Wednesday, June 17, 2015 Subscription Rates - Are They Changing? UPDATED

There have been several posts on Facebook by my friends about changing subscription rates.

UPDATE 17 June, 10 p.m.:  Loretta Gillespie in Subscription Switcheroo on the Barking Up the Wrong Tree blog posted more information on this!  [My apologies to Loretta for messing up the BUWT author's name]

I decided to check it out:

1)  Here are the subscription rates I, as a paid Ancestry subscriber with a "U.S. Discovery" yearly subscription, am offered to upgrade:

The subscription plans are labeled "U.S. Discovery" (all U.S. records) for $189/year, "World Explorer" (all U.S. records plus all world records) for $298/year, and "World Explorer Plus" (World Explorer plus access to and, and premium support) for $389/year.

If I was coming up on my expiration date in October, will I be able to extend my U.S. Discovery subscription for another $189?

2)  I logged out of my Ancestry account, and went to the website as if I was a new subscriber.  When I clicked to find the subscription rates, I saw this:

The subscription names have changed - "Standard" (basic subset of all global records) for $99/6 months; "Plus" (all global records, including premium collections of yearbooks, wills, immigration, travel and church documents) for $149/6 months; "All Access" (all of Ancestry, Fold3, and for $199/6 months.

3)  The above creates a number of questions concerning subscriptions:

a)  Will all subscribers have to choose one of the "Standard," "Plus" or "All Access" subscriptions in the future?  If so, when?

b)  Will current subscribers be able to continue with the "U.S. Discovery," "World Explorer" or "World Explorer Plus" subscriptions for the foreseeable future?

c)  What are the Premium U.S. collections not included in the "Standard" subscription?  Do they include U.S. port passenger lists, border crossing records, naturalization records, military records,  church records, the coming U.S. probate collection, school yearbooks, etc.?  We really need a definitive list to judge the value of the various subscriptions.

d)  This is, apparently, a de facto subscription increase for users like me with a "U.S. Discovery" subscription who rely upon many of the so-called U.S. "premium collections" for pursuing family research.  On the other hand, for those with a current "World Explorer" subscription, there is no apparent subscription increase.  Am I correct?

e)  Why is there not some reward for longtime subscribers to stay as a subscriber?  People like me are treated as "cash cows" who don't need any marketing to retain a subscription, but we are rarely offered a subscription discount based on longevity and loyalty to

4)  What do my readers think?  Please let me know in Comments.

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Unknown said...

I agree with you, Randy. I certainly have not had my subscription as long as you but we don't see any discounts or incentives to stay with Ancestry. If you pay on a monthly basis you end up paying a lot more than if you renewed yearly. I have World (NOT PLUS) because most of my ancestors were from Canada. With all the talk of a possible sale of Ancestry, I wonder if these current charges will be significantly higher. I also have Roots Magic 7 and Legacy 8.0. I'm thinking of starting a tree in Family Search. Is this redundant?

Janet Fortunato

Charlie Purvis said...

I agree with your comments also. Ancestry is like a "busy bee" that doesn't know what he or she wants. As soon as they get it one way and you are familiar with it, they change the format. I for one do not like this new look. The new look prior to this one suited ny needs better.

And if you live down south you are bit getting any benefit other than Census records and in some (few) cases maybe a probate record. I just don't see two hundred dollars of value for Southern researchers.

Unknown said...

Rates in the UK have gone up too - my Worldwide sub is now £179.99, a considerable increase on last year. I agree - why is there no discount for repeat subscribers? FindMyPast does, and has always done so.

Linda Stufflebean said...

I saw this post on FB, too and was astounded at the changes in rates. I recently let my subscription lapse. Seven weeks later I got a "special" email offering me the U.S. access (which is all I ever use) for $49 for 6 months. I accepted that instantly! That is a big difference compared to their new Standard monthly rate.

Larry said...

I also agree that long time subscriber should get a break. I have been a member since 2002 and have changed my plan from basic to explorer to world plus over the years. I don't think the world explorer plus has been useful as I have not been able to find anything new that not available elsewhere for my ancestors. Looking to go back to basic plan and save a lot of bucks.

Drew Smith said...

My cable service doesn't give me a discount for remaining with them, but gives discounts to *new* subscribers. Discounts are used to attract new subscribers who may not yet appreciate the value they are getting, while it is reasonably assumed that existing subscribers understand the benefits of their subscriptions. So I'm not sure I see the purpose of "loyalty discounts" in this case. This is basic marketing.

Hudson Co. NJ genealogy said...

It's greed. Just raise the price for no reason. Oh they are trying to sell the company. They take free records and sell them. They take your money and spit on you when you stop paying. Try to look at an attached record you had found while you were paying, you can't.

Waiting for the familysearch films, that cost them a few subscriptions.

I only subscribe to ancestry when it's on sale. I didn't want it but it was too good to pass up. Last year $99 gave me a 6 month U.S. subscription plus a dna test. The year before it was dna test for $59. And two years ago $99 for a 6 month world subscription. I love keeping my tree there and rarely use my half price Family Tree Maker software. Remember when you bought the software and got a free year of ancestry.

If you find a record on ancestry just search the internet and you'll probably find it free.

Karen said...

As far as I can tell it is a stealth rate increase for US Discovery members as they would have to upgrade to the new Plus level in order to access the same records they currently have today.

This was asked about several weeks ago on Ancestry's facebook page and we were told that they couldn't discuss it. Why the secrecy? Ancestry's inability to proactively communicate with their customers is always an issue but if this is the way they are going they need to let us know. Your rate and access shouldn't depend on whether you are logged in or not, what browser you are using or who you talk to.

