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<March 2015>

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# Thursday, April 26, 2012 Acquires Addressing Genealogists' Concerns
Posted by Diane

It's been all over the genealogy news since yesterday that plans to purchase for $100 million.

About 40 employees of will become part of

Until the acquisition goes through the regulatory approval process, the companies will continue to operate as separate entities. It's unclear how long the process could take.

In a conference call last night with the genealogy media, CEO Joe Godfrey and president Tim Sullivan addressed issues of concern to many family historians.

Here, I've summarized their comments as they relate to some of the questions I've been hearing from genealogists:

Is just trying to eliminate a competitor?'s parent company Inflection is focusing on public records and people-searching (it owns the people-searching website peoplesmart), diverging from's historical records mission. Godfrey and Sullivan say this acquisition makes sense for all parties.

Current plans call for to remain largely as is. "We see a different experience in It's priced and positioned differently [from]. It's another important service that we can continue to invest in," Sullivan says. He vows to invest in's content and technology.

The acquisition gives the opportunity to offer a genealogy product at a lower price point ( subscribers pay $39.95 a year, to's $155.40).

Nor is the acquisition a response to the entry into the US genealogy market of companies such as brightsolid (owner of and MyHeritage, Sullivan says. He emphasized a positive view of the genealogy category's growth and the increase in competition, saying it's an indication of the health of the category.

Sullivan says may work with Inflection in the future, describing the potential opportunity as "tremendous."

Will the sites be too similar?
Sullivan and Godfrey say there's some overlapping content on and, but that how the user experiences each site's content is different and will remain so. "One thing we won't do is make like the user experience," Sullivan says.

"Even though some content might overlap, the way it is presented will have different value propositions to different users," Godfrey adds.

What will happen with the 1940 Census Community Project?
The project, whose partners FamilySearch, and are recruiting volunteers to index the 1940 census, won't be affected, say both men.

Godfrey encouraged volunteers to continue indexing. "Nothing will change as far as the partnership, and nothing will change as far as making the index available for free," he says.

Sullivan says that when FamilySearch was seeking partners in this volunteer indexing project, leadership discussed it at length and ultimately decided that "it wasn't structured in a way that completely was in sync with what we wanted to do with 1940."

He added that would support's participation in the project.

Does this form a monopoly?
They couldn't elaborate on the regulatory approval process for the acquisition, but neither Sullivan nor Godfrey foresees problems. "We're doing this for the right reasons. There's no negative for consumers," Sullivan says. | | Genealogy Industry
Thursday, April 26, 2012 11:51:05 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [5]
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