Friday, September 21, 2012

The Second Most Popular Topic?

Dick Eastman is really good at picking up the obscure. He had a recent post citing a BloombergBusinessWeek Lifestyle post called Ancestry.com's Genealogical Juggernaut. Given my analysis in an earlier post about MyHeritage.com and my own opinions on the popularity of genealogy, I looked into the article. The BloombergBusinessWeek post talks more about Ancestry.com than it does about genealogy in general. The reason for the article is the fact that Ancestry.com is up for sale. The comment made in the BloombergBusinessWeek post concerning genealogy refers to a January 2012 report by market research firm Global Industry Analysts. The information in the BloombergBusinessWeek post says essentially that an "estimated 84 million people around the world spend anywhere from $1,000 to $18,000 a year in search of their ancestors." The only other reference to the report, which is 58 pages long and costs $1450 ranks genealogy as the "second most researched topic online." I will not mention the first most popular topic because I do not want the term searchable in my blog.

That is really the only information given to support the assertion. There is a quote from Ancestry.com PR Director Sean Pate that claims that the demographic of online genealogy researchers are "mostly white women, 55 and older, who browse the Internet from home."

Now, other than paying the $1450 is there anyway to verify or support the Global Industry Analysts, Inc. report? Why has this report become newsworthy now, nine months after it appeared? Isn't the article in BloombergBusinessWeek really about Ancestry.com? Do you agree with the report? Does the conclusion sound reasonable? If the claim is correct, then why do the genealogy sites rank so far down in the overall Internet traffic?

For example, according to Alexa.com, Ancestry.com is ranked 623 in the world (all figures as of the date of this post) and 145 in the U.S. If genealogy is the second most searched topic, then why is the ranking of the most popular site so low? MyHeritage.com is globally number 4,125 and 2,930 in the U.S. Findmypast.com from brightsolid.com is 75,943 in the world and 16,131 in the U.S. FamilySearch.org is 4,142 in the world and 1,260 in the U.S.

I could go on and on, but any other sites would start to disappear into the tens of thousands and millions of online sites. Let's just say that I flat out don't believe the study's claim. For a reality check, this blog on Alexa.com today is ranked 285,789 in the world and 66,336 in the U.S. Hardly an indication that there are hordes of 55 year old white women out there scouring the Web for genealogical content.  I might mention that this blog is ranked 2,296 in New Zealand (thanks to all you out there in the Southern Hemisphere). But does that mean New Zealand has more 55 YOWWs than the U.S.?

Now go back to the report I mentioned above. When was the last time you spent an average of $18,000 on genealogy a year on genealogy?



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