28 January 2014

Slowing Down Until It Just Fades Away

[a little fiction--one of our few forays]

It's 2018. You've been researching your family history for several years and have noticed that one of the two fee-based websites you use is slower than the other. The type of content of the two sites is similar, they just have different content. There's stuff on both you need and use regularly. No matter how many windows you close, how many times you reboot, or how many diagnostics you run, one site is still slower. Frustrating.

And some of those free genealogy sites you used to use, they barely load. In fact, you have just about given up on using some of them because you can never get past the home page. It's been ages since you've browsed the free material on www.doitfreegenealogy.com.

And that one paid membership site? Well, despite your membership, it's always slow. You are almost contemplating letting your "slow site" membership lapse because you just can never get anything to load. You'll just stick with the one that loads fast, even though they don't have everything on it you need. You've even had your grandchildren and your son-in-law help you. And having the son-in-law help was a testament to your desperation. 

You then get an offer from your Internet Service Provider.

Their latest marketing gimmick: internet "channels." And they've developed several genealogy channels, just for you and your checkbook. One lets you access your "slow site subscription" site at a reasonable speed for an extra monthly fee paid to your Internet Service Provider. Another genealogy channel lets you get those "free genealogy sites" for another additional monthly fee. Thank goodness your Internet Service Provider has come to your rescue. Maybe now you can take the son-in-law off speed dial.

Interesting, you think. Until you realize that the "free genealogy sites" aren't getting any of that fee. Your Internet Service Provider is. And the "slow site" isn't getting any of that fee either. And here you thought the extra revenue would help those sites develop new content. But...

You decide to cough up the extra fees to your Internet Service Provider--to get the free sites and to get the subscription site you use regularly.

Pages load...the familiar logo appears on their home page. You will be up for days getting caught up on all your work. 

Not exactly. The subscription site is going out of business at the end of the month. The owner has posted a rant about mafia-style tactics which you don't even bother to read. You have no ancestors who worked for the mafia after all.

You decide to visit www.doitfreegenealogy.com.

There's a just a blank shell. Even the logo is gone.  The webmaster indicated that due to extremely slow load levels for his site, his ad revenue is down to a trickle. He doesn't get any revenue from what the ISP charges you to access his site. He's gone back to working at the bank in Santa Fe. If you're in his area, stop in, and open an account. Please.

Can it happen?

Not certain. But if you've never heard of net neutrality, now would be a good time to learn by visiting  Michael LeClerc's original post on the Mocavo Blog.

Michael wrote an update after seeing this little essay--there's information there on becoming informed and proactive. This is not just about genealogy

And now may be a good time to send some emails, make some phone calls, and make your voice heard.


Now back to your regular programming....

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