i'm not a lifer but then the thread title isn't specific to lifetime memberships, so i'd like to raise a question that might impact on all Geni users.
My concern is that, for all the hand wringing regarding default on the lifetime agreements and the relative merits of the 5 year offer, what is the likelihood that Geni and/or MH will exist in 5 years time? What is the likelihood that the two sites will still be distinctly seperate entities in 5 years time?
Geni may cease to exist in a recognisable form before any class action reaches a verdict.
Because i like metaphors:
If the owners of Ferrari bought Rolls Royce there would not be much chance of a merger as the customer focus of the two brand is quite dissimilar. Conversely, if Ford bought out Toyota the focus of the two companies would be so similiar as to make it quite reasonable that they could rebrand as Forota so as not to split their target market.
Back to our situation:
If the intention truly is to keep Geni and MH seperate the ownership of the two brands is of no real importance to the end users - Pepsi doesn't email all it's customers every time there is a change in their share holder structure, because it doesn't have any real impact on the customers.
If the commercial entity that owns MH purchases Geni there is no reason why MH's privacy standards need to be enforced on Geni, nor should MH's membership protocols impact on Geni, they are two seperate commercial entities that just happen to be owner by the same person.
Another car metaphor, if one car i own needs fuel or tyres i don't have to refuel the other cars i own.
IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) the encroachment of MH rules/requirements onto Geni is a fore runner of a merge of the two sites, whether that is thru a merger and rebranding or simply one site swallowing the other whole i don't know.
I am not even sure that a merger would be a bad thing, i simply feel that one is coming and when it does having a lifetime membership with a website that no longer exists won't do anyone much good.
Alex - your hypotheses are interesting. Perhaps much simpler is that even without merging the two companies' products, if Company A buys Company B then you would expect the acquirer's philosophy and strategy to be imposed on the acquisition.
It may therefore be relevant that at http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/11/28/myheritage-raises-25-million..., the CEO of MH is quoted as saying "We are discouraging the purchase of long-term subscriptions because we want to ensure our cash flow is consistent".
I bought a 5-year membership to Geni, however I am shocked and appalled that Geni and My Heritage would be so lousy as to disenfranchise their loyal customers of their lifetime memberships.
Surely it is as simple as placing an automatic renewal on the memberships of those Geni Lifetime subscribers?
It is a breach of faith and contract to not fulfil the obligations of the Geni sale of membership to these people.
I have been active on Geni, adding profiles laterally to my own tree to help build their tree, without the importation of Gedcoms and substantiated by researching documents and registers of BDM, etc. In addition, my relations have also placed a substantial amount of profiles.
I know that many of these lifetime subscribers are the more diligent and prolific contributors, and I see it as good business sense (over-and-above good manners) for My Heritage and Geni to set this right.
You have already besmirched your reputations with this issue, so a quick resolution, whereby you forgo a minute amount of overall projected revenue in order to maintain good relations with your customers is in order.
You will lose more revenue from bad "word of mouth" marketing than you will in keeping faith with these lifetime members.
"Company C could operate Company A and Company B to completely different standards if they wished"
True. That sort of acquisition is akin to a passive investment. Most company acquisitions occur because the acquirer thinks they can run the company more profitably than the previous owners did, and they therefore seek to change things in the acquisition, whether or not they wish to merge products.
Right on Enrique besides maybe som younger ones who are struggling to keep families afloat and genealogy is a "frivolous item" that comes last in their household budget if ever. alot depend on free will sharing of material.
I still would like my profiles with NO DATA in them that I had marked in my PRIVATE AREA PUBLIC RESTORED back to PUBLIC as I had them marked PUBLIC and placed NO DATA in them for a purpose it was not GENI's right to turn them NON PUBLIC against my wishes and give me no means or options to turn them back to PUBLIC as I done this for a purpose - to share, to find distant cousins and those who I have lost contact with over the years - to me GENI has usurped my rights to have my tree displayed as I wish it to be - they say we own our material and have our rights but do we really since they can changed and dow with out profiles as they want and wish?
This is one of the rights they have recently taken away from us no matter who we are basic or pro.
Genealogy comes second to household bills etc. I try to find the best avenue with greatest vaule for the dollar.
I had to put genealogy on the back burner back when my husband died in 1990 I had 2 kids to get out of high school and out on their own - slowly late 1994 I started back in finishing data basing all my pen, pencil paper material into computer which I had started to do in 1986 finally after 10-15 years I managed to get that done.
I had hoped GENI was one way of passing on what I had which was freely and willingly given to me thorugh the years via snail-mail, pen, pencil, paper and that I had researched and added to my self anhd then computerized.
For those that haven't seen this already, I posted it on the Facebook group page yesterday. Re-posting here by request. ;)
Wall Street Journal interview with Gilad Japhet on the purchase of Geni.
