I recently read a news article about social media “influencers”. As a matter of fact ti was a couple of articles. One article was about a business owner that decided to charge “influencers” double what he charges normal people . And I love his reason for doing it. First of all, is “influencer” a real job? I don’t think so. If you give me the Kardisians as an example of REAL “influencers” then I will give you back prime example of parasites on society. These so-called “influencers” are nothing more than parasites where they take (including the air they breath) without giving back anything of substance. Parasites. And those that follow them and hang on every word they say are ones with empty lives and weak-minded.
Recently, I decided to venture back into researching my family history. I had been quite a few years since I did any serious research. A lot of things changed since those days; Rootsweb has gone through a complete revamping where the personal genealogy websites have disappeared (inlcuding mine) and the maillists have undergone a total revision (they have migrated to a different platform). What I had to go through to reclaim my old genealogy maillists is for another post at another time.
There were a few changes that the genre has gone through, also. Although I wasn’t actively conducting research I still kept my fingers in the genre. I was still getting a few daily digests from certain maillists on other platforms. The last thing I remember doing was getting a new family tree software from Legacy Family Tree. Seems that there are now more new companies that cater to the genealogist and each one charges a price. Before you could find a few online services that helped the genealogist at no cost. FamilySearch.org and Cyndi’s List come to mind. Even the old Ancestry.com allowed you some basic access to information before they required a payment from you. No more. Ancestry.com won’t even allow you to access the submitted family trees without payment. THAT is annoying because Ancestry.com didn’t pay for that data…users freely submitted it. I don’t and I deleted whatever info I had there before. Unfortunaely, that information was already monetized and sold via their Family Tree CDs.
Now, you’ve got everybody pushing their services onto the genealogist. They allow you to seach their database but only give you a summary of what was found. To get details you have to pay for the subscription service. These are, again, Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, GenealogyBank, MyTrees, etc. And the prices they’re charging are exhorbitant. I would prefer to know the source and go there directly and pay their fee for the single record.
It seems to me that, thanks to the venture capitalists that bought Ancestry.com, genealogy research has gone mainstream but for the wrong reasons. It’s a lot of hyperbole but little in truth or promoting doing research correctly. That, also, is for another post.
The sticker shock for me is how everyone has increased their fees three-to-fivefold from where it was. I can see increasing prices to keep up with the costs but many seem to be taking advantage of genealogists. Especially with today’s technology the costs should be going down not up. The cost of a copy of a parent’s or grandparent’s SS-5 from the Social Security Admin went from $7.50 to $28.00??
You’re online searching out prices for a specific service such as auto insurance, life insurance, or maybe a new home. All you’re looking for is basic information and price but you’re not ready to take the next step. You’re in the exploratory stage. You really don’t want endless calls from salespeople with their endless pitches. But in order to get the information to display on your computer screen or sent to your email they require that you provide them with your phone number. You don’t want to give them your normal one because you don’t want your normal phone number to be constantly ringing at the most inconvenient times. But you still want the information and a contact person for when you are ready to take the next step. What to do?
I stumbled across a service/app some time ago that allows you to get a free second number that you can use as your business number or as a second phone number. It’s called Sideline (www.sideline.com/). The intention of the Sideline app is to give you a business phone number that connects with your existing mobile number. However, you can set calls to your Sideline number to go directly to voicemail for you to review later (this is what I do). In this way a smart salesperson can leave me a message that I can review and decide when I want to call them back. I also have a separate email address that I use for inquiries where I can review the information and decide what I want to do.
What I like about the Sideline phone number is that I don’t have to deal with high-pressure salespeople at their convenience. High-pressure salespeople rarely leave you a voicemail message, they will keep calling until you pick up the phone and they get to speak to you directly in order to manuveur you into a commitment to purchase from them. That’s probably why they’re so good at that jobs. I just don’t want to deal with it on their terms, preferring to deal with it on my terms.
That’s why I use Sideline as the phone number I place on inquiry forms online. I have other free tools that I have come across that I will detail in additional posts.