The Free Ancestry.com Tree
The Free Ancestry.com Tree is an attempt to maximize the use of the free facilities available on ancestry.com, making them available to the largest number of people possible, starting with a collaboration between two related amateur genealogists. By following certain rules which are designed to both ensure accuracy, and to minimize costs, it is hoped that this project might be able to become useful on a practical basis to the largest number of people possible. This project is designed to assist others in better understanding the means by which ancestry.com is designed to maximize its own profits. By clarifying what we will call ancestry.com's built in profit-design-traps, and by instructing project members in how best to circumvent these certain profit-design-traps that are built into the ancestry.com site, it is hoped that a truly collaborative non-profit genealogical site might be able to be developed. Thus by avoiding these costly potential traps, yet by still using ancestry.com's free services, it is hoped that a truly free, and maximally helpful genealogy site might be made available.
Here are some of the built-in profit-design-traps which we have noted as being built into the ancestry.com site:
1. By encouraging each registered user to create, develop and protect his or her own "Family Tree", the site design naturally encourages a certain atmosphere of competition, rather than one of true full collaboration between its registered users.
2. By causing the flow of information between the various "Family Trees" of the various registered users to only be manually importable, importing records tediously one record at a time, and one record field at a time, the ancestry.com site necessarily minimizes the level of collaboration between registered users who are each attempting to maximize the value of their own respective "family trees".
3. By only providing more detailed information on the activities of other registered users to paying registered users, ancestry.com inherently forces its members wish access to this information to have to pay them to acquire such information.
As a countermeasure to these inherent profit-design-traps, the Free Ancestry.com Tree encourages its project members to each contribute only to a single shared tree, thus giving all project members full access to all entries by all other members.