Recently, 23andMe implemented a new subscription model. In their new model, which requires retesting (with a new sample) on the V5 chip, you can pay a yearly subscription fee of $29 to receive up to 4500 matches.
The subscription service is by invitation, which you can see at this link, excerpt below:
Current Customers Losing Matches and Losing Out
Unfortunately, without notice to customers, 23andMe is reducing (or has already reduced) the match cap for current, existing, customers from 2000 matches to 1500.
In the past, the 2000 cap was minus the number of matches that had not opted-in to sharing. The new 1500 cap is the top 1500 that HAVE opted-in to sharing.
In my case, I went from over 1700 matches to 1500.
In the past, you could actually retain more than 2000 matches if you had issued a sharing invitation or corresponded with your match. Now, all of that work is gone. One of my friends had more than 4700 matches through years of work and now has 1500.
This purge may not have happened to you yet, as they seem to be rolling through the database in stages. Check your matches and if you have more than 1500, work with them immediately.
More Features are Gone
Furthermore, other features have been removed, such as the ability to sort by haplogroup and notes and possibly more. I haven’t tested everything. What’s clear is that current customers are losing matches, features, and are being “downgraded.”
That’s very unfortunate, as this appears to be arm-twisting in order to encourage people to upgrade to the V5 chip and subscription service to retain existing matches.
Many people can’t upgrade because they have died. For example, if you manage a parent’s kit who is deceased, this purge will hurt you immensely because even if you do upgrade, you’ll not be able to phase your matches against their kit.
Unless you upgrade and subscribe, you can’t do anything to preserve your actual matches above 1500, but what you can do is to download your matches in spreadsheet format which, for now, still contains your previous matches.
This opportunity won’t last long, as 23andMe support has replied to an inquiry that they will soon be adjusting the download list to match your new 1500 match list.
We don’t know when this will happen, as 23andMe has communicated absolutely nothing about these changes to customers, so download now.
Downloading Your “Aggregate Data”
On your DNA Relatives page, scroll to the very bottom.
Click on “Download aggregate data.”
A file will be downloaded to your system which will include a significant amount of information from your matches’ profiles. Of course, important information such as matches-in-common won’t be there, but at least something will be.
Download now before it’s too late.
23andMe has always been focused on health, with genealogists being a means to an end. That’s why our matches have been limited and functions such as trees, similar to features at the other three major vendors, have never been implemented. This isn’t news.
23andMe has disregarded questions about where my DNA is being stored, which studies it was included in, and for what purposes before they implemented the opt-in system for medical research, as opposed to the opt-out system.
I opted out of research years ago, because I’m not comfortable not knowing how my DNA is being utilized, and by whom. Furthermore, I have an issue with the amount of money 23andMe is being paid for the DNA information I paid to test. 23andMe states that they have received $791 million in venture capital and lists their investors, here. With 12 million customers, that’s about $66 per customer or $99 for opted-in customer.
That being said, I have previously upgraded from V2 to V3 to V4, paying to retest each time, in part, so that I could write about my experiences for my blog followers.
This time, I’m not upgrading and I’m done. They’ve gone too far by reducing the match cap by 25% of the matches we were previously allowed, an artificial barrier not imposed by any other vendor. And that’s assuming you had done nothing to prevent matches from rolling off your list previously. Not only that, but this purge has been done without notice of any type.
I won’t be removing my DNA, because it’s already there (and I’ve paid for it 3 times), but I won’t be answering any questions for the 23andMe surveys which they aggregate for the data, I won’t be spending any money to upgrade, and I certainly won’t be recommending 23andMe except for adoptees and people seeking unknown close family who haven’t found their answers elsewhere.
As Kenny Rogers said; “Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away…”
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DNA Purchases and Free Transfers
- FamilyTreeDNA – Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA testing
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- AncestryDNA – autosomal DNA only
- 23andMe Ancestry – autosomal DNA only, no Health
- 23andMe Ancestry Plus Health
Genealogy Products and Services
- MyHeritage FREE Tree Builder – genealogy software for your computer
- MyHeritage Subscription with Free Trial
- Legacy Family Tree Webinars – genealogy and DNA classes, subscription-based, some free
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- Charting Companion – Charts and Reports to use with your genealogy software or FamilySearch
- Legacy Tree Genealogists – professional genealogy research