Thursday, November 29, 2012

More Information about Changes

In Dear Randy: is now (Not All!) Free! (posted 28 November 2012), I did not correctly interpret the selective information in their press release and email...and I updated my post (several times) to say:

"What is really FREE and not FREE on is not easy to define. There are times when it wants me to pay for something.  I can upgrade from a Geni Basic account (free) to a Pro Account for $7.95/month (for two years) to be able to have instant tree matches, search profiles, upload unlimited media, premium support, and add unlimited relatives. "

I showed this graphic from my account:

I received a comment on the post today from Noah Tutak, CEO of

"Hi Randy - thanks for covering our exciting news! I'm sorry that there was some confusion about the announcement and I'd like to set the record straight.

"Here's what we did – we took a number of features that used to require a paid subscription (merging profiles, adding unlimited profiles, extended relationship paths, family tree charts, hiding ads) and made them free for all users. We think this is a pretty significant step that has great benefits for all of our users, including our paid subscribers, and for the World Family Tree.

"Geni remains a "freemium" service, which means that the basic version of Geni is free and members can choose to upgrade to a paid subscription if they find value in the additional features. There is just more "free" in the "freemium" now :-).

"Everyone here at Geni is really excited and the response so far from our user community has been fantastic. Thanks again for the post and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions."

I appreciate Noah responding to my post complaining about "it's not all free."  Those new "free" features are useful, but there are still significant limitations for Basic account (free) users like me.

I do not have a paid account for at present because I found it was too difficult to add persons to the database without a GEDCOM upload or a synchronization program (and I know that AncestorSync offers one, but it's still in Beta, I think).  Therefore, the 2,000 persons that I uploaded some time ago when had a GEDCOM upload are still there, but I cannot easily add content to the site whether I'm a subscriber or not.  I can add persons one name and one fact at a time, but this is not time efficient for me.  In addition, the searches I did in the database earlier, when provided a free Pro account for me, did not reveal anything "new" for me.  I did like poking around in the World Family Tree.

Without a Pro account, I cannot:

*  Tree Matches: achieve faster tree growth with instant tree matches while you browse

*  Enhanced Search: search over 100 million profiles to find possible relatives

*  Unlimited media:  Upload unlimited, photos, videos and documents

*  Premium Support:  Communicate directly with our expert support staff

*  Family Tree: add unlimited relatives

Apparently, I cannot access the World Family Tree without a paid account.

Those are, of course, what many people come to an online family tree to pursue - who also has my ancestors and do they have information that might add to my family tree.

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Amanda at Geni said...

Hi Randy! Thanks for posting the clarifications. I would just like to make a couple of comments. You stated that without a Pro account, you cannot add unlimited relatives. In fact, we just announced adding unlimited relatives is free for everyone.

Also, users do not need a paid account to access the World Family Tree. You may want to check out our World Family Tree page here to see some interesting stats and a list of the most popular profiles on Geni!

Feel free to email me if you have any questions!

Social Media Coordinator for

Keith Riggle said...

You mentioned AncestorSync. I'm an AncestorSync beta tester, and it's still in beta. They just released an update yesterday. They have temporarily disabled integration with The only things that can be synced right now are genealogy application files, including GEDCOMs. See for details.