I've been using genealogybank.com for about 2 years.
Opening and clicking between newspaper pages is extremely slow, no matter what time of day/week I use it. As I sit here now I've verified my connection speed using speedtest.net (about 33 Mbps), and have checked my speed perusing other websites (very fast). On genealogybank.com, I have a newspaper page open. Looking at my watch while clicking between pages it's taking me between 20 and 30 seconds for each newspaper page to fully load. Looking at isitdownrightnow.com/genealogybank.com.html, it's showing pings between 29.06 and 34.6ms for the website, every day listed, for the last three weeks. Check that against other websites, and you'll see it is much slower that other websites.
The search feature, which you'd think would be pretty good considering that's the whole point of subscribing to a website like this, is not good at all. If the newspaper scan is poor and/or pixely - and many are - it often won't pick up words, so you're just not going to find your results on those pages. Not just miss a word here or there -- it sometimes won't find anything on the page, including larger, more legible titles. So if you think, "Hey, I'll just search for the word 'Classifieds', it still might not find it at all.
Want to know how to search through various pages/issues?
1. search for a specific date(s) and/or a word (and don't forget to add a city
2. click on a page in the results
3. click through the pages using the arrow keys or this incredibly useless window that pops up with links saying only "Page 1", "Page 2", etc. If it's a big paper, it won't have links named for the various sections, it's just numbered sequentially. Lord knows I always know the obituaries start on page 231 on Sundays. Kidding; it's just not a helpful feature.
4. Want to go to the next issue of that newspaper? You have to click the last page in the issue you're looking at, then click the forward arrow one more time to get to Page 1 of the next issue, THEN type in or click the next page in that issue you want to look at.
To hop to next week's paper, you need to keep doing that a billion more times, or through the search option, type in that specific date of the paper and start over. Remember I said with my fast connection it's taking 20-30 seconds to open each page.
When I contacted customer service through their Chat feature today, I asked if there was a better way to search between issues / pages. I was told:
- "Search for a specific paper, then adding in a work like "and" then doing the search."
- "There are no other ways to search between papers at this time"
When I asked if there were plans to improve the website speed:
- "It can also be your internet provider and speed as well."
- "Sometimes peak hours can be slow"
Then I was told:
"Would you be interested in sharing ideas or asking questions to the product team ( decision makers about site)?"
In their "Collections" the boast a special Obituary search option. For older obituaries, it appears to work almost identically to the regular newspaper search, even picking up newspaper pages where literally not one obituary appears. For newer obituaries, apparently they just have typed text - not the newspaper pages at all - of the obit.
Just for fun, I did a search in the Colorado Sun Recent Newspaper Obituaries. It says they have all newspaper obituaries from Aug 24 2018 – Current, which would be Feb 2019. I typed the word "and" into the keywords, and nothing else. I get a whopping SIX results.
One more search - for Washington state's Quincy Valley Post-Register, it states they have all obituaries from Nov 6 2014 to Current, which is Feb 2019. The word "the" brings up 338 results. "And" also brings up 338 results. The last name "Smith" brings up one result. So, I suspect they've only added 338 obituaries for the last 4 years for that paper.
The new "Census" section has pages of US Federal Censuses. Which I believe they're indexing in house or through some other place. These are already indexed and searchable, FOR FREE for anyone on familysearch.org. They're also indexed and searchable on other pay sites like Ancestry, MyHeritage and others. Why they would try to add this, when they should be focusing on improving their speeds, search abilities and adding additional more newspaper pages, is beyond me.
The number of newspapers and titles they have listed is misleading. It's possible that itself is one of the reasons they make it so difficult to search between issues -- you'll quickly find out how much they're lacking. There are currently "over 9,000 US Newspapers" in the collection. If you go to genealogybank.com/newspapers/sourcelist/full, you'll see for many of the newspapers there are only 1 or 2 issues available. They may say they cover a title from 1902-1943, but might only have a handful of newspapers for that timeframe.
Currently it's $20/month or $70/year to use this website. I recommend against it unless it's your only option for accessing certain newspapers.