Obituaries 2.0

Nicholas Carr reports on a Guardian story about a site called YouDeparted.com. According to the article, users of the site “can issue posthumous instructions for everything from their funeral to feeding their pet, cancelling bills and magazine subscriptions, organising their will and other financial matters, sending final letters to friends – and foes – and delivering a valedictory video address summing it all up.”

This new service reminds me of a conversation I had last week at the Kelsey conference with Peter K. and some folks from Quebecor Media. I was discussing my interest in a web site called Find a Grave where you can search and find famous graves from all over the world. I started to wonder about the opportunity in online obituaries classified ads. It must be a good revenue generator for newspapers and I suspect those revenues can only go up.

While researching the subject, I found that many important US newspapers are using the outsourced services of Legacy.com. They describe themselves as “the leading provider of online obituary solutions for the newspaper industry. Legacy.com enhances obituaries with guest books, funeral home information, and florist links, providing a community-oriented, content-rich solution for more than 400 newspapers. Visited by more than 7 million users each month, Legacy.com provides links to obituaries published by the company’s network of newspaper affiliates. Through this network, Legacy.com posts obituaries and Guest Books for one in two people who die in the U.S. each day. ”

Founded in 1998, the company has many investors including Tribune Company. According to this Chicago Sun-Times article, Legacy.com had 50 employees and $10M in revenues in 2005.