During the past few weeks, I have been answering a whole lot of questions about MyHeritage.com due to my involvement with the company at RootsTech 2013. In a few cases, I have worked with the people asking the questions on a one-on-one basis to see if we could figure out the problem. In addition, I have been getting some pretty varied comments on my previous blog posts, some very positive and some decidedly negative. Most of the comments and problems center around the issue of Smart Matches and Record Matches.
Almost all of the negative comments have come from relatively new users of the program. In every case, the new user had not looked at the downloadable manual to the program. In a couple of instances, I have worked long enough with these other users to resolve the issues. In every case where I have worked through the issues, I have found the problem to lie with the database uploaded by the user. In one case, as an extreme, I had to delete all of the information in MyHeritage and reload a "clean" GEDCOM file in order for the problems to go away. As soon as I did this, the user began receiving matches to the program. I also found that when the user was identified merely as "living" without further information, the Smart Matching feature did not work properly. As soon as the person was identified by name, she immediately began to get Smart Matches. I am guessing, but it seems to me that the "living" designation blocks some of the features of the program.
I must still say, despite all of the comments and questions I have fielded in the last few weeks, I still think the program works very well. There could be some improvements to the navigation in the family tree view, such as allowing the names to be viewed in a more compact format, but overall, the program seems to work. Now, I am certain that this comment will elicit another round of criticism from those who are unhappy with the program. But I hear the same type of criticism about most of the other online genealogical databases regularly. In fact, I don't believe that I know of any program that I haven't heard negative comments about from someone. This seems especially true about genealogy programs.
I have noticed that Smart Matches seem to come rather quickly and frequently, while Record Matches come less quickly and in bunches rather than individually. It is sort-like waiting for the cycle to come around. If you happen to join the program as the beginning of a cycle, then you might experience a delay, if not, if you are near the end of the cycle, you may get matches more quickly. It is very common for new technology to have a growth period where the program does not work as well as expected or where there are unforeseen difficulties or bugs. It is when the program is more mature that these types of problems become an issue with me. In the case of a new program and especially as here with a new technology, I suggest cutting some slack.
This situation is also similar to what I experience when I do presentations. Some of the people's comments say how much they liked the presentation, others express the fact that everything I said was a complete waste of time. Did these two people hear the same presentation? Sometimes I wonder if my commentators are looking at the same program?