Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ancestry's plan seems to be working

Last week I posted traffic data from http://www.alexa.com/ about the change in Reach, Rank and Page Views between Ancestry and Rootsweb a few days after the domain name for the Rootsweb main page changed to http://rootsweb.ancestry.com/.

I checked again today to see how the traffic had changed over the past week. The changes are dramatic.

Here is Reach (daily unique visitors per million Internet users)

The Rank (among all web sites) -

The Page Views (per million Internet users)

It appears that in the last week (from Sunday 3/23 to Saturday 3/29), the Ancestry Reach has increased from about about 245 to about 370 (a 51% increase) while the Rootsweb Reach has decreased from about 215 to about 100 (a 54% decrease).

The Page Views have increased for Ancestry from about 36.5 to 39.5 (an 8% increase) while Rootsweb's have decreased from about 8.5 down to 6.5 (an 24% decrease).

Ancestry's Rank has improved from about 2,900 to 2,500, while Rootsweb has decreased from about 6,900 to 11,500.

My conclusion is that "the plan to increase Ancestry's traffic at the expense of Rootsweb is working!"

I found the breakdown of Ancestry's sub-domain's interesting (probably over the last three months, although it doesn't say):

* search.ancestry.com - 40%
* trees.ancestry.com - 29%
* ancestry.com - 15%
* content.ancestry.com - 8%
* boards.ancestry.com - 3%
* secure.ancestry.com - 1%
* awtc.ancestry.com - 1%
* awt.ancestry.com - 1%
* Other websites - 2%

Before this announcement, the Message Boards were accessible with either the Ancestry or Rootsweb domains, and the Rootsweb WorldConnect database was available from both Ancestry (awt. and awtc.) and Rootsweb (wc.rootsweb.com).

When I checked the Rootsweb pages late last week on 3/28, the following had been transferred to the Ancestry domain:

* Main page

* Databases (SSDI, CA DI, KY DI, ME DI, TX DI)

* Websites

* Freepages

* Books We Own

* US GenWeb Archives

* Obituary Daily Times.

The decrease in Rootsweb reach and increase in Ancestry Reach is now evident - they moved some of the "heavy hitters" first - the SSDI and death databases, USGenWeb Archives, the web sites and free pages. The other big databases are probably WorldConnect, the message boards and the mailing list archives. I look for them to migrate shortly. Those are probably the hardest to move since they are fairly dynamic - many users and additions each day - and may result in disruption of service when they do migrate.

Why didn't the page views change as much as the Reach? Probably because people looked at relatively few pages on the sub-domains that moved. People who work in the SSDI may do only 2 or 3 searches and move away. But they visited Ancestry. I expect that when the WorldConnect pages move that the Reach and Page Views will increase significantly on Ancestry and decrease significantly on Rootsweb.

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