Recently I, along with many other genealogy bloggers, received a series of emails from a new website called County-Clerks.com (http://www.county-clerks.com). One email asked that I post a link to County-Clerks.com on GeneaBloggers as a resource for my readers. Another asked me to participate in a “Genealogy Blog Contest” and vote for my favorite genealogy blog; of course the email started out with pure flattery, stating that I had been listed as one of the top 200 genealogy blogs.
In addition I’ve had several comments made on posts here at GeneaBloggers by someone purporting to be from Count-Clerks.com advertising the Genealogy Blog Contest. And I’ve received several emails from members of GeneaBloggers asking what the County-Clerks.com site is all about.
So I figure it was time for me to check out County-Clerks.com and see what it was all about and if it could actually be a useful resource for genealogy research.
County-Clerks.com – A Resource Chock Full of Ads!
Well it really was no surprise to me when I first pulled up the site – there were ads. Now I don’t mind ads. I understand the business model and I, in fact, have been known to us them. And there are many genealogy sites out there – all free – that display useful links and info with ads in the header, sidebars, footers etc.
I went to find information for Cook County, Illinois and each time I progressed to get the information I needed, there were more and more ads. And these are the types of ads that appear based on my previous search activity, purchases etc. (not uncommon these days).
Is There a Better County Clerk Resource?
I’ll give County-Clerks.com credit: I could not find a national list of county clerks which makes sense – most states have their own list of county clerks. One resource that I find more helpful, that doesn’t have ads, and that is created by genealogist contributions is the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
Besides getting information on the county clerk and/or courthouse, you also have tons of information about the county itself including advice on research. It is easy to find the county in the FamilySearch Wiki and then get the information I need.
Genealogy Blog Contest
I’m a big fan of contests and it is a great way to get attention for a new site or endeavor. The contest allows you to vote each day for more than one blog. It also asks that you link to the contest and share the link with others and ask them to vote. The goal, like most sites, is traffic. More traffic means more ads means hopefully more revenue.
In the genealogy blogging community we’ve seen many awards and contests created by sites that have nothing to do with genealogy. We’ve also seen many “free” resources created that are really fronts for advertising revenues.
I always tell folks to “check your sources” both in genealogy research and when you are approached with any offer be it to place a link on your site or be part of a contest. Do you know the person or company running the website? Are they new to the genealogy community? If so, how have they reached out to the community? Are they vested in being a resource or merely generating traffic and ad revenue?
I wish County-Clerks.com luck with their endeavor. I know I’ll be sticking with FamilySearch Wiki which is a known commodity and have been created ad-free by a group that has been and continues to be very generous and giving to the genealogy community.
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©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.