Tuesday, July 24, 2012

FindMyPast.com Debuts - A Pretty Good Deal

FindMyPast.com has made its existence in the United States known in a press release - see British “David” Takes On Billion-Dollar U.S. “Goliath” For Share of U.S.’s Growing Online Genealogy Market.  A second press release highlights the "Pioneer Offer" - see FindMyPast.com Launch Offers Big Bargain on Global Records to First Subscribers.

The second press release notes:

"This introductory price point will give access to not just a wealth of US census and vital records but also a vast overseas collection. The latter includes almost 1,000 unique British, Irish and Australian record collections, some of which contain up to 30 million records in a single collection. Findmypast.com is offering a limited number of these introductory-rate subscriptions on a 'first come, first served' basis."

Here is the home page for www.FindMyPast.com

I was curious about the different membership levels, so I clicked on the "Pioneer Offer" link at the top right of the page.  It says"Limited time only" in real small print.  Here is the page with the prices:

Registered users can pay for either a one-time subscription (one-year, six months, one month) or for 100 credits over a 90 day period.

The "World Subscription" prices for the "Pioneer Offer"are:

*  $4.95 per month (total $59.40 ?) for a one year subscription vs. normal price of $20.83 (total $249.95)
*  $20.83 per month (total $124.98) for a six month subscription vs. normal price of $23.33 (total $139.98)
*  $23.96 per month for a one month subscription, vs. normal price of $29.95 (one month).

The "U.S. Subscription" prices for the"Pioneer Offer"are:

*  $4.17 per month (total $50.04) for a one year subscription vs. normal price of $8.33 (total $150)
*  $5.25 per month (total $31.50) for a six month subscription vs. normal price of $10.49 (total $62.94)
*  $9.48 per month for a one month subscription vs. normal price of $18.95 (one month).

The incentive is to sign up for the "World Subscription" if one has an interest in the records for England, Ireland and Australasia!  I'm surprised by the 6 month subscription rate for the World.  I would have thought that it would have been slightly below the total for the 12 month subscription with the discount.  The six month and one month subscriptions quoted above make no sense to me for someone interested in the World Collection.

The rates for the US collection are pretty sensible - but they reflect the lack of U.S. record collections currently available on FindMyPast.com (which are essentially U.S. census records).

I was interested in how the credits system costs and how it works.  This is essentially a pay-as-you-go system.  You can buy 100 credits for $13.95, which are valid for 90 days.  It is unclear to me if that is the "normal price" or a "discount price" for Pioneer  Offer takers.

I clicked on the link for "Credits Explained" and a window opened with the schedule of pay-as-you-go credits:

For the U.S. census records, (1790-1840), the user can see the transcription for free. For the 1850-1880 and 1900-1930 U.S. census records, the user has to spend 5 credits to see the transcription and another 5 credits to see the census image.  For the 1940 census, the transcriptions and images are free to view.  That's complicated!

If a user had was searching for census records in the 1850 to 1930 time frame, and guessed the right match on every search, they would be able to see only 13 record images before they had to pay again.

I was surprised to see that some of the English records cost so much on the pay-as-you-go.  for instance, the 1911 England census costs 10 credits for the transcription and 30 credits for the page image.  

I fail to see why anyone would use pay-as-you-go for English records on FindMyPast.com!!

I think that I had a FindMyPast.co.uk registration, and put in the likely email address I used to register, and the possible passwords, but my sign in bounced.  So I requested the password be sent via email at 11 a.m. this morning, but I have not received it yet.  I may have to register as a new user if it doesn't show up soon.

Because I have some 17th century English ancestry, as well as 19th century families(as does my wife), I will probably sign up for the World Subscription at the Pioneer Offer rate as soon as I can clear up my registration.

I will try to look at the available databases on FindMyPast.com in my next post about the site.

I am happy to see the debut of www.FindMyPast.com for the simple reason that it provides additional competition to Ancestry.com and other commercial websites.  In general, competition keeps subscription prices lower than if there is a near-monopoly on products and services.

The big issue for many of us will be how long the Pioneer Offer will be in effect.  Even if we email blast it to our genealogical society members, and advertise it in our monthly/quarterly newsletters, I think that the price break should be for a significant period of time - at least two months and hopefully six months.  No company can afford to offer a price break, then have potential customers  find that it expired a month before - that leads only to frustration and anger at the subscription site. I recommend that FindMyPast.com offer the discounted price to genealogical society members with a discount code and request genealogical societies to offer it to their members with a deadline date.

Disclosure:  I have no financial interest in FindMyPast.com, or a subscription to it.  I have received gifts at conferences from the company, which has not influenced my objective analysis and opinions provided above.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/07/findmypastcom-debuts-pretty-good-deal.html

Copyright(c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

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