The first article I saw about Geni was: http://magazine.uchicago.edu/07910/features/take2.shtml
In it, it quotes David Sacks about Geni:
"“We want to be the repository of all your family’s information,” he says. If users enter cause-of-death information about family members, he wants the site to help predict genetic susceptibility to illnesses. If it appears that someone is at an increased risk for heart disease, the site could advertise exercise books or specific medicines. He wants people to see what cars their family members are driving, what books they are reading, and what music they are into. “What we’re discovering with Web 2.0 is that people make their buying decisions based on what other people buy,” Sacks says. “They are particularly affected by what their friends and family like, so if Geni shows you what book your favorite uncle is reading, you may want to go out and buy that.”"
This apparently was the original vision for income -- eventually money would pour in from companies wanting to mine this treasure-trove of info, and from companies wanting to use it to advertise to Geni-members. However, instead Favorites was long ago eliminated.
My guess is that too many of the Geni-users were folks who considered the Internet as a Place you do not enter any personal info about yourself, rather than as a great place to tell all about yourself and your close relatives.
[I plan to enter more thoughts as I have time. Others feel free to enter thoughts and ideas also]
Same article includes explicit commen:
"if people do value the recommendations of family members—then Sacks has a business model. When a family member lists favorite books, the list could feature direct, revenue-generating links to online booksellers. Birth or wedding announcements could come with offers from flower purveyors."
I think there are many, many possibilities of better ways for Geni to be collecting money.
I see folks are making suggestions for a Fairer Fee Structure, Other Ways Geni can Make Money, etc. over in Help - Feature Requests,
http://help.geni.com/entries/20661161-free-geni-tree-like-in-2007 - has a number of suggestions for paid features, not just straight reverting!
-- this last includes the comment "The future of your terms now seems bleak and unpredictable, who knows what you will decide tomorrow? " - this definitely, majorly resonated with me! I had been looking at your life-time membership after several changes but before your Nov. 1, 2011 changes - but felt I could not count on what I would be buying - feared if I bought a life-time Pro, might well discover you adding a new category - perhaps, Super-Pro or whatever - and so on. Feel even less inclined now.
I do not like the 100 Profile limit, would like to see it greatly increased and/or return to the just-previous restriction of out to 4th cousins.
But - if there must be a limit on the number of Profiles a person can add for free -- suggest Geni implement a way to add a profile for a very low cost - for example $1 for the right to add 1 profile. Or - if credit card charges make doing sales of $1 not cost-effective and/or one wants to encourage higher purchases, perhaps the right to add a dozen profiles for $10. Also suggest allowing one to gift others with this, so one can encourage others to add their family members, etc.
This (at this or a somewhat similar price structure) might well keep many of us much happier than we currently are, while garnering Geni quite a bit of money. In the past 4 years [in my other account] I have, according to Geni, added 1,075 profiles. I balk at paying over $100 for a year's membership - but [aside from fact avoid credit-card purchases on-line, which would make this hard for me] - would not balk at dropping the occasional $1 to add a Profile or probably even $10 for a dozen -- in other words, a little bit at a time, would likely end up spending more than the "big" amount.
Not knowing all the ins-and-outs -- do not know if it would be a pain to say 'must be added within six months' (for example) or if that would simplify Geni's record keeping and increase their potential profit (from ones which expire unused).