Sunday, October 11, 2009

Should others pay for someone's web space?

Dear Cousins,

More often than not more and more I see people charging fees for all kinds of things - now perhaps some fees are legitimate but I think that when someone is asking for donations of any kind, it should be clearly stated how those funds will be distributed and what costs are we talking about as well as how much? I for one am not interested in donating my money when I have no idea where the funds will be spent.

To be honest, I'm quite disappointed when I see other genealogists asking for donations especially to pay the yearly fee for their web sites, the research books they purchase and so on. If they cannot afford their web site then there are plenty of free hosting sites on the Internet.

Most genealogists I have known over the years have always given freely of their time. Now as in all things there certainly are exceptions. For instance, people who have spent a good deal of money publishing a genealogy or historical work certainly are entitled to remuneration when people purchase their books. That is a given. What really surprises me is when someone is asking for donations to pay for their own personal web site.

The way I look at it, no one asked us to have a web site. If we choose to have one with our own domain name; if we choose to post whatever we would prefer to have on our site; in other words if the web site belongs to the individual... then how does it become "our site" that someone would expect others to pitch in to pay for?

I love the server I am on - for only $72 a year, I have an unbelievable amount of web space, a domain name, free set up and 24/7 support from ICDSoft! I have been with ICDSoft going on eight years and I cannot imagine nesting the Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home on any other server. (Please note: If you decide to have a site with them please tell them I sent you and I'll get a discount when I pay for another year.

If you do the math, $72 a year is only $6 a month so I keep wondering why anyone would ask people for donations to maintain a personal web site. Of course I also notice that these people do not say what it costs for their site ... they simply ask for "donations". I still cannot believe it.

Of course, everyone's time is valuable but I have often asked myself whether I enjoy digging into records, sharing the information freely with others or not. Isn't this what genealogists do? We also need to be honest and admit that genealogists, even certified genealogists, do not usually make much money doing research.

The Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home could have been a pay site long ago. In August of 2007, when they were just starting up, WorldVitalRecords contacted me wanting to post all of my information on their web site and my site would become a for pay site. I supposed this could have been a lucrative agreement for me but in my heart of hearts, I could not bring myself to such an agreement - in fact, my refusal was instantaneous. So for more than ten years now the Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home has remained free for all researchers who come to find information. I have met many wonderful people through AAH

Yes, I have incurred many fees over the years. I have purchased an abundance of research books. I have had subscriptions to NEHGS and I have traveled years to Moncton sometimes with the express purpose of finding information for others as so many people email me asking for help.

Well this is what I've been thinking about when I recently realized that some people want others to pay for everything - in my view, it is *not* fair. If having to pay for a web site is a burden then those people might want to stick to blogging to share their information and let go of their web site and as I've said, use a free hosting site.

It certainly blows me away when I know that it costs only the equivalent of $6 a month for web space on ICDSoft - so go figure!

Have a nice Sunday and to all our Canadian cousins, Happy Thanksgiving!



Lori E said...

I agree Lucie. I am careful about who gets my information only because I don't want them selling it later. But my tree is your tree. It doesn't just belong to me even if I am the one who did the research.

My Writer's Challenge link is up. Why not add your story to the rest. Just tell us about something really nice someone has done for you. I bet yours would be genealogy related.

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said...

Thank you Lori - I'll check out your Writer's Challenge ;o)

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

I don't personally care if someone does ask for $$$ - however I agree that since in any case donations don't usually amount to much it might be easier to switch - as you suggest - to one of the new types of free sites such as Wordpress / Bloggr etc.
Also, I particularly agree with Lori's comment about the fact that many sites are built up also through using other people's resources (time &/or money &/or expertise). One example I would give is that many volunteers - under your guidance and inspiration - banded together for the incredible cemetery photo index you have on AAH. You also work with experts such as the acclaimed Acadian researcher S. White.
All have contributed in a free sharing of knowledge in the interests of everyone so it would be difficult to monetize such a site retroactively.
In any case, this was an interesting post because it is part of the wider on-going discussion about the pros/cons of the commercialization of our sites. I am still wrestling with several of these issues myself as I plan the future direction of my own blog so I appreciate hearing different viewpoints.
Evelyn in Montreal

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said...

Thank you for your comments Evelyn. What you say is very true. People should not be making money off the back of others also.

Again, no one has forced us to do what we love doing - so no one should have to pay to support our "habit" lol.

Tootsie said...

must say that I came to read this to see what you meant about the offensive part of your Oct 11 post...what ever it was that promted such mean comments to have come that you did not publish them...must have hit a nerve...
I tend to agree with every word you just wrote..
and most of all this is YOUR are free to express your opinion any way you like!

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said...

Hi Tootsie - Thank you for posting. You express yourself very well.

By the way, I LOVE your blog. I have several flower beds so I really enjoyed your blog this morning.