Free existence for group

+12 votes
I am curious, how can this all be free?  There must be costs somewhere.  Some groups are free but supported by advertising. The reason for this question is that Genforum was free (at least parts) as is RootsWeb. However both were purchased by Ancestry. Genforum no longer exists as an active group and RootsWeb existence is discussed sometimes as being in peril.  There is the statement that this site is free forever.  Does someone own the site? and if they die who inherits it and will that person want to continue it?  What happens when the technology changes, will WikiTree have to pay for updates?  Again what assurance that this site will continue to exist?  The learning curve on this is very high (one reason I started a support group in my area) and it will take a long time to get things right. I am 70 so don't have a lot of time left, so by the time I get things perfect, how do I know the info will be available for my relatives?  Questions, questions!!
in The Tree House by James LaLone G2G6 Mach 5 (58.4k points)

2 Answers

+3 votes
Genforum was just OK to me.  But I really miss Rootsweb.  It was more geared toward sharing sources, at least in the places I hung out, and much less emphasis on sharing "trees".  The tree-sharing has always been the most popular among the majority who don't dig as deep for good data.  But Rootsweb was a bit special in attracting more of the serious type.  Rootsweb wasn't free for me because I did contribute.  And the selling out to Ancestry was a big betrayal.  Ancestry has killed off everything good so if the trend holds, don't be surprised if one day the urls are  And even if that doesn't happen they've already done serious damage with all low quality data transferred here.  I wouldn't recommend counting on any online site for long term archival - try to leave it in some form a family member can use if and when one shows interest someday.
by Living Anonymous G2G6 Mach 4 (47.7k points)
I had some very good responses in genforum, I think a lot had to do with the people registered in each group.  RootsWeb still exists and again it depends on the members for good responses. Thanks.
I miss the old RootsWeb, too, Mikey.  I know it still exists, but you don't have the same contributions now that it is owned by  I inherited my father's high school yearbooks, so I submitted spreadsheets of all the seniors listed in each book.  Like you, I also contributed funds to RootsWeb.  I contributed a lot to Find A Grave, too, and sponsored (with donations) a lot of pages - all now under the umbrella.  I hope that WikiTree does not go to in the future.
+9 votes

The owner of WikiTree is Chris Whitten.  My understanding is that this site and its infrastructure, technology, etc. are supported by the ads that run along the right hand side of posts on the G2G forum.  Chris and/or the team would have to give you more detail than that about how they plan to keep the site free in the future. 

by Kyle Dane G2G6 Pilot (102k points)
This is interesting, I'm not seeing any ads on the G2G site?? Thanks.
I'm not seeing any today either.  I'm not sure how the system works and when/where it displays ads, other than that I have only seen and heard about them being on forum posts.  

I'm sure you will see them, eventually, though, unless they changed something and I haven't heard about it.
I believe the ads appear if you do not login, so those who wan to search WikiTree without joining will see the ads.
Ok, thank you.
Kyle and Star are correct. Most ads disappear when you are logged in. If you logout you will see them on profile pages.

James, the best answers I have to your question above and what you posted on my profile are at
Thank you.

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