Many of your questions were brought up earlier this week in this blog post

Scott Lackey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott Lackey said...

This is why I never attach records. I download all images from the record to my pc and attach those. It's a little more work but then I'm not stuck when I let my subscription lapse. And I've done so regularly. They'll offer a discount after a month or so

KevinW said...

I just received my renewal notice and it is still $189 for a year.

Donna Hague Wendt said...

I renewed my World subscription yesterday, June 16, 2015. Four days before my expiration date I phoned and askef for an annual World subscriptoon renewal with a one-time AARP member discount. I got a $90 AARP discount. So $299 minus $90 equals $209 per year. He said they would charge my credit card $104 now and $104 automatically in 6 months, for the final payment. So then he cancelled the last four days on my current expiring subscription and gave me a free "bonus" month. So 13 months of World Explorer cost me $208 yesterday. I'm happy. Aloha.

Xfaith said...

I wish they just had a month non-renewal. I would like to knock out say 70% of hints. I have access 24/7 to library, but its a hassle to jump back and forth between library and regular account.

Otherwise I just wait for the "free" periods to knock some things out.

They have gotten way to expensive in my opinion.

Unknown said...

I recently allowed my subscription to lapse, as the fees are higher than I can justify. I love genealogy, but my hobby can't come ahead of my family's well-being. I've been using FamilySearch, which does provide access to many record sources, but get frustrated that many records for which they provide indexes link to documents on Ancestry or other paid sites. When I cancelled my subscription, I had hoped I could make up for this at the library, but I have trouble getting there on a regular basis. It's all very frustrating, and I wish the fees were lower.

Rhonda Kennedy said...

I too use the free times to update and add to my records.
It seems Ancestry has a monopoly on the market. Someone should give them some GOOD competition. (Which is NOT FindMyPast. I tried their free weekend and they are terrible. Too many reasons to count.)
Then I bet the prices would come down.

John said...

Goodshop/Goodsearch still has links to the US Discovery package for new subscribers (Select the 14-day free trial - and they have you choose between the US Discovery and World Explorer package)

I assume if you pay for the US Discovery option, you will have access to all the US records until it is time for renewal. That they won't switch you to the Standard package before your subscription runs out. I am not a lawyer, but I suspect if they did the latter, there might be a legal case.

I am curious what is going to happen to the Library Edition - available at many US libraries. Will it remain all US records, or will it be switched to the new 'Standard' package?

Marian said...

I let my subscription lapse last year, shortly after calling Ancestry to report a bug in the source-citation function and being told that the staffer would report it. But he couldn't give me a trouble ticket number or copy me on the message to the engineers or even send me an acknowledgment of my report. Clearly Ancestry has a policy of NOT fixing bugs or responding to users. In the same phone call, he had the nerve to try to up-sell me to a World subscription.

Since then I keep a research calendar (to-do list) on Google Docs, and whenever I get a chance to stop at the library for half an hour, I can get right to work without bringing papers. I use the "Send this home" feature to send the images to my home computer. But there are things that the library edition doesn't include -- access to the messaging system, newspapers, and probably more important things that I haven't noticed yet.

A loyalty discount might have kept me with Ancestry at a time when the company was already increasing subscription prices. I have heard people sing the praises of their subscription to such an extent that they deserve a loyalty discount!

T said...

Has ancestry jumped the shark? I for one will not be paying them any more money. I was getting increasingly unhappy with them before the new and improved layout and that horrible thing made up my mind for me. I'm already using GEDMatch and I'm experimenting with other sites to host my tree. I'll stay subscribed to their newsletter so I know when the free stuff is available. Otherwise, Buh-Bye.

LLG70 said...

Thanks for the link but Karen PALMER is the one who commented with a link to my blog and I write Barking Up the Wrong Tree.
-Loretta Gillespie

Unknown said...

I already thought Ancestry was overpriced. This simply reinforces the thought. I agree with those who believe Ancestry would be better off with a loyalty discount, and avoid the membership churn they have now.

MyHeritage has more of my data already, and has treated me better for a lot of years now, I'll keep my money headed their way. There are other sources for a lot of the stuff on Ancestry, as has already been noted.

MJ Rice said...

Mmmm. Ancestry's sneaky price increase smells like corporate greed to me. If Ancestry truly is on the auction block, I expect its leaders are trying to bolster its profitability. However, this could backfire.

What with the recent rollout of a not-so well liked "upgrade," and its less than optimal transformation of — Ancestry isn't much loved these days, even by its longtime users.

Now with a fee increase structure that fails to clearly spell out what specifically is included at each subscription level, it's in danger of losing my US Discovery account. Its policies already smack of corporate greed, and this is no exception. It's a shame to see Ancestry bring a Wall Street mentality to this fascinating hobby and profession. Genealogy is better than this.

If it needs to increase subscription rates to meet expenses, it would go a long way toward building continued customer loyalty to be up front about it. Tell us what's coming. Offer a discount for early renewals and loyalty discounts for longtime subscribers. And, most of all — tell us clearly what we will be getting at the new pricing structure.

As it stands, I'm inclined to start a "do-over" now and clean up the records I've got, while I take a break from

Mary Foxworthy said...

I agree that discounts to new customers is "basic marketing" but loyalty discounts are also basic marketing. As a retiree on a fixed income, I'm lucky that my library has a worldwide subscription, and also subscribes to Ancestry's other paid services.

Who I am and How I got here said...

What I say is I QUIT.

There should be some appreciation for those of us who have been with them for years but there isn't and since money is tight right now I QUIT

Who I am and How I got here said...

wHAT'S INTERESTING in all this is that they want VOLUNTEERS to input records.

Too much hypocrisy for me.