26 February 2015

Ancestry Tech

There has been so much I've wanted to write about that my brain just froze up and I haven't written in weeks. Sorry about that. So here I go trying to kick things into gear again.
Earlier this month The Ancestry Insider wrote an interesting summary of a presentation given by Ancestry.com at the RootsTech Innovator's Summit. You can read that post here. Three things stood out to me.

1) They "noticed that new users came to Ancestry.com and typed in their own names, then left when they found nothing." Tech Department meet Marketing Department.

You two might want to chat occasionally.

2) It's pretty standard to use stats to tout the site...

...but the numbers are not all that impressive once you take a look behind the curtain. The 60 million trees include junk trees and trees created users who click, click, click and are never heard from again once their free trial is over. A single tree back to Adam & Eve requires hundreds of unsourced, completely made up profiles. Hints accepted include clip art (ships, flags, coats of arms, etc.), images of fruit, urinals, and who knows what else. Urinals? Seriously? Even the number of records attached is worthless because it includes these collections, redundant Find A Grave collections, and tree owners who will attach absolutely anything and everything.

3) Of course I saved the best for last. This is the next to last paragraph:
"In the question and answer segment, someone asked that if Ancestry.com was so interested in learning from their customers, why wasn’t there a feedback link somewhere on their site. They explained that Ancestry.com has millions of customer interactions and that if they had a feedback link, they would not be able to review all the submissions. It’s a bad idea to ask for input and that you don’t actually read."
If they don't want feedback it's a good thing there's no feedback link on their site. Oh wait...

The screen cap is from this page which can be found by 
going to Ancestry.com and clicking the "Collaborate" tab.

Ancestry's answer confirms two things about their tech team that we knew all along. First, they don't read the feedback and second, they don't use the site.

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  1. Do they also not still have one of the boards for issues, etc for Ancestry? Not that they ever did anything but say they were working on it - for years over and over again...

    What I do not understand is why they waste so much time and money "traveling" to places and watching group sessions and spying on users when they have had for years a pretty vocal group of heavy duty users that have stayed loyal through all of Ancestry's crap. These loyal users are the ones that could help them the most if they would just listen to them. Instead they follow what ever tweenie has thought it "really awesome" to find their ancestors "all the way back to Charlemagne in just one week!" These people are not real users and can NOT tell them where the REAL issue in the site are.

    They have been told for years by those that USE the search feature that it is buggy and horrible.
    They have been asked for years to make it so one can change the order of uploaded images.
    They have been asked for years to make it so images can be tagged and searched within you OWN tree.
    They shaky leaves are still shaky and annoying - same ones over and over even when you have repeatedly turned them down, they seem to often to have no rhyme or reason to the individual they are shacking at, often times they are repeats of the same records that are already saved to the tree for that individual.
    And do NOT get me started with all the issues using Family Tree Maker with the Ancestry site!
    And the list goes on.
    Why do they not listen to THESE users??
    I can only assume that it would mean that they would no longer get to travel on the company dime as much as they do and that it would actually mean they would have to do some actual WORK.

    I have been using Ancestry for over 15 years now. I first used Generations software and then was forced into FTM when they bought the other out and killed it. I started when I actually had to go TO the US archives to search for census records. So I have been around just a bit and have seen their growth and "concern". Ancestry has always seemed to be only concerned with the new people and not the loyal. Most likely because they do not fear losing those of us that have been around awhile.

  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVwHzcjdzbs

    1. I'm not sure why you're commenting with a link to the video that's embedded in the post. ???

    2. Did you watch it??? It's a different version of the commercial. The "simply type in your name" fantasy is even more prominent.