APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2009-04 > 1239305963
From: "Craig R. Scott, CG" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Ancestry Expert Connect process protocol
Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2009 15:39:23 -0400
One exception to the Misc-1099 flag for huge numbers, when compared to W-2s
in the same company is publishers and royalty payments.
For a subcontractor and non-employee compensation the annual reportable is
$600 or greater.
For an author obtaining royalty compensation the annual reportable is
It is a most expensive situation to live with, but that is what the law is
at the moment. Much like filing zero quarterly sales and use tax reports in
On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 2:08 PM, Sharon <> wrote:
> I continue to wear my systems engineering hat and peel the onion of the
> Ancestry Expert Connect proposal.
> Let's take a look at the system design.
> You have mentioned that your folks think they can provide payment
> processing every two weeks instead of once a month. You have also said
> that you think you will be ready to show screen shots of the interface
> at the end of this month.
> Those statements are red flags for a transaction processing and project
> management system - supposedly more sophisticated than a marketplace
> venue where fees are advertising "real estate" rental.
> Whether Ancestry chooses to hold payment processing for a period for
> their own reasons or not, if the system does not have the capability to
> trigger the payment to the service provider's account instantaneously,
> it is not a reliable design.
> The reason that Ebay bought Paypal is because their own payment system
> was broken. Once the erroneous design was implemented, they could never
> figure out how to fix it. Paypal had it's own problems, but secure
> payment processing was and still is their business corner and their
> strength. Paypal was able to even swallow the Verisign credit card
> gateway business with comparative ease. [oops ... newsflash - some poor
> Ebay seller's Paypal account was just compromised for two weeks by
> fraudulent transactions pouring money into his Paypal account. Now
> there's a twist on what hackers will do for kicks!]
> In any case, when Ebay then "upgraded" their internal billing system,
> Ebay made the same mistake they had in their payment system and created
> a havoc that took six months to settle out. An army of lawyers backed by
> billions of dollars muscled away the class action suit. Ancestry does
> not have that kind of muscle.
> For all of Google's innovations, the problems with their Google Checkout
> system a full one year into their "Beta" were amazingly basic. Their
> support people didn't understand the internals of a system that had
> queues and triggers to process financial transactions. Amazing responses
> to missing transactions were along the lines of "That can't be
> happening." I even got sandbox versions of the software and posted test
> transactions, and they still couldn't figure it out for months. It was
> free credit card processing so it was worth experimenting. But even
> billions of dollars in resources doesn't guarantee a good system design
> when shifting from a massive search engine paradigm to a simple
> transaction processing system.
> Screen shots to illustrate the implementation of how the Ancestry Expert
> Connect system will work makes me wonder if the system will be a
> "reusuable software" approach based on what Ancestry already uses in
> other parts of the service - just a different front end and back end. By
> the end of this month, you are only one month away from launch - and yet
> the screens aren't even in Beta testing yet. Amazing.
> Since the proposal announced in November was a completely different
> approach, and you clearly have spent several months talking with people,
> that hasn't left much time for system design.
> So what's between the screen shot design and the payment system?
> You said on April 8:
> "We spoke with dozens of independent professionals and with a number of
> organizations. We heard varied and sometimes inconsistent opinions about
> how best to approach elements of the service. However, we heard two main
> concerns clearly and consistently - 1) the need to distinguish between
> professionals vs. other providers, and 2) the importance of properly
> setting client expectations about what they may or may not receive as a
> result of the professionals efforts."
> Do you have a variety of test cases and customer illustrations for each
> of the 5 transaction types to demonstrate how the Ancestry Expert
> Connect system is designed to satisfy those rather general goals?
> Since Ancestry Expert Connect is inherently both a transaction
> processing system and a project management system, particularly since
> the communications trail would be an integral part of any dispute
> resolution, have you have any kind of granularity for project milestones
> that actually demonstrates an understanding of the research process?
> I am a bit confused about how the 50%/100% marks could actually work
> with the redefinition of the project. But that also goes back to my
> previous assertion that a retainer and payment for a research plan needs
> to be fully paid before the work begins.
