Ancestry.com has an advertising campaign in full swing right now. I’ve seen them on TV and I’ve seen their ads plastered on websites.
I’m as curious about my roots as the next guy. I decided to take a look.
First I created my “family tree.” They allowed me to enter my name and “start my tree.” What a green friendly website. Lots of trees and leafs and such.
I then tried to add my spouse. Bingo! The first hurdle. They want me to fill out some form before continuing. Let’s see. It’s a “save tree” function and it only really wants my email address. I think I can live with that. Let’s continue.
I then went to add my father. That seemed to work as well. Here they had some “good news” for me. They had found an “ancestry hint” on my dad. I opened it to take a look.
Yep, that’s my dad alright. They had his birth date and place of birth correct. They also had the correct day he died, although the location was wrong. He didn’t die in the United States. He was in Mexico at the time trying some weirdo funky treatments for cancer at a rip-off medical resort. Ancestry.com said the information about my dad came from “2 public member trees.” Apparently some other Ancestry.com members were the source of their information about my dad.
I tried adding several more members of my tree. I never received another “ancestry hint.”
I then clicked the “review hint” button back on my dad’s record. BINGO! That took me to the Trial Membership page. Of course, I knew all along that this was my eventual destination where they were guiding me. I kept my mind open and went to look by clicking the “continue” button.
That’s when I landed on this little nugget*:
World Deluxe Membership 14-Day Free Trial
You won’t be billed if you cancel online or call before your free trial ends. Your price after the 14–day free trial is $299.40 for your annual subscription (plus any applicable tax).
To get my “free” trial I have to sign up for a $299.40 payment? And, here’s the kicker, you actually think your website is worth $24.95 a month??? I’ve spent some time on this planet and never in my entire life have a seen a website ask for that kind of money.
It’s my humble opinion that a free trial shouldn’t require a credit card. Of course, they want that payment to trigger automatically unless you do something to stop it. That’s how they get you.
Sorry, I can’t really afford $24.95 a month and for inaccurate information to boot. If I can find your online axe tool I’ll be chopping down my family tree. Of course, there is probably a charge for that, too. If George Washington was one of my ancestors maybe I can borrow his hatchet? That would make it a family heirloom.
Goodbye expensive tree website. Eat my ass.
* This was apparently their default offer that I reached by clicking the “continue” button. I logged in later and noticed you can also pay by the month. It’s $29.95 a month for the “World Deluxe Membership” and $19.95 a month for “US Deluxe Membership.” The difference is access to their world database.