Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mocavo? Your Advertising Needs Work!

Today I got an e-mail from Mocavo attempting to get me to sign up for their site.  Far from encouraging me, it set me into active avoidance mode.

Mocavo.com, in case you haven't heard, is a genealogy website specializing in search and records.  They are adding thousands of new databases every month, attempting to join the other genealogy "big boys", Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com in providing tons of records and images to search for your ancestors.

 I've actually searched on Mocavo before, using their free access model on most occasions, and the Gold Access model during a free trial weekend.  Using it, I was able to find a few records, but the vast majority of my searches on Mocavo brought loads of unrelated records, with no real easy way to filter them out without also filtering out valid results as well.

That brings me to today's e-mail. They sent a message saying they had found a new result for someone I had previously searched, Clyde Dillman.  Clyde was my paternal great grandfather, and is one of my main touchpoints in my tree.  The e-mail included an image of what they'd found, but the image was unusual, so I went to the website to check it out.  Here's what I found:

As you can see, the image is of a group of men in hats, upside down.  Notice the yellow bars?  I'm guessing that's supposed to be text saying "Clyde Dillman".  As close as I've been able to check, there is no text in there at all.  Further, Clyde lived in Crawford County, Indiana for most of his life.  As far as I am aware, he was never in Racine County. 

So, we have a useless record return.  That's not unusual, and normally not something I would bother commenting about.  However, you'll note that Mocavo is using this as bait to get me to sign up for their Gold Service at $9.00/month.  Um, hello, Mocavo?  You should probably try to make sure a return is at least plausibly valid before using it as an enticement to subscribe...  I know it's a tough problem given the vast number of records, and the serious automation needed to make this all happen, but this kind of thing will cause people to actively avoid your service as incompetent, rather than luring them in.

I'm hoping they can improve their service as well as their advertising.  I really think we need more than just the big two services out there, and Mocavo looks to be working hard to catch up.  So I'll continue to keep my eye on Mocavo in the future.  But this just isn't getting me to join today.  Sorry, Mocavo!

This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2014 by Daniel G. Dillman