> Does Ancestry Expert Connect have any tools that would support the
> project management function?
> Is there anything at all that Ancestry Expert Connect has done to model
> the research process?
> When you said "We heard varied and sometimes inconsistent opinions about
> how best to approach elements of the service." - were you referring in
> part to what might have appeared to be a variation in research and
> client relations style?
> The bottom line is I am probing what Ancestry Expert Connect provides
> other than a targeted marketplace venue and justifying the 15-25% fee?
> I see Lorenzo Mellon-Reyes's online postings when he was with Elance. He
> demonstrates an attentive customer service response to questions and
> complaints, not as a policy maker, but as a support person.
> Todd has certainly been willing to listen and participate in these
> So I will test Todd's good humor even further and challenge him to use
> some cases studies to test whatever the existing system design is. I
> have 5 case study overviews in my previously mentioned 2004 APGQ
> article. I will send the article to Todd in a separate email, and to
> anyone else who would like to read it. My challenge to Todd is to take
> those overviews and dummy up test cases for your system process - as you
> might imagine the cases would proceed within the framework of your
> system design.
> When I think more about the current 5 transaction types in Ancestry
> Expert Connect proposal, I see a sort of staid insurance/banking
> industry type of hierarchy - a limited linear flat view of the world of
> genealogical research.
> You might as well have a peek at the real world. Others might provide
> case study overviews also.
> But the more layers I peel from this onion, the more I realize that
> Ancestry Expert Connect has got the model inside out. Relatively
> speaking the number of genealogical experts is a rarity compared to that
> multi-million unique visitor base. Yet Ancestry Expert Connect wants
> the expert to pay them to use the expert's good name and also provide on
> the job training. Hmmm.
> Researchers, as defined by the Ancestry Expert Connect model,
> particularly in the escalating transitional genealogist sector, are
> looking for more educational opportunities. Hmmm.
> Why wouldn't it make sense for Ancestry Expert Connect to actually
> provide an educational and mentoring service by paying experts to train
> the people who sign up as researchers. There's a win-win. Other
> businesses call it network marketing. Sales through networks of teams
> where the "train the trainers" starts at the top and grows the business.
> For those who worry about the competitive impact from Ancestry or
> developing a wider base of more experienced researchers, I think you are
> underestimating how much your experience and results standout. In fact,
> here we have months of free consulting to Ancestry and there's still a
> virtual quizzical look.
> My thanks to Judy for pointing out the inflated unique visitor
> contribution by changing the Rootsweb URLs. I forgot about that. I
> wondered why the revenue wasn't tracking. I'll go back and look at my
> file on comparative industry stats and also look again at the numbers
> for the last decade.
> Thanks to Craig for providing stats on his marketplace experiences.
> However, I think we ought to give Ancestry the benefit of the doubt on
> whether they can implement something other than a subscription/content
> model. Those venture capitalists are still behind in the ROI for the
> last decade, unless they just plain wrote some off and changed the
> baseline. So Ancestry has to do something new. There are a number of
> reasons why the customer base can go through another erosion cycle.
> Thanks to Debby for bringing up the copyright and work for hire issue. I
> also understand Larry's straddle on "don't tell me how to run my
> business" versus how he views that particular issue. We are dipping into
> just some of the agency issues also.
> Since the late 1980s when (now late) Senator Moynihan targeted
> professional contract placement services, the IRS errs on the side of
> statutory employees versus independent contractors. Anything that
> Ancestry does that exerts control over the relationship extending beyond
> a marketplace venue weighs heavily on the side of statutory employee.
> That means witholding and W2s - or heavy penalties at later date. It
> probably takes about 6 months to get an official specific opinion from
> the IRS. But I'll bet that there are systems in place that put
> examination flags on a large number of 1099's issued by the same
> company. The IRS wants to convert 1099s to W2s :)
> Sharon Sergeant
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Craig R. Scott, CG
President & CEO
Heritage Books, Inc.
100 Railroad Ave., Ste. 104
Westminster, MD 21157
|Re: [APG] Ancestry Expert Connect process protocol by "Craig R. Scott, CG" <>|