Back in July, I suggested that Ancestry should move to a subscription business model, rather than relying on the one-time fee paid by new DNA testers to fund the DNA portion of their business.
While Ancestry might not be listening, 23andMe seems to have realized that a premium subscription service makes more sense, as the quantity of new DNA testers declines with market saturation – most people who see value in DNA testing have already done so.
But 23andMe is not adding a subscription service for family historians, as their focus is more on health than family history, with a few family history carrots to attract more customers. The subscription service will primarily provide more health reports.
The carrots for family historians are –
- 3 times the numbers of matches (non-subscribers only see their closest 1500 matches)
filtering of DNA matches
- Filter by ancestral geography
- Filter by haplogroup (which was available to all customers when I took my DNA test)
- When the user was last active on the site
I will not signing up for the premium service any time soon, for three reasons –
- The service is only available to customers in the USA, which I am not
- I tested on the version 3 chip, and would have to buy a new version 5 chip DNA test in order to participate
My reason for taking a 23andMe DNA test was to find DNA matches with whom I share common ancestors, which I can still do, so I will not be deleting my test result, but I will certainly not be upgrading to the version 5 test chip or relocating to the USA in the faint hope of a few more matches.
I still believe that the other DNA testing companies will eventually move to a subscription service business model, but hopefully they will offer better carrots than 23andMe.