APG-L Archives

Archiver > APG > 2009-04 > 1239064943

From: "Dee Dee King,Certified Genealogist" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Ancestry.com Expert Connect
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2009 17:42:23 -0700 (PDT)
In-Reply-To: <0B5A433957BA31498833AA82D29A90CA01016216C1@ex01.myfamily.int>

Todd, with all due respect. The right questions ARE being asked. As one of the vocal askers, when we will see some answers to the specific questions that are not in the marketing talking points?

with best regards,


----- Original Message -----
From: "Todd Godfrey" <>
Sent: Monday, April 6, 2009 7:31:39 PM (GMT-0600) America/Chicago
Subject: Re: [APG] Ancestry.com Expert Connect

It has been good to see the discussion today about Expert Connect. We've had a terrific response in terms of registrations and more importantly people are asking great questions about the service. While not all of the feedback is positive (which is to be expected) I continue to see the right questions are being asked. There have been a number of common themes in the comments today. We have posted information and responses to these questions on our blog at expert.ancestry.com so that the information can be shared with those not on this list. I hesitate to add all the detail here as my message will be very long, but will do so for now based on the comments made today about keeping everyone on the list informed.

Thanks to the many who have contacted me directly with questions, feedback, and comments. I am happy to speak with you directly anytime!

------------------------ Posts from expert.ancestry.com blog ---------------------------

Client Relationships

Expert Connect is all about connecting potential clients with qualified providers. Our role is facilitating the connection. The new client relationship is owned by you, the provider. We are investing heavily in bringing these new potential clients to you and have a vested interest in ensuring they have a great experience and want to engage you further. Because of our unique role connecting clients and providers through Expert Connect we request that future projects with those clients remain managed through the Expert Connect service for the first year. There is no request for providers to move their existing clients (or new clients they find through other means) to Expert Connect. This service should compliment other methods that professionals already use to find new clients. We simply want to ensure that we provide a good environment for our members to engage these services.

Todd Godfrey
Ancestry.com Expert Connect

Client Payments
There are many approaches we could have taken to collect payments from clients and enable payments to be made to providers. After researching this and many other service industries, we have elected to take the following approach - Providers will not be asked to do work that isn't fully funded and Clients will not be asked to release funds to providers for work that isn't completed. This approach balances the feedback we have received from both providers and consumers.

It is clear that a significant pain point for professional research is collecting payment - particularly when the research hours spent result in little or no available information. Setting expectations with clients that effort made may not result in actual findings is critical, but professionals will and should be paid when they invest the time and effort agreed to. The service also allows professionals to setup a mid-point payment milestone - a point in the project where 50% of the funds can be released according to whatever terms were agreed to with the client in the original bid.

For consumers, the biggest fear we heard from our surveys and interactions was that they would pay all the money up front to a professional and then the work would never be done. That is an unacceptable situation for anyone and their role in releasing the funds to the professional provides some level of protection against it. There will be times when a dispute arises. There are standard methods in many industries for handling these disputes and we'll post about our best-practices approach next.

Todd Godfrey
Ancestry.com Expert Connect

Professional Qualifications

We've had many inquiries about our efforts to qualify providers for certain types of service. Custom Research is a great example of a service where a higher level of experience and training is important to provide a great client result vs. a service such as Local Photo where the experience level may be less of an issue. Our approach is to review the qualifications of those seeking to provide "professional" services. These services include Custom Research, Record Lookup, and Ask an Expert. There is not currently a single standard for defining a professional and we have been hesitant to create additional certifications by developing our own. Instead we have worked with APG, BCG, ICAPGEN and other professionals to establish acceptance criteria based on what is available in the industry today. We will verify credentials with BCG and ICAPGEN before accepting them as one of the potential qualifiers or making those credentials public. It is clear to us that clients will hold Ancest!
ry.com equally accountable for results from this service - quality professionals are critical to everyone's success.

Todd Godfrey
Ancestry.com Expert Connect

Changing Project Terms Mid-Stream
Thank you for the great input so far. I wanted to discuss the flexibility we've designed for providers and clients when it comes to managing your research projects. With any professional services engagement, it is important to be clear up-front about the steps you will take to provide your client with the research they are hiring you to conduct. When agreement is first reached you will describe your project deliverables along with the agreed cost of the project. On some occasions, however, your research will uncover some tasks that may not have been considered. Expert Connect provides features to help you and your client address changes to your agreement.

We provide an online message board. You and your client can exchange private messages, as well as privately upload and share any type of electronic file. As you progress through your research project, you can continually upload new messages and files to the message board and ask your client for comments or clarification. That same message board can also be used to communicate the need to adjust the original agreement.

The modify terms feature enables you to manage changes to the terms of your agreement. You can use the modify terms feature to edit your project milestone(s) and their associated costs. Your client will receive a notification of your request for changes and be able to accept them or use the message board for in-depth communication with you. If the change includes additional costs your client will be required to place those funds in reserve before you continue working on the project.

We're currently working on some of the nuances of these features. If you have any comments or suggestions we would love to hear them!

Best Regards,

Lorenzo Mellon-Reyes
Product Manager - Ancestry.com Expert Connect

Resolving Disputes

Over the years, I've worked with a number of online client-professional services engagements, ranging from legal contracts and copywriting, to website design and application development. I've found the most important aspect is a professional's ability to communicate clearly, often, and effectively with a client about the services they are able to deliver. As the subject matter experts in family history research, clients rely on you to ask the right questions and correctly set their expectations. The primary cause of disputes between clients and professionals that I've seen is a gap in this critical communication.

As mentioned in my earlier posting, Expert Connect provides a message board to allow frequent private communication and sharing of files with clients. On rare occasions when communication breaks down a dispute may be filed by either party. Disputes may arise from issues such as unwarranted negative feedback ratings, clients feeling the deliverable is not as agreed, or providers not meeting deadline expectations. Mediation is provided by Expert Connect. Our initial step is to work to assist both parties in resolving the dispute themselves (traditional mediation). We will ask both parties to post onto the message board the reasons they believe the services were or were not properly delivered. The mediator will then ask both parties to post what they would accept as a reasonable resolution to the dispute. Both parties will be asked to negotiate that resolution, with direction from the mediator. Once both parties have come to an agreement, the mediator will make any online adjus!
tment to terms, payment, and/or feedback ratings.

If the parties are not able to agree to a resolution, Expert Connect will move onto the Arbitration phase. Expert Connect will review all of the project details, message board postings, original terms agreement and file attachments and ask both parties for additional relevant information. Expert Connect will review the information and documentation. Where the dispute is about the substance or quality of the research this may include a review of the deliverable by qualified Ancestry staff. The decision made by Expert Connect will be binding (an additional incentive for the parties to come to their own agreement in mediation).

Our intent is to build an initial experience that educates both clients and providers to minimize disputes - properly setting expectations in the original agreement and encouraging frequent communication along the way. We understand the need for dispute resolution will still exist and have put these policies and procedures in place to handle these rare situations.

As always, your comments and suggestions on this topic are greatly appreciated.

Lorenzo Mellon-Reyes
Product Manager - Ancestry.com Expert Connect


To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to with the word 'unsubscribe' without the quotes in the subject and the body of the message

Dee Dee King, Certified Genealogist (sm), Certificate 903
PO Box 1085
Manvel TX 77578

Forensic Genealogy Services is the Service Mark of Forensic Genealogy Services, LLC. Certified Genealogist (CG) is a service mark (sm) of the board for Certification of Genealogists® conferred to associates who consistently meet ethical and competency standards in accord with peer-reviewed evaluations every five years.

This thread: