Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Comments on Acquisition by

As many readers know, announced the acquisition of today for about $100 million.  See the press release at

I was away giving a presentation, and then attending the Chula Vista Genealogical Society program meeting this afternoon, so I was surprised when I got home by the announcement.  Fortunately, I got home in time to participate in a geneablogger telephone call with Tim Sullivan (CEO of and Joe Godfrey ( management).

Some of the things I think I heard on the telephone call:

*  Tim Sullivan noted that provides a different product set, different features, and a different user experience than

*  Tim noted that would be a separate entity within, similar to Fold3 and

*  Joe Goddard said that would continue to make family history simple and affordable.

*  Tim said that the acquisition is subject to anti-trust provisions, and the two operations will be separate for some period of time until they get approval.

*  Joe noted that about 40 employees would be part of the Ancestry team after the acquisition, and that they would try to keep the team together.  Inflection would keep the other entities (like PeopleSmart and

*  Tim said this was an important product to invest in and to improve over time.

*  Tim said Ancestry has tremendous respect for the way Archives has partnered with the 1940 census project and other projects.

*  Joe said that there will be no change to the 1940 Census indexing project, and that the project index will be separate from the Ancestry index.

*  Tim said that the acquisition was not intended to shut down a competitor, but a way to improve their company.

*Tim said that there are some technology features on that Ancestry could use.  He said their intent is to not mess up what has, figure out how to leverage Archives technology to help Ancestry, and to use the technology and human capital to make all of Ancestry entities better.

*  The question was asked about the status of, another Ancestry entity that has not been improved for several years.  Tim said that they have not optimized this site, and that it's hard to improve the dated technology in the platform without starting over.  He asked for suggestions as to what Ancestry should put onto the platform.  Thomas MacEntee suggested making it the education center for Ancestry.  After the call, I thought that moving all of to (mailing lists, message boards, user sites, some databases, etc.) makes a lot of sense - it gets it out from under the Ancestry URL umbrella also.

This was an interesting discussion, and I appreciate being included by the and team.  If I misinterpreted any of the above, I will be happy to correct my statements.

Disclosure:  I currently have paid subscriptions to both and, but I have accepted subscriptions, travel expenses and gifts from both companies over the years.  Those items have not influenced my objectivity as far as I can tell.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Daniel said...

Excellent synopsis (and quick!) thank you. One note: It's Joe Godfrey from Archives

Carol Kostakos Petranek said...

Thanks so much for the update, Randy.

Your Genetic Genealogist said...

Nice coverage, Randy. I was on the call too, but having some technical issues, so thank you for filling me in on what I missed. Did they mention the DNA schedule at all? I was listening for that and didn't hear anything.