Monday, July 13, 2009

How Much Would You Pay for a Genealogy Webinar?

I was really excited a few months back when Family Tree Magazine began offering webinars. I found that the topics sounded great and I really wanted to attend.

And then I saw the price. $49.99. Seriously? $50 for one hour?

Then there were coupon codes to save $10. But $40 for one hour?

The latest webinar called "Finding Your Family in Old Newspapers" and will be hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke on July 29th. They have lowered the price for this one to $29.99. Lisa said on her lastest Genealogy Gems podcast that this was a deal. But is $30 for a one hour session worth it?

The webinars include:
  • The live presentation and questions
  • Access to the recorded session after the event
  • PDF of the presentation slides
I notice that the next two webinars listed on the website will cost $50 again with the same benefits.

So am I being stingy or does this sound way overpriced?

I don't know how much it costs to run a webinar. I would assume that the more people involved the more it costs. But you aren't paying the presenter for travel and hotel. Most of the presenters are Family Tree Magazine staff. So why does it cost so much? How many people are attending? They also sell the archived webinars through their store for around $30.

I have to compare this to other events that I have attended to compare.
  • Mini-courses at ACPL cost me $50. This includes 6 lectures by ACPL staff and Allen County Genealogical Society members. It also includes research assistance in the library. Plus it includes snacks.
  • Military Symposium at ACPL cost me $50. This included 4 lectures and dinner over 2 days. It also had individual consultations for 30 minutes each.
  • Tree Talks and Family History month talks are about an hour each and free. Presented by ACPL staff usually.
  • Climbing Your DNA workshop at ACPL was $30 and included 6 lectures by Roberta Estes. (This was filmed for Roots Television so I could have just waited until it came online and watched it for free.)
  • DNA workshop with Megan Smolenyak Smolyenak in Marion was $65. It included 4 lectures and a mini-film festival (Roots Television videos). Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were also included in the price.
So back to the question: Is $30 or $50 dollars worth an online webinar? I don't think so. The price just seems way too high to me. All of the events that I listed were for comparable prices and were at least one day long. I didn't have to pay for a hotel to any of these events because they were nearby my home. Maybe if you add in hotel costs, the webinars sound cheaper. But still.

Ancestry offers their webinars for free. I figure its all built into my subscription. But you can attend or view the archive of the event even without a subscription. Obviously they are promoting their website, but isn't Family Tree Magazine going to try to make you subscribe?

I don't expect everything to be free. I would be willing to pay a fair price for these events. But I'm thinking $5 or $10 would be the maximum that I would pay.

What do you think? Is the price fair or inflated for these webinars? Leave a comment or send me an email to genwishlist [at] gmail [dot] com.


  1. Tina - I agree with you that the cost at $50 for an hour of e-learning is a bit steep. Right now I just don't think there are enough providers in the genealogy field - when there is more competition and a few who are seen as leading the field, costs may in fact come down.

  2. I questioned this before FT magazine's first webinar as I thought $50 way out of line. I still think $30 is a lot but perhaps depends on topic & speaker - and format. Can you ask questions ahead or 'interactively', for instnace? Are there handouts & how good are they (i.e. not just the slide images)?
    Agree with Thomas that competition may bring price down - or encourage more webinars for free as promotion instead of fee based.