Modern Software Experience

2011-01-25

Expert Connect

Expert Connect Home Page

discontinued

dateevent
2009-03-xxprivate emails
2009-06-25official introduction
2010-08-06acquisition ProGenealogists
2011-01-24discontinue announcement
2011-02-03no more new projects
2011-03-13projects must be completed
2011-03-18final provider payouts

Ancestry.com started Expert Connect in mid 2009. That is about 1½ years ago. The Ancestry.com Expert Connect blog just announced that the Expert Connect service is closing down.
The blog post offers little explanation. All it says is that Though this service has been a positive experience, Ancestry.com has decided to focus on other business priorities..

comments

Comments on the announcement express shocked surprise and bitter disappointment. One researcher has started a blog, called Genecollective, to collect Expert Connect members together and become a collective for people who are searching for our services.
Quite a few researches remark on the rather abrupt termination of the service. Alex comments: I can’t believe this news, totally out of the blue. No consultation with providers or users, as far as I am aware, no explanation for such a decision and such a short notice period. In 9 days Expert Connect will be no more.. Dawn writes: I to[o] am hugely upset at the short notice of closing this down!!! To not ask Experts input, or to give warning to those of us who have built our business with Ancestry, to not even get 30 days notice to figure out how we are now going to obtain clients and continue our work is very unprofessional.. Pam Tucker remarks: I cannot believe the abrupt ending to this program. There isn’t even a 30 day notice. Michelle thinks that In one fell swoop Ancestry has turned some of their biggest supporters (and money-makers) into enemies. Kim is not happy either: I am quite dismayed and angry at this so-called professional company who chooses to treat its contractors with such a lack of respect and consideration. I can’t wait to hear what you are going to do next month for an encore!.

The complainants have a valid point. Whatever business sense it may make for Ancestry.com to discontinue Expert Connect, they sure could treat the researchers and their clients with a little more respects. Why the hurry to close everything down so quickly? Why not allow everyone a reasonable amount time to complete existing projects?

The ability to accept new projects ends on 2011 Feb 3. The next day, NBC kicks off the second season of NBC Who Do You Think You Are. No doubt several Expert Connect  researchers are wondering whether Ancestry.com is promoting its more ProGenealogists services, and does not want Expert Connect to compete. Never mind that ProGenealogists is a small company that cannot deal with the flood of requests that a national advertising would generate, unless Ancestry.com decided to grow the company as need be, by hiring experienced and formerly independent researchers as employees…

ProGenealogists

Ancestry.com did not only introduce Expert Connect in 2009, they also bought ProGenealogists, the American genealogy research company that they had previously hired to do research for Who Do You Think You Are. Their press release stated that we expect the addition of ProGenealogists will also enhance and expand the professional research offerings currently available through Ancestry.com Expert Connect..
With the acquisition of ProGenealogists Ancestry.com acquired in-house research genealogists. ProGenealogists continues to be a separate brand. The company is owned by Ancestry.com, so Ancestry.com no longer needs hire outside experts. One also hopes that management will have the wisdom to let ProGenealogists check press releases, to avoid another embarrassing blunder like the Dracula claim made up by one of their genealogist PR employees.
The new ProGenealogists website features the byline Official Ancestry.com research partner. That's misleading. ProGenealogists isn't any kind of Ancestry.com partner. ProGenealogists is owned by Ancestry.com. The footer tells the truth: ProGenealogists® is a registered trademark of Ancestry.com.

Alternatives

Several small companies were providing an online market for genealogy services before Ancestry.com did, and these companies are still around. Ancestry.com Expert Connect Alternatives provides a quick overview.

There were intense discussions about Expert Connect when Ancestry.com introduced the service. A lot of it was about Ancestry.com labeling participating researchers as experts, whatever an expert in genealogy is, how it relates to being a professional or certified genealogist, even whether members of certain associations should join Expert Connect or not.
None of the alternative companies are labeling the researcher as experts, and they do not dominate the American genealogy scene as Ancestry.com does, but it's the same business model, so all the same issues apply.

updates

2011-01-25 instant update: FaceBook group

A FaceBook group Professional Genealogists "Ousted" by Ancestry.com's Expert Connect has been created.

2011-01-26 Genlighten

The Genlighten blog has a post on the discontinuation of Expert Connect.

2011-01-30 GenealogyFreelancers

The GenealogyFreelancers has a posts on the discontinuation of Expert Connect.

2011-02-03 Directory of Genealogists

Stephanie Hoover is creating the Directory of Genealogists on her Pennsylvania Research site, for all professional genealogists except those doing research in Pennsylvania, USA. There is a Google docs form to fill in.

2011-02-03 GenealogyFreelancers

GenealogyFreelancers has issued a press release that it is welcoming former Expert Connect providers.

2011-02-04 Directory of Genealogists

The new Directory of Genealogists site is up and running now, not as part of the Pennsylvania Research blog, but as a separate site. The site went live today, yet claims to have started in 2011 January.

2011-03-06 Discontinued

This is what the Expert Connect home page looks like now.

Expert Connect: Discontinued

The text on the page reads:

Expert Connect – Service to be discontinued

Over a year ago Ancestry.com created Expert Connect as a way to expand its service offerings and provide additional assistance for members through an elite group of professional genealogists and researchers. Though this service has been a positive experience, Ancestry.com has decided to streamline the business, and as of March 18, 2011, Expert Connect will no longer be a service that Ancestry.com will offer to its members. We expect that many of you may still be working on current projects with providers you found on the Expert Connect service. We fully encourage you to finish out these projects over the coming months, and if needed, continue relationships with these providers you have made connections with along the way.

We thank you for your involvement in Expert Connect and wish you continued success in your family history research.

For new projects, please see these sites to help you find a researcher:

  • Association of Professional Genealogists
  • ProGenealogists

Ancestry.com does not link to any of the intermediation services that existed before they created Expert Connect, but does link to ProGenealogists.
That they only recommend the Ancestry-owned ProGenealogists may be logical, but will go over well with the many genealogists they ousted in such a hurry.

2011-03-10 Ancestry hiring

Job offerings on taleo.net show that Ancestry.com is looking to hire a genealogist and assistant genealogist for ProGenealogists.

2011-04-22 Subdomain gone

The expertconnect.ancestry.com subdomain is gone. The broken link has been removed.

2012-05-22 Taleo adverts

The job openings advertised on Taleo are long gone. The broken links have been removed.

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