My article “Ancestry.com at Banking Conference – Part 2” elicited some pretty deep felt emotions. I reported on a presentation by Ancestry.com’s Howard Hochhauser. His assertion that New Ancestry had not alienated their core base drew sharp rebuttals from several of you. (See the comments to the article.)
Here’s a comment from Amy Fitzgerald:
The report about new ancestry is total hogwash. Maybe the insider should start reading the ancestry blogs and facebook comments posted by real customers. This is a one-sided, ancestry influenced report. Pretty transparent.
I appreciate Charmaine Ortega Getz coming to my defense:
The Insider's report is just about what Ancestry claims, not what anyone else does or does not know to be true. It's what Ancestry is claiming at a meeting at which it obviously hopes to look good to people it wishes to impress. Which is not long-time customers. It's the kind of thing I'd expect a company to say that is short-changing its customers but wants to reassure potential investors that all is well.
Thanks, Charmaine. As the old saying goes, “Don’t shoot the messenger.”
Keep the comments coming, just avoid personal attacks. It’s probably healthy to vent a little steam. I hope at the same time you’re also giving actionable critiques. One of you pointed out how Notes used to work, how they work now, and the result: lower visibility and increased click count. Bravo. That is actionable. Keep those comments coming. And just in case Ancestry product managers are too busy to read your comments here, make certain you also submit them through Ancestry’s official channel.
Ancestry Is In It For the Money
When interpreting the ratio of negative comments to positive comments, remember that satisfied people rarely, rarely come out and state such. While I can't remember ratios, as an insider I've witnessed the phenomena. For each dissatisfied comment you're seeing, there may be 500, 1,000, perhaps 10,000 satisfied customers who remain quiet. Believe me that Ancestry is watching renewal rates very, very closely. I have no doubt there are people cancelling or failing to renew. I have no doubt they can tell you the change in revenues down to the penny.
They're in this for the money. If the radical changes of New Ancestry increases their profits, they will adopt them wholesale. If radical changes decrease profits, they will back off some. But folks, the switch to New Ancestry is going to happen.
It’s Going to Happen
They have aging infrastructure that has to be replaced at some point. Their suppliers quit supporting old operating systems. (Ever tried to get a bug fixed in Windows 3.1 lately?). Tool vendors abandon old products. (When was the last upgrade to the Lattice C compiler?) Hardware manufacturers stop providing replacement parts. (Ever tried to get replacement parts for your 5-1/4 inch floppy drive?) Software engineers retire. (Have you ever tried to make bug fixes to a decrepit, bandaged Cobol program?) Cheaper alternatives become available. (Are you availing yourself of any free cloud storage?) Technologies advance. (Have you priced handling peak website loads with Amazon Web Services?)
Non-actionable complaints may push off the inevitable. But I say again, folks, this switch is going to happen whether you like it or not. Now is the time to get New Ancestry working more closely to the way you want.
But remember, eventually they have no choice.
The Ancestry Insider