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    Find A Grave

    The big genealogical news of late is the acquisition of Find A Grave by Ancestry.com.  A significant percentage of the people who are talking about this seem to fear that Ancestry.com plans to eventually make Find A Grave part of their pay-to-play site (not likely).  A much smaller contingent remembers the glory days of Rootsweb  and think Find A Grave, too, will be similarly gutted (again, I don’t think so).

    Though the “poor, dedicated Jim Tipton” myth continues to circulate, the fact is that Find A Grave generated enough advertising revenue to allow him to quit his day job.  So there’s no reason for Ancestry.com to charge for the site and every reason for them to continue to develop it, though most of the ads will probably now be for Ancestry.com’s products and services.

    The deal was negotiated for months — though not specifically stated, it was obvious from a FAG terms of service update months ago that this was in the works.  So Jim had plenty of time to think about how he was going to handle the outcry when it became official and he would be able to talk about it.  His forum post was quite long and detailed and I read it several times.  But one thing I did not see was a thank you to all the volunteers who made his site marketable and his nice retirement possible.  (The terms of the acquisition, and the dollars involved, last I checked, have not been released.  Which tells me the money is significant.  If Jim only made $1,000 off the deal, I’m sure he’d be happy to share that info.)

    I’ve been mullificating this for almost a month now, and — if you haven’t figured it out already — I’m still pissed.  My take on the whole thing is not in step, apparently, with the majority.  But I’m not alone, either.

    It’s one thing for Tipton to sell his own work.  It’s quite another to profit from the work of the huge team of volunteers he managed to recruit.  If Tipton had been doing all of the FAG work himself, the site wouldn’t have even been a blip on Ancestry’s radar.

    My friend Kelly and I disagree on so many things, sometimes I wonder why she even hangs out with me.  She’s a flaming liberal, for one.  😀  And, not surprisingly, we disagree on the FAG issue as well.  And after I made my feelings known to her, the subject has never come up again.  Of course, we’re both so busy, we don’t have time to just dish the dirt anymore.  So it’s not like politics and religion — taboo territory.  It probably just never rises to the top.

    So she and the NWMO Genealogical Society continue to create memorials and attach pictures to them.

    Me?  No.  And despite FAGs offer to remove member’s photos from the servers and backups on request, I have yet to talk to anyone who has asked for this that has actually found it was done.  Is it possible they’re so inundated with requests they can’t keep up?  Some have suggested they’re busy backing everything up first — but I’m sure that was done long before the deal was signed, sealed and delivered.  Don’t forget, Ancestry’s been using FAGs photographs for quite awhile now.

    And, finally, the prediction that FAG will now fail for lack of volunteers is ludicrous.  Judging from the increased number of SACs I get in my email, business is booming.  I don’t know why anyone would be surprised that the majority of FAG contributors do so for “the right reason” — whatever that is — and are happy to work for Ancestry for free.

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