Protecting WikiTree's public reputation

+20 votes
GenSoftReviews  is a site where you can review genealogical programs and websites. Unfortunately one or more persons who are strongly opposed to WikiTree has been writing a large number of extremely negative, and in some cases provably false reviews. For instance it is claimed that MyHeritage has a commercial relationship with WikiTree and that WikiTree is a commercial operation that seeks to make profits from the genealogical data entered.

All this had led to WikiTree having one of the lowest rankings of all the programs on GenSoftReviews. Any person who had never used WikiTree who read through our reviews would probably be persuaded not to use this site.

Therefore I encourage everyone to write their own reviews in order to balance out the nonsense that is currently being placed on GenSoftReviews.
in The Tree House by Abm van Helsdingen G2G6 Mach 4 (46.8k points)
Most of the reviews seem to come from people who had difficulty with the site and never understood it.

Please go armed with facts.  WikiTree is a commercial operation, making revenue from advertising.  Chris has said so here on G2G.  I don't know what commercial relationships WikiTree has, and I suspect you don't either.  Does MyHeritage advertise on WT?  If so, that sounds like a commercial relationship to me.  Not that that's a bad thing, although disgruntled negative reviewers might try to make it out as a bad thing.  Please don't use inaccurate information to defend against inaccurate information.
The types of Ads displayed are not controlled by WikiTree, but instead by one's own browsing habits.

WikiTree does not have commercial relationships with those companies in the Ads.

And the Ads only appear to those not logged in (or no account)
Dennis is right. Some ads (Especially ones generated by Google) are usually determined by the types of sites you surf or Google. Say you surf a lot of sites about Nintendo games, you then get a ton of Nintendo based ads anywhere you go on the Internet. Adsense works with your browser cache. Sometimes they differ. Sometimes they don't. In this case, a user would get Myheritage or genealogy based ads depending on where they go.

I have an adblocker on my browser. I whitelist a few places like YouTube as people there depend on ads for a source of revenue. However, those ads are completely different from the ones found here.
Thanks Dennis and Chris F for the good info!  Still, fellow WTers, please don't write reviews claiming WT is a nonprofit.  It is not.  And please don't deny commercial relationships exist, because you do not know that for a fact any more than other reviewers know for a fact that such relationships do exist.  It's none of our business.  Please stick to what you personally know about WT, and leave it to Chris W and the team to respond to attacks on their business model.
Abm, thank you so much for posting this.

We do indeed have a commercial relationship with MyHeritage. Those ads are direct placements, not like the Google AdSense ones. Logout to see them.

Herbert is correct that we are for-profit. It confuses many people because we're mission-focused, the tree is free, and most members don't see ads.

Oh, another thing that can cause confusion about MyHeritage: they include data from WikiTree in their search results. To do this they make use of our free data dumps:

Anyone can use the public tree data as long as they promise not to charge for access.
Ok, contributed my 2cents worth.
Thanks for clarifying, Chris!
Thank you for clarifying the situation.
I wasn't sure about how ads worked on this site so that's why I didn't mention it. Still, to rail on a site for having a commercial relationship with Myheritage is kinda silly. Myheritage works with Geni, too. It's like going after all the genealogy sites who aren't Ancestry or Familysearch. That person's review should be taken with a grain of salt because he/she may not know what they're talking about.

Thanks for clearing this up, Chris. People do need to read the FAQ. If there's one thing people don't read online it's a FAQ section. They tend to ignore those like the plague.

9 Answers

+19 votes
Just posted mine. Some of the reviews indicate to total misunderstanding of the purpose of WikiTree.
by Sharon Caldwell G2G6 Mach 1 (17.4k points)
+17 votes
I posted my review. I made sure to include the ways in which I initially found WikiTree off-putting - and then explained how my opinion on those things has changed as I came to understand WikiTree better.

I don't know about others, but I tend to ignore reviews that are completely positive or negative. Also - one of the best things about WikiTree is that we (mostly, usually) don't come to our conclusions uncritically.
by Thomas Fuller G2G6 Mach 8 (86.4k points)
edited by Thomas Fuller

I did this too, Many reviews mention "steep learning curve". I particularly mentioned that I imported a gedcom from ancestry (yes one of those crappy with with all the wrong info) before knowing better and knowing the system, and how that was an issue to get straightened out. I still get bit in the butt by that...

It didn't seem to limit my words, so I encourage us all to be as thorough as I know wikitreer's can be.
Thomas-I may have written more than you, but hit post before I saw your brilliant idea "Posting my “last” paragraph first because I’m too verbose".

