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Changes to GeneaBloggers Membership Criteria


As many of you know, I’ve been anticipating hitting the 2,000 blog limit here at GeneaBloggers which is a good thing and a not so good thing. A good thing since it shows how important blogging has become in the genealogy community. Not so good since I use Google Reader as the main content aggregator for the blog listing and the Daily Blogging Prompt widgets – and Google Reader has a 2,000 blog limit.

Membership Criteria Changes

I’ve had to make some decisions as to how to proceed and have set some new criteria for having your blog listed under the Genealogy Blog Listing:

  • Only blogs that are “active” will be listed in the blog listing. This means there has been a blog post on your site since July 1, 2010, or about a year ago. I’ve already begun to delete blogs that don’t meet this criteria and should be done by the end of this week.
  • I realize that some blogs are never updated due to their nature – diary blogs, for example. Those blogs that have not been updated will still be listed in our search engine since the content still has value to the genealogy researcher.

I expect that at least 90% of the current blogs will continue to be listed. This has the benefit of keeping GeneaBloggers below the 2,000 blog limit (for now) and also means that GeneaBloggers can represent the latest and current information regarding genealogy.

Google Reader

So why do I stick with Google Reader with its limits and issues? Well, there is a certain comfort level, and I do like reading all the genealogy blog posts each day.

But there is also another mechanism at work here: privacy and foiling the sploggers and spammers. If you look at the blog listing, especially in the page source where the HTML code is, you’ll realize that the exact URL and RSS feed info for all 2,000 blogs is never revealed. Right now it would be a chore for a splogger to develop a similar list and sploggers like it “fast and dirty.”

Many folks don’t realize that I have been approached by several sites who want to gain access to the OPML file which drives the blog listings here at GeneaBloggers.  I’ve even been offered money to provide a copy of the file.  It just isn’t in me to do that – I think that if the file were made public or sold, we’d all see our content misappropriated on many blogs and websites. And the value of our community and what we do would be greatly diminished.

Future Changes

I’m committed to making sure that GeneaBloggers remains a free resource for the genealogy community. That being said, please realize that this is a one-man operation, so future changes you might see include:

  • An automated way of tagging blog posts which meets the Daily Blogging Prompt criteria.  Right now, I check Google Reader about 10 times a day to manually tag posts.  Too much work. I will be setting up new widgets that work using keywords in the titles of the blogging prompts like “Tombstone Tuesday.”
  • A donation button will be included on the GeneaBloggers website.  I really don’t like “passing the hat,” as it were, but I don’t want GeneaBloggers to be a paid membership site at this time.  I know this goes counter to my “everything in genealogy is not free” philosophy, but due to its unique role in the community, I think it is vital that access to the information in genealogy blogs be free and unfettered.
  • Regional GeneaBloggers sites.  I’ve been approached by several bloggers in Canada, Europe and Australia who want to start their own version of GeneaBloggers, perhaps in a native language or focusing on local culture, history and holidays.  My goal is to see this happen by the end of 2011. These blogs will still be listed on the “mother ship” here at GeneaBloggers.


It continues to be an honor to work with the genealogy blogging community and sometimes I step back and am amazed at not just the quantity and the quality of the content produced by our bloggers on a daily basis, but at how our role has grown in the genealogy community.

Please continue to send me your feedback, your comments and, yes, even your gripes and complaints. This is your community. I am merely someone who tries to make sense of it each day and present it to the world in a format which can be fully appreciated, fully understood and fully utilized.

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

46 thoughts on “Changes to GeneaBloggers Membership Criteria

  1. The changes seem very reasonable, and I think the donation button is a good idea. Thank you, Thomas, for all you do for us.

  2. Good for you. These are smart business decisions, and a well-run Geneabloggers site benefits the entire community just as much as it benefits you. Rock on.

  3. Thanks for all you do Thomas. Glad you are putting the donate button on as well – It is not a giant “begging bowl” – it gives people a way to help. Looking forward to our Friday night radio date – I’ll have my diet coke all ready to go!

  4. Thank you Thomas for all that you do each and every day to aid and strengthen our community. Donation button is a great idea in my humble opinion.

    Cheers to you!

  5. It has come to the attention of the CIA, FBI and genealogy community that aliens have abducted our original Thomas, cloned him and therefore made it possible for him to do the enormous amount of work he does while sleeping all through the night. 😉 We will now refer to him as AutomaTom. Seriously, everything you do is done with the needs of the many in mind. Just recently I did a little free lookup for a friend of a cousin. When it was pointed out (by someone else) that perhaps she should have written me a check, she was upset and ‘unfriended’ me on Facebook. I have a PayPal donation button my blog for just this kind of situation. If Thomas has helped you in some way it is perfectly correct for him to have a donation button too. It’s not begging!

  6. Question:
    In reading your post earlier today about Facebook vs. Google and Google Blogs, I am wondering…

    I have always been able to post a link on Facebook to my daily blog posts. This evening, however, in notifying my brother-in-law that I acknowledged him in today’s post, I received a warning from Facebook that my link was being blocked as spam. I had to fill out a form to prove why it isn’t, and once I receive an email from them, I must respond in email.

    I noticed that GeneaBloggers posts are still showing up on Facebook…that’s how I got to this page. Are you aware of anything going on here?

    BTW: I am very thankful for GeneaBloggers for helping me to get my blog on the right track!

  7. I will add my thanks to those of the others who have commented here. We would not be the community that we are without you and all you have done. I had been thinking that the way to go would be to eliminate inactive blogs. Plus I love the idea of the donation button – it’s insurance for the continued health and vitality of GeneaBloggers!

  8. Debra

    Facebook is known to target users who post too many links. I often get the first level of warning – where I need to enter validation text. Your level means you might want to take a 24 hour break from posting any links. Seriously – last time I was tagged this way, I had to back off and then I was good to go.

    Also, for most of the GeneaBloggers stuff, I am posting via

  9. Oh, Thomas, I had no idea you were spending so much time on behind the scenes work for GeneaBloggers. Thank you!

    I think culling inactive blogs is a good thing and I like your idea of the donation button.

    Another suggestion that might make your work easier (and increase the commitment of active GeneaBloggers to getting their posts listed) is to use the widgets that require us to link our posts to it. John Newmark used them for a while on his blog, Transylvanian Dutch. I like these for several reasons. First, I think it encourages bloggers to check out what other people are posting on that topic which increases community. Second, if the post title doesn’t have the meme title in it, the blogger can still create a link to his/her post.

    I’ve only used these from the submission side, not from the side where you are.

    Thanks for all you do. I appreciate it.

  10. I’ll go ahead and add my 2 cents here too … and extend an enormous amount of gratitude for all you do! You and DearMYRTLE are the ones who got my blogging addiction started back at the FHE in Atlanta last year, and I have loved every minute of it! I also agree with the donation button idea. I don’t know what I would do without your tips and advice … and being a genea-bodyguard for all us bloggers. Thank you! (and that’s from the bottom of my heart)

  11. Nothing new from here, other than echoing all the plaudits above. Anything you can do to streamline your workload can only benefit those of us who so rely on you. It’s a little scary to realize how central you are to our community, but we are in the best of hands. And I love the donation button. We can really send in our 2 cents worth now – and then some!

  12. Thomas, as I’ve said many times, we bloggers appreciate all the work you put into the geneablogging community and especially the mentoring and support you provide to so many of us. Whatever is necessary to streamline the process gets my vote!

  13. Thank you, Thomas. I second all of the positive comments here. From a new blogger, I’m certain I don’t have any idea of how much work you’ve done, but I feel that you have supported me and my efforts 200%. (Or perhaps even 300%). I think that most of us would like to make a donation in appreciation for what you are providing to the genealogy community for free. So, thank you.

  14. I think your criteria are reasonable — and sensible for our community. Again I add my voice to the many here to say thank you for your hard work and fairness in helping the genealogy community.

  15. Thomas, thank you for all that you have done for the Geneabloggers and for me personally. I think a donate button is a good idea. I agree that you should automate the tagging of blog posts, that’s way too much work for anyone to do!

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