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Genealogy Scam News You Need to Know & Spread the Word

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  • Neal
    ... From: aks_black@popmail.com [mailto:aks_black@popmail.com] Sent: Friday, February 08, 2002 6:28 PM To: MISSISSIPPI-L@rootsweb.com Subject: Re:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 9, 2002
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: aks_black@... [mailto:aks_black@...]
      Sent: Friday, February 08, 2002 6:28 PM
      To: MISSISSIPPI-L@...
      Subject: Re: [MISSISSIPPI] www.gedlink.com

      Hi Alan,

      I subscribe to the Sunday Morning Coffee, a newsletter put out by
      Pustola. This is a copy of the one from January 27th. She talks about
      GedLink in it.


      -------- Original Message --------
      Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 07:41:50 -0700
      From: Colleen Pustola <ladyaudris@...>
      Reply-To: ladyaudris@...
      To: SundayCoffee@...

      ( (
      ) Good Morning Friends! ( \
      .-.,--^--. ( Come on in. . . \* )
      \\|`----'| - The coffee pot's on. . . .=|=.
      \| |// ...and we even have decaf, |~'~|
      | |/ tea, and hot chocolate! | |
      \ / _|___|_
      ------ (_______)

      Today's topics include:

      1. Welcome to new subscribers
      2. A continuation from last week's Coffee re: scams
      a. Genealogy Developments ~ is it familydiscovery.com?
      b. GedLink


      I'd like to extend a most hearty welcome to those of you who joined us
      this past week. We are very glad to have you and hope you'll stay and
      remain a part of us. This is not a discussion group, but a read-only
      service. If you would like to make any comments regarding this Coffee
      or any others, you are welcome to send them to me at

      Please share this Coffee with your genealogy friends and relatives and
      invite them to join us, as well. To subscribe to this newsletter all
      they need to do is send a blank email to


      I covered the subject regarding scams last week and was supposed to have
      discussed two other subjects today (see, it's right here on my
      calendar!). However, I've received so many messages regarding Genealogy
      Developments and Gedlink that I decided I'd better cover both in depth.
      It seems that each enterprise has begun a publicity campaign and
      everyone is wondering, "is it a scam?" Here's the lowdown on each:


      "This is a new commercial enterprise!"

      No, it isn't. This has all the trappings of Family Discovery using a
      new alias; same ploy as before ~ just with a new wrapping. Avoid them
      like you would any of Family Discovery's other "enterprises."

      Tender newbies, if you didn't follow up on the links I gave you last
      week, then you still don't know and most definitely need to read this:

      The subject of Family Discovery is NOT new and yes, they are rip-offs.
      This is an old subject among those of us who have been doing online
      genealogy for at least the last two years. The storyline changes a
      little, but the players are all the same, and you should be made

      Family Discovery, et al links their pages to free Rootsweb
      <http://www.rootsweb.com> sites and archive pages, GenWeb sites, and
      privately owned sites by way of frames ... sites on which all the
      information is already free. Unless the attached site has some sort of
      identifier on each page, you the viewer, will not realize that you're
      viewing free pages and *paying* for the "privilege" of doing so! Family
      Discovery is doing this without permission and are currently under
      investigation by at least two states' attorneys.

      Genealogy Developments advertises, "Currently we provide easy access to
      over 900 million records." Of course they can say something like that!
      Think about all the free sites there are to link to! We are here for
      your convenience as a researcher. (I'd like to know who COUNTED all
      those records that they can say something like that, by the way!) Then
      they go on to say, "We are working on a very large scale SEARCH ENGINE
      that will search billions upon billions of genealogy records." [my

      And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Genealogy Developments is
      advertising precisely what Family Discovery, et al does ... a search
      engine, and it's always "planned to be up and running within the next
      month." <http://www.genealogydevelopments.com/records.html>

      Please, heed this warning. A new ad has begun to circulate under the
      name of <GenealogyDevelopments.com>. Visit their site
      <http://www.genealogydevelopments.com>, have a good look around ... do
      you see a contact address? No? There's a good clue for you to realize
      that something isn't up to what it reports itself to be. (It doesn't
      really make a difference because even if there was one your messages
      would not be answered.)

      Now, while I'm at it, you need to know the other aliases so you're not
      taken in. Following is a list of sites associated with Family Discovery
      domain owners in one way or another:


      Most of the above sites bill themselves as "the most comprehensive easy
      to use collection of online records ever compiled," or something close
      to it. Of course it is, if they link to every free website they can
      find! Save your money and do the search yourself! You DO NOT need to
      pay for a service that is already free if you know where to look. If
      you need assistance, send a message to the list and state in the top
      line of your message that you're a newbie needing help; you'll probably
      get more than you can handle! :)

      Gene Olson has has been a chronic thorn (yeaay!) in the side of the
      owners of the above sites to the point of having a death threat put
      against him! At first he focused strictly on FamilyDiscovery.com in an
      attempt to get them prosecuted. He has since refocused his Anti-Family
      Discovery Web Site and broadened its scope. It now includes any company
      that uses illegal or unethical business practices. You newbies to
      online genealogy would be wise to go to his site and read up on this
      company so you won't be ripped off. Click on the following link and
      you'll be taken directly to his site:
      <http://www.compuright.net/badbusiness/>. Gene's email address is

      Another site has taken over where Gene Olson left off. The website,
      Census Diggins, which I gave you a link to last week
      <http://www.censusdiggins.com/familydiscovery.html> has messages online
      from quite a few people who have stepped forward to tell you of their
      dealings with Family Discovery and some of their aliases. If you
      haven't done it already, it would be in your best interests to check it
      out, if only for a quick look.

