International search engines for genealogy

World Vital Records most popular international search page is our German Genealogy Search page. According to Overture, there were 1045 searches on the Yahoo Network last month for “german genealogy” and 292 for “germany genealogy.”

After Germany, our most popular international search engines are England, Ireland, Australia, Italy, France, Austria, Scotland, Wales, Hungary, Sweden, China, Slovakia and Brazil. Interestingly enough, I’ve noticed Slovakia has recently been one of the leading sources of international traffic to my personal blog site, paulallen.net.

As we begin to enable our site visitors to share content with each other and to connect with other researchers, the popularity of our international search engine pages will grow.

We also invite libaries, archives, publishers, website owners and authors worldwide to contact us if they would like us to index their content and make it available to our growing audience of worldwide genealogists. We pay higher-than-average royalties to our content partners, as well as to our online affiliates.

We are doing all we can to keep our overhead costs low so that more people can afford to access online family history resources than ever before. With Google Book Search scanning millions of public domain volumes and with FamilySearch‘s digitization of the famed Granite Mountain Vault in the next five years, so much family history content will be free. There will be valuable collections of exclusive, proprietary content that people will pay for, but many more will be able to enjoy the family history hobby with just an internet connection.

We are currently designing a second web site and a business model that is designed to prosper in a world where much (if not all) genealogy data is free. That is a daunting task for those of us who launched the first online genealogy subscription site (Ancestry.com in April 1997) and then watched as hundreds of millions of dollars of subscription revenue were generated over the next ten years.

Our World Vital Records site will be subscription based and our forthcoming site (soon to be publicly announced–the domain name starts with FAMILY) will be free and supported by advertising and other revenue streams.

We appreciate every new customer who purchases a subscription on World Vital Records — I wish I could call and thank every one of you — because it gives us the resources we need to continue to develop that site, with its international databases, and to launch this new site which we hope will provide a value service to millions of family historians.

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Record Day for World Vital Records

Internet entrepreneurs who study web analytics can find excuses all the time to celebrate small victories and large. Yesterday we had another one.

World Vital Records had its highest page views ever yesterday with 58,398. Our previous high was 43,828. As we add more and more content to our site (and all our new databases are free for 10 days), we will continue to generate buzz (14 mentions in the blogosphere yesterday) and more visitors. Our subscriber count continues to grow as well.

We also had our third highest visitor total ever with more than 3,100 unique visitors. Many of these are not being tracked yet by Quantcast, since we haven’t put their code up yet on all of our international pages. And Alexa usually doesn’t pick up unique visitors from other countries.

We noticed that next to Providence, Rhode Island, that the next city with the highest percentage of visitors was Seattle. Our team is speculating that Microsoft must want to buy us already! 🙂

We have launched the archive of Everton’s Genealogical Helper, spanning 60 years. And we have posted Everton’s Pedigree and Family Group Sheets database, with more than 150,000 pages. This database is still free for 7 more days.

Our site is still faster than 81% of other web sites, although we used to beat 94% of other web sites.

Maybe we’ve gone overboard on web analytics. We use Omniture Site Catalyst as our internal tracking tool, to manage all our marketing campaigns. But we also use Google Analytics because of the tie-in with Google AdWords (and potentially other services like Google Webmaster Tools). And we use Quantcast pixels so we can have verified audience measurement. I think we also have an Alexa pixel up. (Not sure about that).

Having 4 different analytics programs running simultaneously may seem ridiculous, but each provides us with a different benefit. I’ll have to watch that web site speed, though, because if the customer experience is compromised, we will have to make changes.

We are still a tiny company, with fewer than 10 employees, but we are adding more marketing help and our content pipeline continues to grow.

Knowing what it feels like to get hundreds of thousands of unique daily visitors, our team is super motivated to do it once again. And celebrating victories along the way is the best way I know to keep us all focused on doing it.

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Jeff Barr from Amazon at Provo Labs Academy at 10 am

We have more than 75 RSPVs for today’s Jeff Barr presentation. It will be held at the Provo City Library at 10 am.

The event is hosted by Provo Labs Academy, which trains entrepreneurs on internet marketing. (Next 12-week course will start in March. Fill out this Contact Me form to learn more.)

