Could one of the most popular genealogy websites be putting itself up for sale? This could be in the process of happening, but things are being kept quiet for now. It might be a good idea to make sure you have copies of all of the information you put on Ancestry.com, just in case.
In 2012, a buyout company called Permira Advisers outbid other private equity firms to take Ancestry.com private (for $1.6 billion). In other words, Permira owns most of the privately held Ancestry.com.
Since 2012, Permira has done some things that enhanced Ancestry.com. In 2013, they acquired Find A Grave. Many genealogists know that Find A Grave is a great online resource for finding burial information and photos of gravestones. The website has over 100 million memorials and 75 million photos.
In addition, Permira created Ancestry.com apps that can be used on both the iPhone and the iPad. They also enhanced the international content on Ancestry.com and secured a landmark agreement with FamilySearch. In 2012, Ancestry.com had 2 million subscribers. By the end of October of 2014, Ancestry.com had increased to 2.8 million subscribers.
Reuters reported in May of 2015 that Permira Advisers had hired investment banks to run an auction for Ancestry.com. The source of this information was unnamed because the sale process was confidential.
What does this news mean for genealogists who are currently using Ancestry.com? It means that you should pay attention to the news and look for updates about this sale. It is likely that nothing will be officially announced until the sale has been finalized. This is, of course, assuming that Permira Advisers finds a buyer.
In the meantime, it would be a good idea to make sure that you have a copy of everything that you have posted to Ancestry.com. It would be reasonable to presume that the company that purchases Ancestry.com would want to keep it running, since the website is very lucrative. It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on the purchase of a website and then immediately close it down.
Even so, the new company could potentially make changes to Ancestry.com that you may, or may not, like. Sometimes, when websites change ownership, the terms of service of the website can have some changes made to it.
In general, though, it is always advisable to make sure that you have a copy of all the genealogical information that you post online. Every family photo, family story, family tree, should be archived on your own computer (or an external drive). That way, if you decide to stop using a particular genealogy website, you won’t end up losing your precious genealogy data.
Image by Pictures of Money on Flickr.
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