Here’s one reaction to my earlier post, EternalSpace Not So Eternal After All?, about the shuttering of Eternal Space:

Okay, let me get this straight. EternalSpace apparently flounders and the owners of the site deftly direct those who paid for on online memorial to their “local participating funeral home” for additional information. Sweet. Such a notice implicates the firm in this botched web venture.

What now? Forget the obvious steep refund, but what about the 4 hours a family member spent assembling photos and the like for their memorial? To a still-grieving family, this is a traumatic development (especially if the memorial was for a young person.)

Once again, here is another example of people who no NOTHING about the sensitive nature of funeral service sticking their noses in an area where they don’t belong.

As an “advisory council” member Tim, you must be annoyed that you are in the dark about all of this. It’s pitiful that your stellar reputation could be tainted — even slightly — as a result of this fiasco. Lesson learned I suppose. You, your blog, and your cot covers are very valuable assets…guard them well at all times.

Overall, this is a PATHETIC development and I’m THRILLED I’m not one of those “participating funeral homes.”

The quote comes from Final Embrace reader, funeral director John DePretis, and sums up what I’ve heard from quite a few people since the EternalSpace site went dark.  Here’s what another reader, Spencer Guiley, added:

Very odd – I read on Jay’s LinkedIn page that the site was “…abruptly shut down by the principal owner…”

Odd to say the least – it seemed to be a very cool, and interesting site.

Spencer may seem a little nicer with his response, but I think he’s just waiting for the full story.

I’ve tried to get the full story.  I’ve emailed several people within EternalSpace, but it seems their email system suspended right along with their website. 

While I was wondering, to myself, how big a story this might turn out to be, I got an email from Thomas Parmelee, editor for Kates-Boylston, the company behind the magazine American Funeral Director, among others.

Thomas wants a comment for a story he’s working on.  And since I just happen to have been named an advisory board member of EternalSpace, he came to me.

I’m still unsure how to respond.  Without more details from EternalSpace or ANYONE connected with them, I’m at a loss.  I don’t even know the exact reason they shuttered the company, although I have my own hunch.

No matter how they finally spin this “untimely demise” – if I can be pardoned for such a bad pun – we can all see how much money they were hemorraghing as they tried to make a push into a very “set-in-it’s-ways” industry.

From their 20′ by 40′ booth at the 2008 NFDA Expo when they didn’t even have a working product to show people, to their recent placement of generic ads in the trade magazines, EternalSpace was clearly pursuing the “money-thrower” path to market acceptance.  During my consulting sessions, which I believe I’ve signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement to keep private, we discussed this tactic and the opposite, the slow-growth path that waits for market traction before rushing headlong.

I believe EternalSpace chose the more daring and expensive route because of the need to be one of the first to market with what they hoped would be a truly revolutionary business model and concept.

Clearly, one of them failed.  Personally, I’m still high on the concept.  And, as I’ve shared from the beginning – with the folks at EternalSpace and those elsewhere – I’m still not sure how you get people, or funeral directors, to pay for the concept.  Especially when so many other companies are giving away a similar product.  Look at Respectance.com, MuchLoved.com or, now, SympathyTree.com.

So I’m still stuck.  Was EternalSpace a good idea?  Sure, in theory.  Did someone lose a lot of money?  I’d venture a guess that they did. 

Makes you wonder if Tributes.com is making any money, huh?

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