Tuesday, 8 April 2014

FindmyPast answers critics

Who Do You Think You Are magazine has published an exclusive interview by Jon Bauckham with FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) on its website - the subject, of course, is the disastrous replacement of the company's records platform with a new system, which err, doesn't seem to work very well - not just my judgement, but that of hundreds of complaints I've been reading online in the last few days. The answers to the magazine's questions have been 'put together by staff across the findmypast team'. Discussed are the reasons for the new site, various problems now occurring, how it was tested, how it was rolled out, the new look (including the seriously irritating display of results for pages that take ages to scroll through), and more.

I thought this statement stood out:

Our new site is not unfit for purpose. A number of features may now look very different and may not be instantly recognisable to all our users, but all of the essential functions of the old search are still there. We acknowledge that there have been some technical issues that have affected some areas of the search and we apologise for any inconvenience these may have caused, although the ability to search for records has remained functional throughout.

The company has promised to make many changes, but is not budging on calls for it to reinstate the old site (at least temporarily). You can read the full interview at http://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/news/exclusive-findmypast-responds-website-redesign-criticism.

If you have been experiencing problems with FindmyPast it is worth noting that the company has been offering two month subscription extensions to many who have been complaining. It's feedback thread is at http://feedback.findmypast.co.uk/forums/222583-ideas-and-improvements/suggestions/5649598-improve-features-to-bring-in-line-with-the-old-sit. That's not to guarantee that you will get the same though...!

As a PR disaster though, I think this may well be the one of the worst that I have seen in many years from a genealogy vendor. Here's hoping it gets itself sorted very soon.

What do you think of the company's response?

(With thanks to Who Do You Think You Are magazine)


Time to find your inner Irish...! All the best online Irish genealogy resources can be found through my book Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet - in print and ebook formats. "Very useful, makes me wish I was Irish!" - Saint Patrick, patron saint.


  1. Personally I'd like to know what the parent company DC Thompson thinks. This debacle must have seriously hit their Brand Name. Unfortunately if you visit their website, there is no link to allow you to complain. Maybe they took it down to avoid complaints. I wouldn't see the CEO and Chief Technical Officer being able to survive this.

    I've already cancelled my renewal. I'll make use of the site for the rest of my subscription, if I can find records, then in future I'll save my research for the many occasions when they offer free Weeks/ Week Ends or special events, and login for a 24 hr frenzy.

  2. I shall do the same. My subscription expires on 25th and I'm not renewing. The management issue is an interesting one. I don't see this problem as being created by the "old" FMP team, I see it as something that has been forced upon them by senior management. I may be wrong of course.

  3. Shouldn't the title of this topic be "Findmypast fails to answer critics" ?

    Currently complaints on the FMP feedback forum have reached 1600 and are continuing to rise, as are the negative customer reviews on the site below, where the percentage of customers who would currently recommend it has fallen from over 90% a week ago, (based on many previously positive reviews), to 88.7 at present and it's still falling, it went down by 1% in the past day, due to the continuing flood of negative reviews.

  4. Forgot to add the links to my previous comment, ( FMP has befuddled me, or was it your captcha codes ? ).



  5. Down to 88% now, that's a fall of 0.7% in less than twelve hours. !

  6. All I can say is that the problems are not simply poor searching!!! Images do not display and pages print with a second layer of text over the top...making them unreadable....and that is when you have waited and waited to get to any page...soooooooooooo slow and inaccurate!!....a disgrace....and nobody answers your concerns...ether by email or phone. They are dead in the water!

  7. The faults and problems are nowhere near resolved, despite what they proudly boast. The feedback forum now has moderator controls and the disgruntled and largely ignored customers are using the Facebook page to glean whatever information they can and point out serious errors on usage and datasets (when they haven't been banned for spurious reasons). Someone should be taken to task for the mismanagement of this debacle. Despite constant pleadings, the company point blank refuse to refund any part of customers subscriptions.

  8. If you check all reviews on reviewcentre.com (Follow the link as above) since April 1st when mass migration of accounts from the old site to the new site seem to have taken place, you will find the banner "Star Rating" very misleading. Having done the simple maths the rating should read "1 Star" this current rating is therefore not only inaccurate but wrong in the extreme. An average of Chalk plus Cheese. Not the same website AT ALL and I would question the integrity of reviewcentre.com - Try trustpilot.com for a real picture of this dreadful mess.. And the MASSIVE CENSORSHIP on FACEBOOK by FIND MY PAST does them no credit. Disgusting treatment of loyal subscribers...And NO REFUNDS for those of us like myself that paid an annual subscription 7 weeks ago only to find this DOGS DINNER as the replacement... NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE.