I received an e-mail asking me to take a survery for Ancestry.com about my experience with their autosomal AncestryDNA product. Glory be – did they realize what they were asking???
Always anxious to improve our experience, and somewhat curious, I took the survey. Most of the questions had “buttons” ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Many questions were very general in nature and asked if you had discovered something new about yourself or your family, if you had made a connection with someone new, etc. I can just see the resulting marketing now: “More than 90% of our customers found a new relative as a result of DNA testing. You can too!”
In one case, I indicated that I “strongly disagreed” and the next question was a text box and a question about why I disagreed, but not all “strongly disagree” answers produced text boxes. I took that opportunity to say that I was unhappy about not having chromosome mapping or raw data to download. As the questions continued, it became clear why these tools are not a priority to Ancestry.
The clincher, and the real driving factor behind these tests was revealed with this question: “How likely are you to continue subscribing to Ancestry.com as a result of your AncestryDNA experience?” Of course, they didn’t preface the question by telling people that if they don’t continue subscribing, they won’t have access to their matches. And at Ancestry, the are no “results” as we think if them at other companies – so your matches ARE your result, aside from percentages of ethnicity.
The phrasing of the questions and the focus was clearly on the “social” aspect of connecting with people. The Ancestry experience is not about science, and those of us who want to use it as such are simply frustrated and unhappy, and unfortunately, probably in the minority.
However, the Ancestry interface is easy to use, cleanly written and for those whom the science frustrates and who don’t understand how to use chromosome mapping tools, or why one would want to, the Ancestry experience is “easier” and “more fulfilling” to quote someone from a list earlier in the week.
I am hopeful that as Ancestry matures this product, they will also provide the value and tools for their more scientifically inclined customers. This is not new technology and these tools are clearly available, because Family Tree DNA and 23andMe provide them, but Ancestry does not.
If Ancestry did that, well, then I MIGHT be inclined to remain subscribed BECAUSE of my AncestryDNA results. And I might be inclined to REFER people, especially adoptees who need to fish in every pool available. Did you hear that Ancestry?
Today, all those match results do is to frustrate me because I so desperately need the chromosome data that Ancestry holds hostage.
We may be a minority, but we must continue to be a vocal minority, that squeeky wheel. If you have the opportunity to take this survey, please use the opportunity to ask for the features and functions we so badly need. Speak to them in terms they understand – Ancestry.com subscriptions.