Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ancestry.com and Footnote.com

The word has been out for a few months now about Ancestry's purchase of Footnote, but the deal was apparently not officially done until a few weeks ago. Footnote sent a note to its subscribers soon after the ink had dried. Here it is:

"Several weeks ago Footnote.com (as part of iArchives) agreed to be acquired by Ancestry.com and that transaction has officially closed today [21 October]. As we join forces with Ancestry.com there is a huge opportunity to leverage each other’s strengths and move even faster toward our goals. You may be curious about how this deal effects members of Footnote.com? The plan is to continue to run Footnote.com the way we have always run Footnote.com — continuing to do what we believe is best for our customers, our business and our brand.
"Now that the deal is officially closed we are excited to leverage some of Ancestry.com’s resources and expertise to take Footnote.com to the next level. It has been exciting to see Footnote.com grow over the past 4 years. Footnote.com started with only 5 million historical documents and today we have nearly 70 million searchable documents, over 1 million members, nearly 100,000 Footnote Pages, and over half million annotations added. We couldn’t have done it without our members and the great team at Footnote.com and we are excited for Ancestry.com’s support in the next chapter."

It is difficult to predict the precise future in regards to footnote. Most likely, in my opinion, it will continue to exist in tandem with Ancestry. There is some overlap in the offerings of the two sites, but mostly they are complementary. It would also be reasonable to expect that Ancestry subscribers will be offered a reduced subscription rate to Footnote.

I personally remain enthusiastic about Footnote.com. It offers a great historical perspective through digitized original documents which is often helpful in understanding our ancestors' lives. And where Footnote and Ancestry overlap, Revolutionary War pension applications and compiled service records for example, Footnote's presentation is much preferred.

As you may recall, in the first half of 2010 the PGS offered to its members a reduced subscription rate for Footnote. We intend to do that again in 2011. I had a conversation last week with Brian Hansen, the GM of Footnote, and he was very open to establishing our relationship again in 2011.

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