Modern Software Experience

2011-10-13

The Dutch prefer Dutch

genealogy application popularity

Late last year, Most Popular Genealogy Application looked at some of the vendors claims, and compared these with sales rankings from Amazon.com and download ranking from download.com. A quick comparison of the numbers for Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de showed that applications from the country itself tend to be quite popular; RootsMagic and Family Tree Maker are popular in the United States of America, Who Do You Think You Are? (a rebranded edition of Family Tree Maker) are Family Historian were quite popular in the United Kingdom, and Stammbaum is quite popular in Germany.

This article provides upload data from the Dutch service Genealogie Online. Genealogie Online is a free genealogy hosting site; users simply upload their GEDCOM files. The Gebruikte stamboomprogramma's (Dutch: used genealogy applications) page shows which applications were used to produce the uploaded GEDCOM files.
Genealogie Online isn't the only Dutch site you can publish your genealogy on, but it is by far the most popular one. It is free, popular and well-known, so its numbers are fairly representative for the Dutch genealogy application market.

top 25

rankapplicationnumberpercentage
1Aldfaer214247 %
2MyHeritage Family Tree Builder69915 %
3PRO-GEN4229 %
4GensDataPro2666 %
5BROSKEEP1583 %
6Legacy (R)1233 %
7Family Tree Maker for Windows842 %
8gwb2ged732 %
9Personal Ancestral File732 %
10Reunion631 %
11441 %
12Haza-21331 %
13Haza-Data301 %
14Stamboom301 %
15Ancestry.com Family Trees281 %
16Geni.com190 %
17LE GENEALOGISTE180 %
18Family Tree Maker 2005 for Windows170 %
19Gramps120 %
20PhpGedView110 %
21UwStamboomOnline.nl100 %
22PhpGedView Online Genealogy90 %
23FTSK90 %
24The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (R)90 %
25HEREDIS PC80 %
26OEDIPUS_II70 %

The Genealogie Online site displays up-to-date numbers. Today, its overview showed 86 different genealogy applications. The table here shows only the top 25. A quick look at the upload numbers and percentages shows that there really is little point in showing more. Applications ranking between 25 and 35 include Ahnenblatt (29), The Master Genealogist (30), RootsMagic (31), GenoPro (32) and iFamily for Leopard (34).
The apparently nameless application with ranking 11 is not any particular application, but is simply the result of GEDCOM files with less than complete headers. To compensate, the table goes up to 26, so that it still shows the 25 most popular applications identified by Genealogie Online.

Dutch

The most popular application in the Netherlands is the Dutch Aldfaer, with a market share of 47 %. That is practically half the genealogy application market. Some reasons for that are that it is free, supports Frisian, and is promoted through books and courses of the Central Bureau of Genealogy. Other Dutch applications are doing fine too: PRO-GEN, GensDataPro, Haza-Data and Haza-21 are all well-known in the Dutch market. Take special note of the popularity of PRO-GEN; this is an MS-DOS application, but users like it so much that they do not want to switch.

international

The second most popular application is MyHeritage Family Tree Builder. It is not hard to understand why; the Basic Edition is free, like Aldfaer. It is the most aggressively promoted Windows genealogy application (for example, type genealogy or Family Tree Maker into Google, then check the Adds displayed alongside the results), and it is multi-lingual.
Other multi-lingual applications are popular too. Brother's Keeper (5), Legacy Family Tree (6) and Personal Ancestral File (9) are all in the top ten.

free

The Dutch have reputation for being frugal, and this ranking does not contradict this. More than half of the top ten consists of free applications (Aldfaer and Personal Ancestral File), shareware (Brother's Keeper), as well as free editions of commercial applications (Family Tree Builder and Legacy Family Tree). Together, these applications have about two-third of the market.

patterns

There are clear patterns here. Dutch applications are most popular with the Dutch, followed by multi-lingual international applications. The Dutch do not only like multi-lingual applications because of support for Dutch, but also because it allows them to use the same application as distant cousins in other countries. The Netherlands has a rich history of immigration and emigration, so there are plenty of such distant cousins.

Free applications are popular, but the Dutch do not mind paying for something they really like; they'll even pay to upgrade an MS-DOS application they like instead of switching to some Windows application they do not like.
Strongly promoted applications such as Family Tree Maker and Family Tree Builder do well, but the Dutch remain an opinionated lot. Aldfaer beats the free edition of Family Tree Builder, and PRO-GEN (for MS-DOS) beats Family Tree Maker for Windows.

conclusion

The long and varied list of different genealogy applications being used reflects the willingness to try and experiment with something different or new, so every application has a chance to break into this market. However, the relatively high popularity of applications like Brother's Keeper, Legacy Family Tree and Personal Ancestral - especially when contrasted with the remarkably low popularity of an application like RootsMagic - makes one thing very clear. Almost everyone in the Netherlands speaks English, but the Dutch prefer Dutch. Vendors wishing to break into the Dutch market should provide a multi-lingual user interface.

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