As part of my recent articles for the trades, I’ve been investigating the world of online memorials.  While some are simply just gussied-up obituaries (Tributes.com, etc.) others are truly revolutionary.

My two favorites are Respectance.com and EternalSpace.com.

First up, www.Respectance.com:

THE IDEA.  Modeled after “social media” sites like Facebook and MySpace, Respectance provides a place to remember someone who has died.  Their site is designed to encourage feedback, with places to share memories, photos and videos. 

THE PRICE.  Respectance.com is free to the user. 

AUDIENCE.  Respectance.com is meant to be used by consumers.  Because it’s free, anyone can sign up and create a memorial.  Site content is generated by the creator and visitors.

VERDICT.  A great site for consumers, Respectance won’t generate any real support from funeral directors if there’s no profit.  As far as I can tell, Respectance only makes money if someone sponsors a tribute to keep it free of ads.

Now, www.EternalSpace.com:

THE IDEA.  With graphics that rival a Hollywood blockbuster, EternalSpace.com is the website you’d see in a movie about online memorials.  Slick animations embedded in serene, comforting landscapes turns their memorials into visual, rather than wordy, places to remember and reflect.

THE PRICE.  Eternal Spaces are only sold through websites, so price is set through funeral homes.  Still, I think we’re talking around $600 for an Eternal Space that is guaranteed for perpetuity (fancy word alert!).  From I understand, funeral homes take a hefty part of the fee, with passive revenue made from the sale of tribute gifts.

AUDIENCE.  Eternal Spaces aren’t for everyone.  But those who have an Eternal Space created can share them with anyone on the Internet.  The memory book feature is the single best reason to visit a loved one’s eternal space, as it contains journals, movies, pictures and guestbooks for everyone to create a meaningful memorial of the deceased.

VERDICT.  Hands down, the best looking site out there.  Still, it does require high-speed Internet access and the expense to start one will keep them small to start.  Nevertheless, it’s the most exciting online memorial provider I’ve seen in a while and I’m not that easily impressed.

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