Out go the free index searches and hefty €5 fees to view records. (Hard to believe that price was reduced from €10 only a few years ago in response to widespread criticism.)
In its place comes a credit system, which will be familiar to users of many other online databases, and not just in the genealogy field.
So, what's the offer?
With free index searches consigned to the past, it will now 'cost' 1 credit per page of up to 10 search results. When you select a specific record to download, the 'cost' will be 25 credits.
Exactly how much that 'cost' will be in real money depends on how many credits you buy at one time. Bulk purchases are rewarded with progressively cheaper credits the more you purchase.
Here is how it works out:
€5.00 buys 35 Credits = 14c per results page; €3.57 per record
€10.00 buys 73 Credits = 13.5c per results page; €3.42 per record
€18.00 buys 150 Credits = 12c per results page; €3 per record
€32.00 buys 320 Credits = 10c per results page; €2.50 per record
€60.00 buys 750 Credits = 8c per results page; €2 per record
Each time you do a search you are told how many records have been located matching your search criteria. Before displaying the results you have the opportunity to re-define or narrow the search, without displaying the results. If you decide to view the results they will be displayed in pages that contain a maximum of 10 index results.
You can then choose to select one of the index results and download a record. Samples of records are available here.
Ten free searches
Ten free searches are being offered to new users of the site. New users are described as those who were not registered before 18 March.
I've just been to the site to test out how the new system works. I've been a registered user for years. I was offered ten free pages of results!
For better or worse?
For many Irish genealogy reseachers, having to pay for what used to be free (the initial search) won't go down well. But if they use the Advanced Search fields wisely, they should find that the records they subsequently select to download have cost them less than they would have under the old system. For the sake of the IFHF, which has operated in the face of constant loud criticism for so long, I hope so. But I'm not holding my breath!