I publish lots of genealogy-related announcements and press releases in this newsletter. However, the one I received today is very different from anything else that I have received in a long, long time. The announcement describes a contest site aimed at genealogists and offering cash prices to both individuals and societies.
Here is the press release from Mattatuck Consulting, followed by a few of my comments. I'd suggest you read the press release closely as this web site is unique:
Trumbull, CT - Organizations serving a growing worldwide interest in genealogy and family history will get a unique boost in their sustained online marketing efforts today as Mattatuck Consulting launches www.GenealogyPays.com - a new service designed to connect family historians with products, services, events, and destinations relating directly to their ancestral pursuits.
The site is free to consumers and features a series of genealogy challenge puzzles, one of which carries a prize payout up to $30,000. This unique puzzle will award half the prize payout to one winning entrant, with an equal amount paid to a genealogical society selected by the winning entrant from among those organizations registered on the site. All genealogy and local history societies are eligible to register at no cost. Featured sponsors pay to participate in the challenge puzzle which officially begins on 01 July 2007.
"We're excited to launch this innovative and fun site," said Mattatuck co-founder, Dan Lynch. "During the last four years, we've helped increase online visibility for hundreds of products and services. GenealogyPays.com provides a sustained effort enabling even the smallest organization to bring cost-effective and qualified online visibility to their offering."
A recognized expert in online marketing, Lynch is also a professional genealogist and has developed marketing and business development strategies for some of the most notable organizations in the genealogy market. London-based FindMyPast.com, a Mattatuck client since early 2006, is among a group who joined as sponsors during the pre-launch phase.
"We think this is a brilliant idea and were quick to join as sponsors," noted Elaine Collins, commercial director for Title Research Group, Ltd., parent company of FindMyPast.com. "Dan has an extraordinary understanding of online marketing techniques, as well as the genealogy market in general and we're confident this new service will help bring visibility to our offering during the upcoming year."
Each year, organizations dedicate significant time, money, and personnel to participate in one or more genealogy trade shows - all in the hopes of meeting potential new customers. GenealogyPays.com provides this same opportunity in a virtual setting, but with the added benefits of a worldwide audience, round-the-clock availability, and cost effective participation. By building a bridge between consumers and the organizations hoping to serve them, GenealogyPays hopes to become a central meeting place for "all things genealogy".
Although the official launch date is still two weeks away, the site is live and accepting free registrations both from users and the organizations they belong to. A free genealogy events calendar highlights a range of upcoming even - everything from seminars to cruises.
"All societies, clubs, family associations, and other groups are welcome to participate
About Mattatuck Consulting
Established in 2002, Mattatuck is a technology marketing firm based in Trumbull CT. Serving a wide range of clients in both traditional and online marketing, Mattatuck has a specialty emphasis in the genealogy and family history marketplace. Co-founder Dan Lynch is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) with more than 25 years research experience and a popular author and presenter covering genealogy topics.
Comments by Dick Eastman:
I must admit that I was surprised when I first heard of this concept. Contests in genealogy? Cash prizes? Whoever heard of such a thing? As I started digging a bit deeper, my skepticism slowly went away
First of all, this is the brainchild of Dan Lynch, a professional genealogist and former senior executive at a major genealogy firm. He is now working as a consultant for several organizations, several of which are household words amongst genealogists everywhere. Dan is well-known in the industry and enjoys an excellent reputation.
Next, while the site obviously is designed to stir up interest and to create a platform for delivering advertising, it simultaneously offers cash to individuals and to societies favored by those individuals. That strikes me as a very worthwhile goal.
I was so impressed that I signed up as one of the advertisers.
When it comes to paying money for advertising this newsletter, I like to think of myself as frugal. The word "cheap" is probably a more accurate word, however. I have rarely spent advertising money as I am always afraid that I will have to increase subscription prices in order to cover the advertising expenses.
I changed my mind on GenealogyPays for a couple of reasons: (1.) it is rather inexpensive compared to some other forms of advertising and (2.) I like the business model. If successful, this site will pay money to genealogists, to genealogy societies and to the web site owner as well. It also provides cost-effective advertising for anyone in the genealogy business. I'd call that a "win-win-win-win situation."
The contest revolves around a checkered grid (called a PixelAd Grid) made of small squares, each measuring 10x10 pixels. Underneath the PixelAd Grid is a picture puzzle known as a rebus. Picture puzzles have been featured on television game shows, the inside of bottle caps, and have been appearing elsewhere for more than a century (including on family crests). As each box is removed from the grid by the placement of a sponsors PixelAd, more of the hidden puzzle is revealed.
Numerous television game shows have used the same concept for years. The difference is that this time YOU can be a contestant!
I'd invite you to try the practice puzzle from now through June 30 to become acquainted with the operation of the site. You do have to create an account with a user name and password but the account is available free of charge. There is never a fee for contestants. For a detailed description of how the site operates, go to http://www.GenealogyPays.com and click on "How Does This Work?" Then return again on July 1 and frequently thereafter to go for the money, both for yourself and for your favorite society.
If you are a member of a genealogy or local history society, please make sure that the society registers (at no charge) on the site.
If you are thinking of becoming an advertiser on the site, go to http://www.GenealogyPays.com and click on "Order PixelAds."