customers? OK, then keep them separate: two companies, two websites and two well defined subscriptions with well defined databases.

I do not like this ‘hybrid” where EVERYTHING is NOT EVERYTHING. I do not like the shell game of what data is where and the implicit attempt to shuffle data and force customers to have two paid subscriptions this does NOT pass the smell test. OPTIMISM is now gone and replaced with DISTRUST for Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com needs to restore that DELUXE means EVERYTHING. If that means removing FOLD3 data, then remove FOLD3 data and do not mingle the two enterprises. This is causing ill will and losing Goodwill for Ancestry.com.

Buy FOOTNOTE if you must. Rename Footnote to FOLD3 if you must. Keep them as two subscription companies separate and distinct if you must. But this disintegration of FOLD3 (nee FOOTNOTE) and the subsequent pollution of Ancestry.com with this bait-and-switch mingling of Ancestry with Fold3 leaves your CUSTOMERS with a bad taste in their mouths. You have made GENEALOGY and HISTORY worse by buying FOOTNOTE, not better. The TOTAL VALUE is now less for FOLD3 than it was for FOOTNOTE and even ANCESTRY is diminished by these decisions.

Ancestry, what were you thinking?

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4 Comments to “Fold3 – Genealogy for Profit Website & Ancestry.com SUBSCRPTIONS”

  1. Thank you for validating everything I just sent off in an e-mail to Ancestry! I even used the phrase “shell game”! I am SO upset and feel SO betrayed by a company that I have loved and trusted for over a decade. I have been buying the World Deluxe subscription for 5 years now, but am seriously considering not doing that after it runs out. And I also contributed to the World Archives project.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that has a bad taste in their mouth from this.

    • Jolynn,
      Welcome to blog and thanks for writing. I think Ancestry.com can make this a positive. Here is how:

        Give Ancestry.com users free access to Fold3.com data that Ancestry shows in their indexes (at least for World Deluxe users)
        Give Fold3.com users free access to Ancestry military data (of course it needs to be in Fold3 indexes).

      At the least Ancestry needs to give free access to Immigration and City Directories in Fold3.com.

      Under no circumstance should Ancestry reduce the number of database or records in Ancestry.com!

  2. For Ancestry to charge its outrageous annual fees of $300± then reduce its service to spin off additional cost branches is downright immoral – gives Mormons and Ancestry a foul odor. Ancestry’s cost should reduce at least in proportion to its reduced service. As much as I like it, frankly I just won’t be able to afford it any more.

    ————
    Baronial,
    Thanks for writing to the blog. Welcome! My complaint is not quite what you mention. Mine is that Ancestry has purchased Fold3 (formerly Footnote) and includes Fold3 data in Ancestry indexes. I have the World Deluxe subscriptions which should give me full access and yet when I access something in the indexes and it is from FOLD3 I cannot see the image!??!

    Since I have that full access, I think that Ancestry should show me the image (or remove the item from their index). They now have recently added ‘Web Content’ and their indexes will take you off-site for these, that too would be ok, although I do NOT think that Ancestry should refer us to PAID genealogy websites.

    –Stanczyk

  3. I totally agree with everything that has been said. My biggest complain with ancestry is the cost of the deluxe package. $300 is a bit steep, especially for those of us that are on a fixed income and cannot afford such cost. I have been a member of Ancestry for 12 years but if the price continues to go up, I won’t be a member much longer. Thanks for your input.

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