This seems like an odd debate to be having. When I make consumer purchases I worry about only whether I'm getting the best deal in the moment and whether the price is worth it to me.
When I buy something, anything from a new car to a can of soup, I don't lose sleep worrying that someone else got a better deal a month later.
Private User Geni no longer supports Lifetime memberships. Lifetime subscriptions were converted to 5 Year Pro Subscriptions and we also gave a complimentary 5 year. Some users preferred to have a refund and we have submitted full refunds to anyone that contacted Customer Service but we have decided to allow them to keep the both subscriptions
Andrew de Naray, what's preventing you from removing work that is your IP unless this work is not your IP to begin with? Census records, public domain information, photographs that are not you or in your trust. Whatever the law states about IP. If it's not yours then you should not remove. The only time I would ever remove something that is mine is if I was prevented from using it elsewhere (I.E., making a duplicate of my family tree here on werelate). I don't know about you but for myself, I'm a firm believer of the U.S. constitution where it says "To promote the progress of science and useful arts" and to me removing family tree information on ones site is taking a direction towards the stone age rather than taking a step towards the information age where everyone is learning more and more about ourselves and each other.
I think you're misunderstanding me (or I'm misunderstanding the gist of your post). I have not threatened to remove my family from the tree in this or any other thread. (Although other people have.)
I'm saying that the family information I (and other users) have contributed to Geni was OUR personal information prior to being entered into Geni. Information that we, and other people in our families gathered, and were sole owners of until that information was entered into Geni.
Now I have given that information to Geni (under the belief that I had a lifetime subscription). Geni can now use the information I have entered to hypothetically tell someone else "you have a tree match," which may generate revenue for Geni. I gave that information to them under the belief that I was a lifetime member. And now the terms have changed, but they now own my information forever...
That, combined with the hours spend merging profiles, etc. makes Geni a more functional product/service. What I'm saying is, none of that can be compensated by a refund of the initial purchase price alone.
Does that make sense?
Andrew I have done the same under belief I am an annual subscriber. Basic members have done the same. Why is the value of the research any different based on subscription level? How can anyone evaluate that?
Your "belief" may have been "ok I am investing in a lifetime platform.". But since the internet itself is only XX years old ... How can that be defined?
Now I agree the intellectual property is beyond price. But Geni is an entrepreneurial start up company in a merciless, capitalist marketplace, using some of the principles & techniques of "crowd sourcing" content - which is clever indeed, and perhaps "unfair."
BUT in return they have offered an extraordinarily adroit, user friendly, responsive platform. It's been a fair exchange and at fair market rates as far as I'm concerned.
I thought of the lifetime subscribers as those taking a chance on a start up. I've learned from this discussion that I was mistaken in my own idealism.
Erica Howton, consider me naive if you wish (obviously you do), but I thought buying something called "Lifetime" meant it was for a lifetime. Why would it be called that otherwise? Do you really think that is okay, Erica? To sell something called "lifetime" and then not honor it?
Maybe if I were able to GEDCOM all the information I have connected to on Geni (and take it elsewhere), but since the rule changes have taken effect, now that is not even possible. If I want to retain this information, I am now locked into Geni for a lifetime (minus the full access I initially purchased).
And I'm sorry I've wrecked your idealistic take on e-commerce, but I don't see it the same way you do. Geni is a company selling a product that it should stand by just like any other company should stand by their product or service. The internet is the rule now, not the exception. Internet companies are doing more business than brick and mortar companies. So I think your concept of "internet startup" is a bit antiquated.
There is a very big difference between a limited-time subscription and a lifetime subscription. A lifetime subscriber believes that he is getting married to Geni for life and, in so doing, truly believes that he is and will continue to live happily ever after until death ends the relationship. Lifetime subscribers tend to be significantly more loyal. They devote more time due to the very nature of the relationship, a lifetime relationship! A lifetime subscription is like buying a home for life -- you repair it and take care it with much love and attention.
A limited-time subscriber is not getting married to Geni, it is a short relationship similar to a renter and a landlord in which the renter does not take pride in lifetime ownership of a property because they know they can easily move and rent elsewhere. A lifetime subscriber is of the belief that he is not moving and that Geni will be his home forever. A lifetime subscriber takes pride in being a lifetime partner with Geni, a relationship where you don't mind depositing your entire tree because you believe that you are a part owner of the company due to the very nature of the relationship, a lifetime relationship.
In short, I completely agree with Andrew de Naray when he says that he has given all of his information to Geni "under the belief that he had a lifetime subscription."
I have actually poured a significant amount of energy into Geni, including all of my known information because I also believed that I had purchased a lifetime subscription. Just ask yourselves the following question: Do you give all of your love and money to your one-night stand or do you give it to your monthly or annual extramarital love affair with a different woman or man or do you ultimately give it to your wife and mother of your children?
I'm not trying to brag but I've put significant time, labor & I suppose $ into Geni with far less expectations. Im sure most of us have worked for companies that have folded, been bought out, etc. Etc. That's the nature of business; actually, include non profit corporations and government departments in this.
