RootsTech 2015

Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mocavo.com refuses to be ignored

In a post dated 17 January 2014, Mocavo.com made the following statement:
In October 2013, we announced our Free Forever Revolution and made a commitment to launch 1,000 new databases every day. And we’ve kept that promise every single day since. There are now more than 212,000 databases on Mocavo – more than any other genealogy service – and in fact, more than 80% of what’s available on Mocavo isn’t available anywhere else.

We’ve received a ton of amazing feedback and to thank you for all the support, we want to do a couple special things for the Mocavo community.

Instead of just the 1,000 databases we’ve promised, today we’re launching more than 10,000 new databases online for free.
This was basically an introduction to a short-term promotion that has now ended. Mocavo.com has three levels of membership. Here is their explanation:
Mocavo Basic: Browse all of our datasets and search any of them individually as often as you like, free of charge, forever. Create a Mocavo Basic Account Today.

Mocavo Silver: Requires a subscription fee. With Mocavo Silver, you will be able to search all of our datasets conveniently from one location. Create a Mocavo Silver Account Today!

Mocavo Gold: Requires a subscription fee. With Mocavo Gold you can search all of our datasets conveniently from one location, receive automated email alerts when we discover new connections to your tree, send us our photos and books for free scanning, backup your family tree, save your research with browsing historyimprove your research skills through live webcasts with our Chief Genealogist, and get over $80 in savingsthrough our partners. Learn more about these features under the "Mocavo Gold Subscription" heading. Create a Mocavo Gold Account Today!
The promotion was, in effect, a way to move users from the basic and silver categories to gold users. In doing this, Mocavo.com is no different than all of the other subscription websites. Acquiring paid users is a valid and time tested way to grow the overall company.

One of the main reasons genealogists are attracted to a website is the content available to advance their research. Each of the really large online genealogy websites reached that level of utility either by acquiring records over a long period of time or purchasing them in large blocks. Ancestry.com, findmypast.com and FamilySearch.org have been acquiring online resources for years. MyHeritage.com jumped from being a family tree website into the arena of offering online data by purchasing WorldVitalRecords.com and since that acquisition has expanded its record holdings dramatically from other sources. In a tabulation by GenealogyInTime Magazine, eight of the ten most popular genealogy websites are essentially records sites. Even the ones classified by GenealogyInTime as family tree, newspapers or cemetery sites are essentially providing source records to their users. Presently, Mocavo.com is classified as a "search engine." The real question is whether or not resource acquisition alone, without a huge user base of family tree contributors or a long history of acquiring records or even the purchase of an established record website, can push Mocavo.com into the echelon of the top genealogy service providers.

Another consideration is the multiplicity of websites owned and operated by the larger genealogy companies. Ancestry.com, for example, owns 5 of the top 10 most popular websites (again referring to GenealogyInTime). For example, do we consider Archives.com, another of the top 10 websites and owned by Ancestry.com, to be a separate website or part of Ancestry.com? I tend to look at the companies as a whole especially if they are deriving revenue from the satellite websites.

Using an acquisition of records model to grow a genealogy company seems to be a very valid strategy. But continued growth will depend entirely on whether or not Mocavo.com or any other company trying to increase market share by adding records, can do that with records that are not already on the bigger websites, such as the U.S. Census Records and other similar widely used collections. It certainly looks like Mocavo.com is making a good run at it.

A last note. I have written several posts about the use of the terms, records, individuals, collections, databases etc. Most of these terms are not uniformly defined or used so comparison between websites on that basis are difficult to impossible.

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