      Just please, remember the above list of aliases. These people will take
      your money, giving you little to nothing in return, and from their past
      history will not answer any of your messages. Hide your wallet,
      checkbook, credit card, and run! :)

      b. GEDLINK

      *EVERYONE* seems to be wondering about GedLink. Are they a scam, or
      what? Does anybody know anything? Well, I have to honestly say, I
      don't know if they're a scam. However, I DO know a few things which I
      now report here:

      We DO know that GedLink is in the middle of a major publicity campaign
      because mention of their messages is popping up all over the lists.

      I've been doing a little investigating on GedLink because I've received
      so many messages asking about the site. They ask you to register (not a
      problem), and you have to download a trial version of their program
      (free) to link up with others. The premise here is to be able to allow
      others to view your data at the same time you're viewing theirs.

      What they don't tell you until about four pages into the site, at the
      end of registration, is that they want you to become a member for
      $19/year which allows them "to develop, maintain and constantly upgrade
      the system and gives you access to the FULL version, allowing you to
      request family trees." Until you pay, you can't access the promised

      One of GedLink's designers said in an online message, "The GedLink
      Software can be freely used. With GedLink, you can search for names,
      issue requests, and send messages without becoming a paying member. We
      don't want to write that the user has to pay for GedLink before the
      registration, in order not to frighten him before he has first used the
      Software, and we think it's not necessary, because there is no cost
      involved for the basic features the user expects (search, requests...) .
      On the second hand, it's true that we want to offer more features to
      paying members, as soon as we end the test phase, but GedLink shall
      always stay satisfying and useful for simple users who don't want to

      Further down the same message the Gedlink designers says, "let me try to
      reassure you a little about our company. "Infoduc" exists since 1994.
      Its main product was a French shareware for genealogy, called "Win
      Genealogic," until we decided 1999 to "go internet". We created
      "notrefamille.com", a still flourishing web based service for the
      family, including genealogical tools. We signed some partnerships with
      important French portals like "Wanadoo" (France Telecom) and "AOL
      France", where our genealogical tools, including GedLink, will soon be
      available. They can be presently seen on voila.fr (which belongs to
      France Telecom)." I checked and they are indeed seen on the following


      Most of the people I've read receiving posts from this project were
      apprehensive and backed out before they were charged. They have already
      learned an important lesson: do NOT download software, or register with
      a company, unless they tell you up front whether money's involved and if
      so, how much. When in doubt, do your own investigation and see what
      others are saying about it.

      This next message is from someone on one of my lists: "I use Gedlink and
      I recommend that you invest in Norton Internet Security. Gedlink works
      on you sharing a directory (in your computer) with your gedcom file in
      it which you would need to update everytime you made changes. I have
      asked Gedlink on several ocassions about security with this method of
      sharing and what keeps someone from hacking into other areas of your
      hard drive. On their FAQ page
      <http://www.gedlink.com/web/en/support/faq.asp>. Nothing addresses
      security, Gedlink has tried to assure me that their software prevents
      this....sure just as Microsoft prevented those from accessing Outlook
      and most recently Windows XP."

      At this point I need to reiterate ~ I am not saying Gedlink is a scam.
      I've found no negative messages about them after doing a major Web
      search ~ the nearest negativity being that in the last paragraph.
      People I've
      contacted have not heard anything negative. I'm willing to give GedLink
      a temporary benefit of the doubt, but I won't be giving them my money.
      I really don't get warm and fuzzy feelings from a company that buries
      their fees, not divulging them until you're already registered and they
      have your email address.

      How do you protect yourself? Apply to your Internet dealings the same
      good sense you try to use in everything else you do. However, on the Web
      you need to be more than just a little skeptical. As others have said,
      "Keep an open mind, but don't let your brain fall out!"

      Family ... it's what we're all about.

      I so enjoyed spending this time with you today. Thank you for sharing
      it with me. I wish each of you a week filled with health, productivity,
      fun, and above all, filled with love and inner peace.

      (@\'--'/. Colleen

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      > Is anyone familiar with www.gedlink.com?
      > I just got an email from them which indicated that they had found my
      web page and wanted me to try their product which they claimed "is
      basically FREE OF CHARGE". The software is free, but you can't access
      ANY data unless you join for $19 a year.
      > Their concept appears to be simple. You just let them add your web
      page as a link, and you also put a link to them on your page. So you can
      access gedcom files from other users. (So, I get to advertise them and
      supply them with their data for $19.... I don't think so...).
      > My problem is this... Since they contacted me through information from
      my web page, and my web page has a gedcom, have they already put a link
      to my gedcom file in their system which they are now charging people to
      access. I furnish my information to anyone who wants it free of charge.
      > Does anyone know anything about them?
      > Thanks,
      > Alan
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