Thanks Allison!
+12 votes
There's going to be sour grapes any place you go on the Internet. I wouldn't let a few comments bother you. Are they untrue? Probably. Someone may have been banned from the site and decided to do a negative review out of spite. Someone may not fully understand what this site is about. The point is that we don't know what the source of the negativity is. Some people just live to be negative. Some people just like to watch the world burn. I just saw a review where someone said they were banned.

If you want to defend the site, go for it, I'm not saying you shouldn't. Just keep in mind that some people online just live to create drama and gaslight more issues.

 As for me, I'd let the site stand on its own. Does it have issues? Sure. No site is perfect. I'd let people come to their own decisions. It's only fair. Just be wary of those who just want to see the world burn.
by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (590k points)
Looked like a couple of disgruntled persons posted several times.

So very true. I follow a brand specific Rv page on Facebook. A very common thread is that people post the negative but not the positive. Just recently someone started a poll would you buy the brand again; within 2 hours there were 450 yes and 9 no.

It is hard to believe that people are critical of information being copied. Good grief don’t they realize that if you don’t want it copied then don’t publish it on any internet site!
Eva: That's common when someone posts reviews. Look at Amazon reviews or even Yelp. It happens a lot.

Kay: And besides. The same genealogical information can be found elsewhere. Familysearch for all its problems is a good resource for research. has a TON of books for people to check out. I used to think it was just for looking at old webpages that have since gone by the wayside. Or to see old layouts.

I still say post good reviews. Just keep in mind that these negative ones come from people with axes to grind.
+13 votes

I wouldn't worry about has a rating of 1.5 stars. Most of the higher rated products are for products no one has ever heard of and only have a few ratings or are for products that no longer exist.

by Chase Ashley G2G6 Pilot (256k points)
edited by Chase Ashley
Agreed. This isn't exactly the Yelp of genealogy sites.
I started looking after writing a review to see what I was missing. I guess not much?
+9 votes
Posted my review - check!
by Bart Triesch G2G6 Pilot (256k points)
+9 votes
Cool.  I've added my review.
by Chris Weston G2G6 Mach 1 (17.5k points)
+8 votes
Posted my review.    Thanks for letting us know!
by Peggy McReynolds G2G6 Pilot (450k points)
+12 votes
Maybe I'm just too old (I'm a 70 year old retired engineer), but I really hate "social media."  So much of it is about "reviews" which are meaningless.  What do we care about trolls trolling around creating havoc?  Sheesh.  

The next step is for the so-called social sites to figure out how to inject sanity into their offerings.  Until then it's just stupidity gone public.  Get off FB, reject internet "voting" and "reviewing."  It's just a platform, as they all claim, but they are platforms for BS.  IMHO.

Pardon my outrage, I can't help myself.  I was one of the people who helped create Usenet and transition the Darpa Net into the internet as we know it.
by Robin Anderson G2G6 Mach 4 (40.7k points)
Note to self:  Stay off Robin's lawn.
Still gotta give her mad props, though. =)

She does have a point.

Go on Amazon and you'll see bad reviews for *GOOD* movies. People just like to be jerks. They feel the screen protects 'em.

Social media is good for when you have something to present. Online reviews aren't social media. Those are platforms for people to be jerks. And that can't be helped.

smiley   sorry for the rant and thanks for the support.

Eh, I've seen worse rants. Don't worry about it. =)
+8 votes
There is help coming!  See which analyzes online reviews (now only at and for frequency and word usage in order to give a sense of how authentic the reviews of a given item or service are.  He is expanding to other online sites as he can.  

Of course, I imagine more of these will emerge (and compete with reviews, forming recursive rabbit holes).  But his results appear to be useful, and, to me at least, a comfort.
by Robin Anderson G2G6 Mach 4 (40.7k points)
HAHAHA! That is brilliant!

Related questions

+8 votes
2 answers
+6 votes
0 answers
153 views asked Jun 22, 2016 in Genealogy Help by Scot Trodick G2G1 (1.1k points)
+3 votes
3 answers
158 views asked Nov 23, 2020 in The Tree House by Teresa Davis G2G6 Mach 4 (49.7k points)
+19 votes
6 answers
+5 votes
1 answer
92 views asked Jan 22, 2020 in Genealogy Help by Lois Tilton G2G6 Pilot (152k points)
+3 votes
1 answer
258 views asked Aug 31, 2019 in The Tree House by Living Bethune G2G6 (6.7k points)

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright