• Report: #761225

Complaint Review: Geni.com

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  • Submitted: Fri, August 05, 2011
  • Updated: Fri, August 05, 2011

  • Reported By: Dawn — Pflugerville Texas USA
Geni.com
8491 West Sunset Blvd #106 West Hollywood, California United States of America

Geni.com You & your family enter your tree...they steal it from you. West Hollywood, California

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An acquaintance told me about this site months after it was created...so it was still in beta.  It's part family tree & part social networking community.  You're supposed to be able to start your tree then invite relatives to collaborate on it with you.  The twist is instead of a little box with basic stats in it, the living get personal profiles same as they would at any other social networking community & the deceased get memorial pages.  It's called a "shared tree".  They claimed it's private & secure...just between family.

So I started a tree which made me the tree owner.  I added thousands of people to it which made me manager of their profiles & memorials.  I invited hundreds of people to help me with it.  Even with just this much we already had problems.  The people invited would check in & look around on a temporary password.  So the tree owner no longer had control of their profile.  But if they didn't add a new password which then created their account they didn't have control either.  Some came back months later & tried to use the temporary password to learn it's indeed just temporary.

Another problem was even if you invited the people if they weren't close they couldn't do anything.  You had to invite them to your "family group" or they had to invite you to theirs.  Several people created duplicates because they couldn't edit their own immediate family & didn't know they had to be invited to the tree owner's family group.  So then the tree owner has to merge all these duplicates...clean up a mess.

The truth is Geni's goal is to end up with one world tree.  The only way they can do this is trick you into merging duplicates with total strangers who may or may not be family as it's not just families adding trees...it's religious zealots, historians, genealogists & fans too.  Same as above you had to invite them to your family group or they had to invite you to theirs.  So rather then just having access to whatever you merged...they had access to your entire tree including living relatives who never accepted their invite & added their own password.

Most of the people you're merging with don't have a clue about software so you end up having to do all the work yourself.  If there's any differences between the profiles or memorials, & there almost always is, it'll hold up the merging process & force you to pick which info is correct.  Once merged you're no longer the sole manager.  I've seen profiles & memorials with 10-20 co-managers all listed.  Once merged you can't undo it.  Once merged private & secure & just between family all go straight out the window.

Anywhere else if you start a tree...even if you invite others to help you with it...you can still delete it by simply clicking on a "delete" button.  Anywhere else if you create an account & personal profile & decide you don't want it anymore you can delete your account which then deletes your personal profile.  At Geni they trick you into giving all your hard work up to them & their one world tree.  In their forum...which was so full of complaints they don't post the link to it anymore...they told several people if they didn't want to be there anymore then they could simply delete their account.  But this don't delete your tree or even your personal profile.  They also told people if they deleted their account anything they managed would be turned over to the next available relative.  This is a complete lie.

There is no "delete" button.  Same as I added people one by one I had to delete them one by one.  And if it belonged to someone I'd invited & they took over...I couldn't touch it.  I had to get them to delete their account before I could delete their profile. 

Please note you can request management over profiles & memorials.  Also please note if you delete someone from your family group they no longer have access to things you manage.  I told people I invited & merged with if they wanted to stay then request management from me & I'd give it.  I also told them if they wanted to stay then delete me from their group so I wouldn't have the access to delete things they managed.  But nobody listened as usual.

I can't remember how many I'd deleted before a newbie I'd recently invited complained because I deleted his stuff & he wanted to stay.  Instead of disconnecting us from each other's family group so I couldn't touch his stuff they banned me from my own tree.  They spent a couple of weeks begging me to leave my work.  They even offered to give me a GEDCOM file with thousands & thousands of people in it.  But I wanted me & my family's personal & private info deleted...period.           

I got in with another account that wasn't connected to anybody & continued deleting only things I managed but they finally figured it out & banned it too.  Then they deleted my main account.  Again, they're telling people if they delete their account things they manage will be turned over to the next available relative.  When they deleted my account against my will things I managed went to some gal in Sweden nobody in my family even knows.

Another thing you should note is you have to use an email address to sign up for account.  Most places have learned that if you post an email address publicly spam bots can & will pick them up.  Even if you type my email  people can check the source code of the page & still pick it up.  So now most places are telling folks to either type myemail at freeprovider dot com or better yet post an image.  Yet Geni is posting email addresses publicly.  I'm still getting spam to this day.

Another thing you should note is when I was there I'd tried to use a Facebook application so I could work on my tree at either place.  Evidently banning & deleting me didn't disconnect this FB app.  Because months later, while simply visiting their URL, it somehow got my email address & automatically created an account & profile for me even though I'd been banned. 

I can't begin to tell you how many people I've contacted about this.  Yet my family's personal & private info can still be found at Geni.  This has created a bit of bad blood between us.  Most of the people I dragged there with me no longer speak to me.  Unless you want to be lied to & ripped off I'd stay as far away from them as you can get.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/05/2011 03:42 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Genicom/West-Hollywood-California-90069/Genicom-You-your-family-enter-your-treethey-steal-it-from-you-West-Hollywood-Cali-761225. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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