The Ancestry.com blog announced today that it will be shutting down its Expert Connect Service. As of February 3, 2011, Ancestry.com members will not be able to post new projects, meaning bidding and awards will be discontinued that day as well.
The service will be shut down completely on March 18, 2011 - just two years after Ancestry opened Expert Connect for business. Experts can continue to work on existing projects until March 13th, with final payouts on March 18th.
Experts will need to use the message board before March 13th to speak with clients and arrange to work on their projects, and accept payments, off of Ancestry.com for any projects that will continue beyond that date.
Any questions or comments can be sent to: http://expertconnect.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/expertconnect.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php
There is no explanation of why the service is shutting down, other than: "Though this service has been a positive experience, Ancestry.com has decided to focus on other business priorities."
This seems to be a very abrupt move, and I along with other experts will have to scramble to wrap up some projects and make other arrangements. I have commented on the post and contacted Ancestry to see if they can give any further explanation for the closing of Expert Connect.
EDIT: Paula Stuart-Warren makes an excellent point about the need to make clients (and potential clients) aware of all of the places where they can find professional genealogists, as Expert Connect prepares to close. Read her post here.