As reported by GenealogyinTime in their post, “Ancestry.com Quietly Shifts Gears,” on September 2015. Ancestry appears to be changing strategies for future growth of the company as revealed in two announcements this summer. GenealogyinTime writes of these changes:
The first was an announcement of the launch of a new service called AncestryHealth. This service allows users to combine their personal family health knowledge with family trees that have been created on Ancestry websites.
The second was an announcement that AncestryDNA had sold the results of DNA sequences collected from some one million Ancestry customers to a Google-affiliated company called Calico. Calico is focussed on longevity research. What makes the dataset so valuable to Calico is both its size and the fact that it comes with extensive family trees. Calico will be studying the DNA results combined with the family trees of Ancestry’s DNA customers to look for patterns in longevity across families.
These two announcements combined represent an interesting transition for Ancestry.com. The company appears to be making the jump from provider of historical records for past generations to keeper of life records for the current generation. Considering that Ancestry websites control a combined 35% of internet genealogy traffic (see Top 100 Genealogy Websites of 2015), this is an interest shift in strategy for Ancestry and for the genealogy marketplace at large.
In the future, there might be more money to be made managing (and selling) the lifestyle data of the current generation than the historical records of past generations.
Frankly, this helps explain why Ancestry recently pulled 567 “low-use” databases, as reported by Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings. Ancestry is in business to make money; helping people find their ancestors is nice, but if they can make greater profits elsewhere, that’s what they’re going to do. DNA results linked to family trees promises greater financial rewards for this company.
Judy Russell at the estimable The Legal Genealogist sums up the situation re privacy, DNA, and Ancestry better than anyone else at this link. Informed consent is important. Ancestry Selling DNA Info – no thanks. I opted out.
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