Company Response on 07/19/2010:
We regret that you were inconvenienced.
First, we would like to present a few clarifications.
There have been no recent increases in the site fees. The PremiumPlus subscription which you have had on your site, is today at the same price in which you purchased it in June 2009, and discounts of up to 20% have been offered for its early renewal, so its renewal is cheaper than its original cost.
The site did not go into your family tree to extract information. Any members of your family site who received emails, are registered members of MyHeritage after having been invited by you to the site, or having registered on the site before you invited them to your family site; they receive emails from MyHeritage regularly, including calendar notifications, newsletters, and occasional promotions. Users who do not wish to receive emails can unsubscribe individually. So it is not the first time that members of the site had received emails. On your family site there are 14 members except for you, 2 of them manage premium family sites on MyHeritage already, and 3 other members among them manage non-premium family sites on MyHeritage. So 5/14 of your other site members are themselves managers of family sites on MyHeritage. All of them receive correspondence from MyHeritage from time to time, as well as the regular members.
Also incorrect is the assumption that ALL your site members received the email that you quoted. That particular email is sent to between 1 and 5 members, depending if there are members who visited the site recently enough. In your case it's likely that the email was sent only to one or two people.
The email was sent only if the profile of the site manager is such where expiration of the family site is unexpected (in your case, visiting the site more than 800 times since November 2007 and using the desktop software hundreds of times as well).
We agree that the email itself is problematic and because of your feedback we have decided to discontinue it in its current form. In the new form we will only inform 2-3 additional site members of the expiration and let them know that they can contact the site manager to find out if the expiration is deliberate, or contact us if the site manager is out of reach, in case they want to keep the site running. No discounts will be offered, it will only be a matter of keeping the site, or not.
Here are more details on why sending information to other site members is sometimes useful. Many of the site managers on MyHeritage are old people and, given that there are more than 14.6 million family sites on the site, there are site managers who pass away, unfortunately, every week. We owe it to the members of the family, therefore, to notify them if the site manager has not renewed the site. Sometimes it is because of a deliberate decision by the site manager to discontinue the site, in which case it would be wrong to contact other members. But sometimes the reason for a site's expiration is the fact that the site manager passed away. When this happens, our email is often the only indication for other family members that they can resume the site, and in most cases the sites are indeed continued and family legacies are not lost. There is a challenge in emailing the site manager first because what if he/she does not write back, is that an indication of a deliberate decision or a health problem? On MyHeritage, unlike similar sites, a single subscription covers the whole family site and all site members, and it is not a personal subscription. Therefore another member of the site can keep the site running if the site manager is unable to do so.
In any case, we apologize again that you have been offended by this email, and we decided to discontinue it in its current form. We have also contacted you personally on that matter, and offered a compensation for the inconvenience. We hope, that you will continue to enjoy the site as you had done since November of 2007.