Life is change, and that change can be very hard on us, very emotional. But it does (generally speaking) work out for the best in the long run.
Really I am not interested in arguing with anyone at all! I did not purchase a lifetime subscription; I felt badly about the end of them. I expressed that. Geni came back with what looks to this outsider like a more than fair deal.
I'm not you 'all, I have MORE money and MORE "intellectual capital" invested. It's been very worthwhile for me, I couldn't even begin to calculate the ROI.
Actually I don't understand anyone who looks at "learning" in that way.
All I'm saying is that former "lifetime" members got a full refund and pro plus benefits for 5 years (which I consider extraordinarily nice), freebie members got the right to merge back (it's free for goodness sake), pro members didn't really see any new benefit and in fact some of the pro benefits are now given for free. Where's the equity here? I wish that there had been a more organized and thoughtful rollout of this merger.
Now, I've been a pro member for a long time, pre-dating any of the free membership issues and, in fact, I just renewed my membership on the 3rd of December. I've spent countless hours here sourcing profiles with photos and data. My focus has been quality rather than quantity. Now I'm unable to download a full GEDCOM, as I'm limited to the number of actual profiles that I have added (why is this an important factor?) and my family tree up to my 3rd generation will now become public at some point. All of this gives me pause for thought. So I'm not adding anything else til all of this commotion dies down and I can get a handle on what the new owners of the Big Tree have in store for us. I guess you can say that I'm going to sit in the bleachers and watch for a bit.
Why is it that not one single curator can support or even understand the position that lifetime subscribers are currently involved in! Were curators told "don't bother purchasing lifetime subscriptions" or is it because they are given special treatment (perhaps even a lifetime that is being honored for them but not for us) or are they just intimidated to the point of being required to talk, walk and quack like a Geni Dream Team Member or else lose their status as a curator?
Yes. It does take time and thank goodness, I have the time to wait. I guess that's my point. They should have sat tight until they really understood the product before rolling out any intermediary changes. People are finicky about genealogy. It's about family after all. How an this not be personal ;)
Enrique, as an attorney you should know better than to use innuendos. Being upset should not mean you lose your common sense and start libeling people.
I pay for my Pro membership every year. I don't buy lifetime memberships personally, ever. Those of us who buy annual Pro memberships will end up paying quite a bit more than lifetime members, especially now.
Some curators said that they had lifetime memberships themselves.
And quite a few curators have said that they understand the upset feelings of lifetime members.
You all can say over and over again how generous you think Geni/MH is being, acting as though we are being so greedy (sure I want something back--the information that I've acquired IS the ROI) when all we want is what we bought. Nothing more, nothing less. And I have thus far declined a refund.
Yes, we get it, and we don't expect you to understand because you're not lifetime subscribers. Belittling our concerns and attempts to vent frustration makes it very clear that you can only speak from your own POV.
Doesn't change anything for me. Stand by your promises. Honor your contracts.
Andrew If you believe I have belittled anything I apologize for that impression because it was not my intent.
I tried to put myself in the position of a lifetime subscriber as I certainly did think about purchasing it (and wish I had). I've been laid off from companies that went under and survived a huge corporate merger. I know the stress and anxiety that put everyone through, including me!
I was relieved at the more recent offer from Geni, it seemed a better deal. I agreed publicly with Beth's comment just now. Honestly, what more can I do?
Andrew de Naray - if I were you, I would be venting my frustrations. You have every right and reason to do so. Would I prefer that there were less negativity previously and more discussion. Yes. That's my opinion which you can ignore.
My comment was specifically in response to Enrique's innudendos about curators which I corrected. Even being upset does not excuse being insulting and saying false, negative things about other Geni users who are volunteers and spend their time helping users with genealogy and with the Geni tools.
Your issue is with Geni. Attacking curators is not relevant and not warranted.
Enrique Treat Gleason (Gleeson), Esq., your comments about curators are out of line. I haven't commented. I don't plan to. When people start doing drama, I stay out of it. As simple as that.
I'm sorry to see this thread has gotten out of hand. I understand people's frustrations -- it's a vexing situation. Enrique is a good guy, that feels his trust has been betrayed, and I think many of us can identify with that sentiment. As Curators, we wish we could help, but the truth is only the Geni staff has any power to do so. All we have to offer are our opinions, so please take them as such and know that we make them with the best of intentions.
Hahahaha, thanks for the bit of levity, Vello Suigussaar.
I have noticed that anybody (every non-pro) can merge trees and profiles.
I also have noticed that there are a lot of "donald ducks" and "goblins" out there. When pros merged I had the feeling that they at least tried to do their best which I cannot assume from free users.
I have entered 1302 profiles so far and I do not want to have them merged with anybody without my knowledge! Therefore I will change all profiles I entered from public to private.
There is another discussion going on just about this subject (Public/private). For many good reasons a lot of people want to have the profiles public but under the existing conditions I am afraid that a lot of work might be destroyed by amateur merges.
The consequence of all this is to skip myheritage (which has an extremely poor interface) and geni.com and build your own tree i "familysearch" as I used to do. Ancestry is also being sold right now and probably not a good choice.