I think we may have room for 5-10 more people, so if you’d like to show up in hopes of getting a seat, you might want to give it a try.

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Is Utah the best state in the nation for three-point shooting?

I admit to being a stats junkie.

When I was five and first started following college basketball, back when Kresimir Cosic played for BYU (the first international all-American ever in US college basketball), I used to keep track of the stats on the page inside the program. I would circle a 1 every time someone made a free throw and a 2 whenever they made a field goal. I loved math and I loved BYU basketball.

On Monday mornings, my Mom tells me, I would ask her “where’s BYU?” I kept asking until she finally understood that what I meant was “where is BYU in the national rankings?” In junior high, I memorized all the scoring and shooting averages for all the BYU players.

When I was in high school, Danny Ainge was BYU’s star. I saw almost every home game he ever played in. He was the smartest player I’ve ever watched. He was more like a player coach. He’s the only person in history that I’ve ever seen grab the ball from the referee while taking a foul shot (back when they used to hand you the ball), throw the ball at the front of the rim before everyone was set, get his own rebound and score a layup. His famed last second shot against Notre Dame is a classic. ESPN rated it the #6 best finish in college basketball history. I wish I could find it on YouTube.

I grew up watching college basketball without three-pointers, but have loved them ever since they were introduced back in the 80s.

Danny Ainge was the second NBA player to ever hit 900 three pointers in a career.

This year, the state of Utah is dominating the country in three point shooting, in both individual three point shooting and team three point shooting percentages.

Shaun Green from Utah (a 6’8″ sophomore forward) ranks #2 by shooting 56% and Lee Cummard (a 6’6″ sophomore guard) from BYU ranks #5 with a 52.4% average.

The University of Utah ranks #5 in the nation in team three point shooting percentage, with a 42.3% average. BYU ranks #7 with a 41.8% average. Southern Utah ranks #14 at 40.8%. And even Utah Valley State College ranks #37 with a 39% average. (See all team rankings.)

Mike Rose tied his own BYU school record by hitting 8-10 from three-point range in a 27-point home victory against #25 UNLV last Saturday. The team had 15 to beat its all time record. It was one of the best played games I’ve ever seen.

So BYU has won 28 games in a row at home (2nd longest home winning streak in the country), and has won 11 of their last 13 games, including a big win against Air Force (ranked #13 at the time I believe), and yet BYU only moved up from #38 to #37 in the Coaches Poll last week. What is with that?

So my final thought is this: Is there a statistical correlation between being universities that are ranked high in the “stone-cold sober” category and those that are great at three-point shooting?

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Sweden opens embassy in Second Life

http://www.thelocal.se/6219/. This article says Second Life is approaching 3 million users, a third of them having joined in the last 60 days. A lot of companies are jumping on the Second Life bandwagon, but this is even more interesting.

Imagine being an embassy employee assigned to interact with people in Second Life. Embassies are so large, imposing, and intimidating–they don’t welcome visitors to come in and just chat. This virtual Swedish embassy may be the best opportunity in world history for an embassy to “get to know its customer” through casual conversations with potentially hundreds or thousands of people each day.

Next headline to look for: 2008 Presidential Campaign for _________ opens office in Second Life, welcomes all visitors to come and meet the candidate.

Google is rumored to be building their own immersive world and may be buying AdScape to become a player in in-game advertising.

I’m not a fan of Second Life yet (although Jeff Barr is helping me realize how real business can actually be conducted in the virtual world, not by just wandering around, but by planning events or attending planned events). But as these kinds of online worlds start attracting businesses and governments and millions of new users, there will definitely be business opportunities opening up left and right for savvy entrepreneurs.

As a former Dungeons & Dragons player (I quit cold turkey at age 13 or 14 after a full year addiction) I can see the appeal of games like World of Warcraft, Everquest, and now SecondLife, which some people don’t call a game, but which certainly has a lot of appeal for gamers. As an entrepreneur, I see huge opportunities emerging here. In business, you need to go where the eyeballs are, and if million join immersive 3D worlds, then you better find a way to play there.

I think a Google immersive world built on Google Earth will be far more interesting than Second Life, and I hope the rumors are true.

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