"The churn rate is probably the lowest in the industry. It’s about 1.25% monthly. Ancestry, a public company, has a churn of about 3.5% monthly. People don’t want to lose their family legacy. They can of course export everything out and leave the website, and all their family members are typically on it that people don’t leave. A lot of people are taking long-term subscriptions like a five-year subscription.
In many other businesses they look for the shortest subscription possible. We are discouraging the purchase of long-term subscriptions because we want to ensure our cash flow is consistent, but a typical subscription is $75 a year for the premium, which is the lower tier, and $120 for premium plus, which is $10 a month. People who purchase five years in advance, they get a discount. We are more than doubling the subscribers every year, and for four years in a row our revenues have doubled every year."
If most lifetime members paid about $300, and most 5 yr members paid about half that at approximately $150.....seems like Geni / MH should be offering a better deal to lifetime members. If we paid 2x what a 5yr membership cost, shouldn't we get at least 2x the amount of membership time? How does a refund make sense either? That would leave me not being able to continue with my tree.
I'm disappointed, I'm hurt but that doesn't change the fact that I love working on Geni, I've met lots of distant cousins on the site, I've learned a lot about my ancestors.
Can Geni and MH come together, and in the holiday spirit make this wrong a right?
Private User - Check in your Account Settings, under "Geni Premium Account". You say, "So far we still have our PRO membership intact, ..." In the past when I looked here, I saw that I had a Lifetime Geni Pro Membership. Now when I look, I see, "You are Geni Pro. Your 5-Year ($417.00) subscription will automatically renew on Thursday, December 7, 2017. " [after first two choices (show Pro Badge, notify me of every credit card charge), above "Geni Pro Account Features"]. Do you see that also? Do you really think that is the same as having your Geni Pro Membership intact?
I wanted to give you a quick update.
If you have a lifetime subscription that was converted to a 5 Year Pro Subscription. The auto renewal on that subscription will be turned off so that you do not feel we are forcing you to become subscribers again.
Also, if you contacted us saying that you wanted a refund. We are issuing full refund and we have decided that you will still get to keep the 5 year Pro Subscription along with the MyHeritage data subscription.
It is honourable from Geni to admit the error and it is generous the way they did choose this solution.
It is never a shame to admit afterwards that the invention of lifetime subscriptions wasn't a good decision, and als lifetime pro users are the users who are the most to Geni connected users and will undoubtedly understand the move now!
You're right Beth Marie Beeman, they shouldn't be refunding us. They should be keeping our money and honoring our lifetime subscriptions.
I did write firstname.lastname@example.org 9 days ago to discuss the situation, no response so far...
the so called life time suscription is now at 5 yr and it does say "You are Geni Pro. Your 5-Year ($417.00) subscription will automatically renew on Thursday, December 7, 2017. " So when Mr Charles Edmods says the auto renewal will be turned off, its like maybe in the future.
And yes please I want my money back.
And when you disable the automatic renewal it cames back with:
"Jacinta - before you go, please give us a chance to keep you as a Geni Pro member with this exclusive discount - continue your premium membership for the low price of only $5.21 per month!
This special discounted rate is only available if you act now!"
No, dont want it, at all. Want my money back.
Beth Marie Beeman, you don't like other people getting some of the Pro benefits you paid for, for free. As someone who never was willing to pay hundreds of dollars for things we used to get free when I started on Geni, I see it the opposite way. When they took those privileges away, it hurt. Now they're giving then back.
Beth Marie Beeman, I don't understand your argument at all. Did you buy your Pro account as an investment for profit? If not then the value of your account hasn't dropped at all. There simply is no connection between your situation and that of anyone else.
Why aren't you happy to see Geni doing right by the people who took a big risk by buying those lifetime accounts?
I disagree Beth Marie Beeman. Because we have spent countless hours entering our family information (which is essentially intellectual property that Geni now owns and will use as actual or potential matches to attract new users), and because we were under the belief that we would have full access to that information for a lifetime, a simple refund is not adequate in my opinion.
I agree that Lifetimers should have a compensation for a broken contract, Im a Pro and I have no trouble knowing that Lifetimers get a free 5-year..
(And why should I?) And I dont think that Basic users gets everything Pros have for free, they are given back some of the functions that was lost some years ago.. But I believe that Pros are going to get access to some new functions..
I have no issue with there being different types of subscriptions, based on use and budget. I worry only about MY choice and whether I get value for what I pay. In my view, the PRO subscription that I have paid for annually every year since 2009 is well work what I have paid.
In fact it's a bargain for the capabilities that Geni has given me, the countless hours I have used Geni tools, and the huge family tree and global family I have managed to either discover, connect to, or develop because of Geni. And many others in my extended family, including cousins out to my 8th cousins, have benefited. That is value :)