16 January 2013

Advertising, Questionable Products, Terms of Use

I don't have enough time to do all the things I want and need to do. I don't need more sites that waste my time and money.

I frequently send out the URL for http://snopes.com/ to family and friends when I get e-mail messages about something that may or may not be a scam. Snopes is my go-to place for finding the truth on scams and such.

While reading the blog posts linked below, I thought, maybe we need some kind of evaluation site for genealogical product offerings, especially websites. Then I found a comment that mentioned ReviewOpedia which I have not seen before. A search there for genealogy brings up three website names, only one of which has been reviewed by two people. A search for family history brings up nine website names, but several are for vehicles and not family history. I'm not sure who is behind ReviewOpedia, but I'd sure like to see a site with trustworthy evaluations of genealogical websites and products that are not written by someone paid to review the offering. Is there one I am not aware of?

With all the articles about the billions of dollars being spent on genealogical research, there will be more and more questionable offerings. These will be difficult to evaluate, especially by someone who is new to genealogy. While a company's offerings may be useful to some, everyone should carefully read and evaluate the marketing claims and the terms of service. Read the blog posts linked below.

Randy Seaver's GeneaMusings blog often has evaluations of sites and products with his personal observations and experiences. Be sure to read Randy's additions to the blog post linked below after Thomas MacEntee read the Terms of Service of the site being discussed.

For bloggers who display ads, you may want to check out who you are advertising for. These new companies being formed will sign up to get their ads displayed through the same channels as companies we all use and respect.

Randy Seaver's post "UPDATED: Genealogist Beware - Checking Out Genealogy... "1 links to Christine Blythe's post "The Saga of Genealogy.... and Ancestor..."2 [domain name endings removed so no URLs will be seen by indexers]. When I went to read Christine's post there was an ad displayed for a different domain name owned by the same company discussed in her blog post.

Who are you advertising for?

1. Randy Seaver, "UPDATED: Genealogist Beware - Checking Out Genealogy...," GeneaMusings Blog, posted 14 January 2013 (http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/01/genealogist-beware-checking-out.html : accessed 16 January 2013).
2. Christine Blythe, "The Saga of Genealogy.... and Ancestor...," Empty Nest Genealogy Blog, posted 15 January 2013 (http://www.emptynestancestry.com/2013/01/15/the-saga-of-genealogy-us-org-and-ancestor-us-org/ : accessed 16 January 2013).

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Advertising, Questionable Products, Terms of Use," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 16 January 2013 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

16 January 2013: Corrected spelling of Christine's name and citations.

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. Debbie,

    Great post and something I have often wished for. Besides just explicit ads, I think commercial PR releases should also be scrutinized. Many blogs will publish any such PR release saying that they are merely reporting news and making no endorsement of their own, while at the same time sometimes editing/deleting negative comments about such releases.

    My own favorite hobby horse on this this topic are sites that offer digitized newspaper holdings. Most if not all are fairly deceptive in how they advertise their holdings. Typically a time range is given for a certain newspaper, but upon closer examination one finds only scattered issues clustered at the endpoints of that time period. Users not making such a close examination could be duped into a subscription that does not really have much of value to them.

    Such a review site would need detailed reviews not only for actual content (that is actually hosted by them and not merely linked to/indexed), but also such deceptive advertising practices and borderline unethical subscription practices (sticky auto-renew).

    Naturally any such project would attract unfair if not possibly libelous reviews, so perhaps a moderated wiki type of review site might be an option. Due to partnership arrangements between various commercial concerns and genealogy societies, it would need to be an independent site.