Kimberly Powell on About.com has an interesting article on Kimberly's Genealogy Blog: USGenWeb - Where Are They Moving? I was surprised to see how many USGenWeb site are moving off the free RootsWeb servers after The Next Generations announced them being "transplanted" to the Ancestry.com domain. (See my March 13th article: RootsWeb Announcement for more details.)
I understand there is a lot of anti-Ancestry.com feelings out there. Myself I am not to sure what to make of it. They say there are no ramifications to me but I have a free website hosted by RootsWeb (Ancestry) and any new web pages I create there will have a different URL so I have to conform to the changes.
One of the reasons I have my website on RootsWeb's freepages is because I want my website to be preserved if I happen to die. I don't want to have my pages disappear from the internet just because my kids didn't want to pay for web hosting forever. I appreciate Ancestry's commitment to keeping RootsWeb pages free.
Maybe with the changes Ancestry will be personally glad that some are moving their website off the freepages because then they don't have to pay to host them. For all I know this could just be a wise business decision on Ancestry's part to preserve what data is on the RootsWeb servers.
What if the RootsWeb servers are several generations out of date? What if those servers were never updated and crashed and we lost all our data stored there? I bet a lot of people would be telling Ancestry they should of done what they are doing right now. We always see things differently in hindsight.
Another plus is if newer hardware is used search time could go down and newer search algorithms could allow for better results than in the old system. Then again with RootsWeb part of Ancestry you could more easily incorporate RootsWeb data into Ancestry searches. More people will find my site with family history on it. I'm all for more traffic especially if I'm not paying for the bandwidth. I used to have my website hosted on Geocities and when I put up some pictures my family knocked me off because I exceeded the bandwidth. I haven't had that issue on RootsWeb.
I'm sure all that free hosting for people is mighty expensive for Ancestry. Yes, they will make money off their clicks increase meaning more cost to advertisers on their site but free isn't really free for someone down the line. This move should help reduce the bottom line for supporting RootsWeb since the servers will now most likely be in the same room with Ancestry's so the same processes and people can maintain both systems.
My hands are up in the air on this one. I can see benefits and issues on both sides. Right now all I can say is couldn't you of fixed this problem somehow without changing the URLs? I'll go sit in my little corner now and be quiet.
See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!