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Friday, December 19, 2008

More about FamilySearch Affiliates and Product Certification

You may recall from my previous post, that on the log-in page for New FamilySearch, there is a new link to affiliates and product certification. The Website explains that, "FamilySearch Certified Affiliates are third-party companies and organizations that provide products and services with features that are compatible with FamilySearch programs. Certification indicates the affiliate’s declaration of compliance with FamilySearch requirements. Note that these products and services are independently developed and supported by their respective organizations, not by FamilySearch."

It is important to focus on the comment that the products are independent. You should go to the Web sites for each of the products and check out their features and not rely on the summaries provided. Product features can change quickly and the summaries may not be as up to date as the developers' sites themselves.

Certification means that the product has been reviewed by a Board at FamilySearch which evaluates the affiliate and its marketing, support and technical capabilities. The Board also determines the features to be certified. Once the product features are certified the affiliate can use the FamilySearch Certified logo on their products, Web site and marketing literature.

For the current status of certified products, go to http://devnet.familysearch.org/certification/affiliate-program/AffiliateCertfied.

Because Personal Ancestral File was always free or nominally priced, many people have unfortunately assumed that they will always be able to have free programs. The idea of having third-party certified programs is a clear indication that the LDS Church is going to rely more heavily on outside developers to add features and value to their core product, New FamilySearch or what will be called Family Tree. If you are still using Personal Ancestral File (PAF), you may wish to seriously consider investigating some of the newly upgraded and released products, either to enhance PAF's capabilities or to replace it altogether.

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