Ancestry’s Updated Privacy Statement: Is AncestryDNA Providing a Health Feature Soon?

Ancestry's recent update to its Privacy Statement sheds some light on possible future plans for the AncestryDNA product and providing health reporting
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What Does Ancestry’s Updated Privacy Statement Reveal About Its AncestryDNA Strategy?

On Friday, December 15th, 2017, Ancestry announced an update to its Privacy Statement at its blog (click HERE to read). This was the first major update to the policy in over a year (October 14, 2016 – click HERE to read) and while there are no “major” changes on the surface, there are some clues that point to Ancestry’s future plans for its DNA products and services. The current Privacy Statement in effect is located HERE and makes several policies, especially related to genetic information, more explicit.

In the Genetic Information section, you’ll now see that Ancestry retains a saliva sample on file once the laboratory process is now complete. Ancestry seems to have opened the door to adding additional reporting features, for a fee, in the future:

A note about your DNA and Saliva: Once our laboratory partner has produced your DNA Data, the DNA and saliva (also referred to as “biological samples”) are stored so that they can be available for future testing. Such future testing may be done under our Informed Consent to Research or otherwise if you consent. Section 7 below describes how you can control both your DNA Data and your biological samples.

AncestryHealth: Not a New Service

You may not know, but Ancestry has had a “health service” related to its DNA product and other services in place since July 2015 (see Ancestry.com Welcomes AncestryHealth To The Family, TechCrunch, July 16, 2015).

AncestryHealth is located at https://health.ancestry.com/ and the beta test period is now closed. My research of the genealogy and DNA testing markets has shown that this is a HUGE growth area for any DNA testing company. And given the success with health reporting over at 23andMe, Ancestry wants in on the game. In fact, they will likely try to dominate this area of the market – the health reporting – before other competitors such as Helix or Promethease hone in on the niche.

AncestryDNA: My Prediction

So what will 2018 bring for AncestryDNA and the genetic genealogy market? Ancestry will announce AncestryHealth as a product/service likely by mid-2018 in order to capitalize on the heavy sales period of October – December which encompasses Family History Month through to the Holiday Season.

I could even see an announcement in line with National DNA Day on April 25, 2018. And which will such a product or service look like? Here’s what I envision:

  • A discount for current AncestryDNA testers
  • A modular product similar to Helix where you can pick and choose different types of reports.
  • A bundled option with built in discounts for multiple reports.
  • A new price structure for the AncestryDNA test product similar to the two-test option offered at 23andMe: one Ancestry test and one Ancestry + Health test offering a basic set of health reports.

All of this will follow the basic marketing / business development model that has been successful for Ancestry over the past few years: keep the consumer playing in the Ancestry sandbox. This means the more products and services available, the more cross-selling of other products such as an Ancestry membership. In addition, I don’t envision Ancestry changing the ability to import data from another DNA testing company.

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