You may have heard mentions of a soon-to-come Ancestry.com service called ExpertConnect. Its designed to let people who need research servicesanything from simply getting a record or taking a gravestone photo to a full-scale research projectgather bids from people who can offer them.
After a bid is accepted and the service completed, Ancestry.com gets a cut of the fee.
Anyone can register to offer lookups and other simple research services, but those offering services for more-involved research projects have to register as a professional with ExpertConnect.
Thats the source of some controversy, since theres no industry standard for what makes someone a professional genealogy researcher. (See the Genea-Musings blog post on the Association of Professional Genealogists discussions last month.) Ancestry.com settled on a series of qualifications; those offering professional-level services on ExpertConnect must satisfy several.
Other points of contention: Under the ExpertConnect contract, the client owns the copyright for any research reports the expert generates. And a ranking system similar to eBays lets clients rate the experts, leaving reputations vulnerable to clients who dont understand the uncertain nature of genealogy research.
Ancestry.com says that experts will be able to request reviews of questionable rankings, and that the ExpertConnect system can head off problems by letting experts and clients renegotiate projects as they progress.
ExpertConnect will start accepting clients in June. You can check out the types of services available here; click Join to register as a service provider.